Cusco, Peru
13° 31' S 71° 58' W
Nov 01, 2006 04:07
Distance 575km

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Text written in: English

Cusco, Peru

I can't believe it but Elise and i have been in Cuzco for almost 2 weeks.

Our first day in Cuzco was typified by fiasco after fiasco! This could be a bit tedious so you can skip to the * if you wish.

We got up at 3.30am to get to Lima Airport in time for our 6.30 flight. We arrived ar 7.30 absolutely exhausted as we had had little to no sleep in 5 days.  We intended to spend 5 days in spanish school and stay with a family so that we could practice our spanish.  However, after a few weeks of correspondence we had no arrangement with the San Blas Spanish School about which classes and which family we would be staying with. So it was with some hesitation that we looked for our names displayed at the airport.   First look we spotted Elise's name and so it was ...we had spanish families to go home with.  This was a little awkward as, occording to all our previous correspondence, Manfred, could not give us classes at the same time...but what could we do, we were buggared and an eager ride into town was waiting. So we got in the car and met Patty and Eddy...who as it turns out...were representatives of two families not a couple. Eddy for me and Patty (with Flauvia) for Elise. Eddy was dressed in a business suit and was quite keen to get to work, however, we coudl not commit to the family until we knew we could have classess...so we were dropped at Patty's house together and waited till the school opened for the day. Patty was lovely, her little girl was sick, but she happily accomodated us. I was nervous about my family as Eddy had just disappeared to work and i was informed that they had 3 boys.   

Anyway, when we finally got to sit down with Manfred at the Spanish school he confirmed that, no, they did not have another teacher to teach both of us in individual classes. So Elise stayed with the San Blas School and i had to find another one. I also wondered if i had to find another family.  Patty was wonderful...we walked through the cobbled     streets to talk to different schools. The whole time she was holding what we thought was a little drink for Flauvia but at about 11 she said she had to visit the labratory for Flauvia ...she was holding a little cup of pee..so off we went, in a taxi, to the medical quarter, nothing like the huge institutions in Australia. We entered a building, passed two locked gates and into a small room divided in two with a partition. The fridge with the products was in the waiting room. It coudl only be opened if the small stool for patients to wait on was moved. The receptionist/nurse was wedged at a small table next to the fridge and if two patients were sitting on the two small stools their knees almost touched. Flauvia and Patty went in and the screens and crying indictaed that she was getting tested for something.  After our little insight into Peruvian medicine i called a school to confirm and then comitted to staying with Eddy (who, as it turns out) is Manfreds wifes cousin...all a bit close so from the begining i was hesitant.

Elise and i waited at Patty's house for Eddy to pock me up...we were so exhausted that in the 5 or less minutes that we sat there, both of us had fallen asleep and were jumped awake at the sound of the door. Eddy took me inside his home which was much larger and grander than Elise's. I was introduced to their maid, Dinnitta (Dina), shown my room, the bathroom and then left alone.  I had a shower and although i wanted to go to bed, I went down stairs beacuse lunch with Eddy and Lilly (his wife) was at 1.30. Dina served us and i met Lilly who was nice. By 2 they had both retired to their rooms and so i was left alone. I had a nap for a few hours, to regain some strength but to be honest it was very strange being in that house and i was keen to find Elaine. So i donned my new bag and ventured into town.

Elise had class in the afternoon, so i was alone to  wonder the streets. Cuzco is beautiful. Narrow cobbled streets, small buildings all with lovely materials (ceramic tyles, white painted walls, large inca remains incorporated into buildings, catherdrals and churches, beautiful squares. etc). By the time i got to the Plaza de Armas, the sun was begining to set. I strolled over to Elaine's hostel but she was not registered there so i thought i would climb the steep streets to the north of the plaza to look over the city by night...the view was wonderful. I returned to an internet cafe near Elaine's hostel and wrote that i would wait there for her. About 15mins after i sent it, Elaine, red faced appeared in the internet cafe, puffing from the steep climb to greet me. Which was the first success of the day.   We wrote to Elise to let her know what time we would all meet up that night and i returend home for dinner....but there was noone there (well that i could tell). Dina invited me to eat (the same meal as lunch) at a huge table, set for 1. It was increadibly lonely.  Not long after I started, a boy appeared, Rodrego (16), and he ate with me. He was nice and spoke a bit of English which was comforting however, the house still felt very strange so i was happy to get out of there to pick up Elise and meet Elaine at the Cathedral for a drink and to find out how the Inca Trail was.     

