Sunday, December 23, 2012

Heading for Cusco

At the airport we are even more than previously. 13, I think, though it's hard to tell, with people coming and going. Our flight was listed for 10:00 on our e-tickets, but is posted at the airport for 9:30 (since when are flights half an hour early??) and doesn't board until 10:20 (never mind...). No matter. We are all together and we will be met in Cusco for lunch and an afternoon tour of the city. Over an extended coffee pause I'm introduced to friends of friends and indirect colleagues whose names I instantly forget, but there's a good atmosphere; a good feeling about this trip.

Wait, let me write them down. Helle, Eva, Inge, Mef, Patrick, Pauline, Carl, Erasmus, Christina, Jenny, Alexandra, and Jean-Baptiste.
They pretty much all know each other already, everybody naturally knows Mev, and to my surprise most have heard of me. Only the couple working in France, Alexandra and Jean-Baptiste, don't already know the Scandanavians. It's a fun group so far, nice and casual and with lots in common but also more to talk about than our common work.

Our Cusco hotel has a glorious little courtyard with the rooms all around on 3 levels. We're treated to coca-leaf tea, which is recommended in quantity to combat the least signs of altitude sickness. Coca leaf is a cure for all ills here, to which we all nod and agree before heading out for the city tour. Lunch, we gradually discover, is not a big thing here – graze if you're hungry!

The view from the rooftop terrace.

Mosiac on a wall of St Catherine's

The first stop is in the center of town, at the church and convent of St Catherine (?) built on the site of the Inca Sun Temple. The colonizing Spaniards made sure that all the impor:tant holy sites in the city were not put into competition with the Church, but were taken over/crushed by/hidden under the buildings of the new order. So this major temple became the building site of a church and monastery, as did other sites across the continent. We are here today for a tour on Inca history, and as we go around the cloister not a word is said about history any more recent than that of the coming of the conquerers and the building of the convent. This will be a constant theme, the deep interest in everything pre-Columbian, a little on the painful conquest itself, and then not more than a brief nod to Peruvian independance.
One of the Inca bits of the remaining Sun Temple

Random street in Cusco
It's a little later in the day than planned, so we skip a second planned stop in the city, in order to have sunlight for the Inca sites surrounding the city. 

1 comment:

shabby girl said...

Whenever I check in on your blog, I never know where you're going to be, lol. Glad you're hooked up with a fun bunch of people!