When i got the Patty's house, I was told that Elise had still not returned (8.30pm). I had bumped into Patty on my walk into town earlier where she told me that she would be out for two hours and asked that if i see elise could i tell her. But as Elise didn't finish class till 7pm i didn't see her...so we went to check the internet cafe to see if she was there waiting...but no Elise. I had to leave to meet Elaine so i left a note with details of where we would be. Elaine and i went to an internet cafe to see if she had emailed...which she had, twice, saying that her family were not home, we didn't have a key, it had been an hour and a half, and she was cold and EXTREMELY tired. Her final words were ¨hurry up and find me¨.  But she was no longer at the place she said she was at so Elaine and i, with no other option...had red wine and talked about our respective trips...

Elise thankfully had found a resteraunt, which became a favourite and finally made it home. I returned home to silence and closed doors which was again a little lonely.

**

Wed-Sat i had 4 hours of  Spanish classes from 8.30am.  I then went home most days for lunch but thankfully the friendliness of the household improved, largely thanks to Dina and her wonderfull little 2 yearold Jenny, more conversations with Redrego and the arrival of Suzi (another student from Holland). Dina is amazing. She is 28, lives with the family 6 days a week, sleeps with Jenny in a cupboard under the stairs (a room literally normally dedicated to bags and brooms, you cannot stand up in there). At 4 months old her partner left Jenny at the Cathedral and skipped town. Dina went to Eddy and Lilly and they kindly let her look after Jenny in their home while she works. I initially thought this family was disfunctional and highly ..well i don't know the word...but they have done a wonderful thing for Dina and Jenny and they often help families in need by looking after their children. In every room there is a television and the two yonger boys (10 and 6) are contantly on it. I don't really get a word out of them even if i try...but time has shown that language and generally the age and sex difference contributes to that. The family spend very little time together and i have only seen them eat as one family once, this appeared only to be beacuse Suzi and I wanted to sit at the table to eat on Sunday night. Eddy made pancakes as Sunday is Dina's day off. Dina does everything, cook, shop, clean, washing, feeding the boys, mail, answers the phone and stays at the house all day to recieve any parcels, feeds the dog as well as looks after Jenny.  Noone makes their beds,  clears plates, washes up or even puts away clothes. In the morning Dina brings Eddy and Lilly tea in bed and sometimes food, she then goes around the house to tidy and clean everything while she makes a two course lunch for them all (who all return and eat at different times). She recieves Sebastian from the school bus in the afternoon, irons and fold ALL the clothes and after 4 or so dinners she retires at about 8pm.

Dina and i talk alot and now that i have done some classes  I understand alot more as she does not speak English.

In the afternoon, Elise and i would wonder around and see parts of the town. But we actually havn't see much at all as organisation for the Inca Trail took up some time and also we were meeting friends in droves in Cuzco which was a change from the constant moving and meeting new people. I had a wonderful night out with Lydia, Elise, Elaine, Suzi and Katie. It was our first night out this whole trip!

Photos / videos of "Cusco, Peru ":

Cuzco by night ...our first night in this beautiful city Halloween, day of the dead Some grubby little twins Katie, Lydia, Elaine, Elise and I on our tour of the Sacred Valley Learning about the Inca Kings from our guide A specifically carved stone, like all for Suxsiwoman Inca Site Dina and ?? at my host family house Eliane and Lydia meeting for a drink (katie was sick and EC did a no show) Farewell to Elaine Bye Elaine! First night out on the town with the girls...just loved it! Dancing in a salsa club Fun! Eddy and Lilly my host parents Rodreigo Pisac markets, Sacred Valley Fantastic things to buy here Colours Elises new friend A comunity oven. We ate saome freshly baked empanadas here freshly baked goods Pisac Inca Ruins Reading Dodgy planet (but trying hard to listen to the guide behind us Elise overcome by height A spectacular sight Sun set at Pisac The dining/living room and my host brothers at dinner Frist vegemite experience - god i miss that stuff BEST pizza place in Cuzco - Pizzaria Libertad Dina and Lunch with one of my Spanish Teachers eating chicken feet soup Dina{s room under the stairs My other Spanish Teacher - Yidith