… so i´m back at the internet cafe up the road again coz i calculated that with the exchange rate I am paying about 2-3 soles for internet usage, which roughly calculated (and I mean roughly) is about $1.00 AUS. PER HOUR. Bargain. And I haven´t played bejewelled blitz yet!! Although I might tonight … my buddy in Calca ís coming into town tomorrow night, not tonight, so I have tonight to just laze about …
yesterday though i met up with my new buddy carlos who is a local and who showed me around the non touristy parts of the city. don´t worry, i was like completely on my guard and i was all ready to make up a fake ass story about my fake policeman boyfriend who trained with the army and has a black belt in karate etc. etc. Luckily it hasn´t come to that (we´ve met up twice). he just wants to improve his english, his father owns a restaurant right off the plaza de armas where a lot of tourists go so i guess he needs it. he makes me say things in spanish, i make him just tell me the answer. last night it took me aaaaages to explain the difference between ¨stick¨ and ¨steep¨. but he pronounced them both the same way so i had to really emphasise the p and the k. gettin there …
anyway we went walking a little ways outside the plaza de armas to the san pedro markets and into other little plazas that kind of run off the main big one. this month is fiesta month in cusco so in pretty much every little plaza there is a band playing, like trumpets and drums and all that kind of stuff. all very good music to listen to but nobody got up and danced, they just kind of sit around and watch, and when the band finishes the song, they don´t even clap!!! but they sit there and listen attentively, so i guess everyone is kind of diggin the music …
we also went into a monument that you can walk into and learn about the 12 incas who ruled peru or whatever. anyway i didn´t take much in i was more interested in the view out the tower. the monument is a massive inca king ( i forget which one) built on a big tower and you can walk all the way to the top and see a 360 view of cusco. i haven´t gotten sick of the sight of the mountains yet. being the massive westie that i am, i took a photo of the inca tupac amaru, look it up, wikipedia it or whatever, 2pac´s mother named him after that guy!
then we went a-walking again and we ended up in a big plaza where some schoolkids were practicing their dances for whatever fiesta they have to perform in and i asked carlos if he knew any of these dances. he said he had to learn some in school for the same reason as these kids – to perform at a fiesta. he said all schoolkids had to do it. he asked me if kids in australia ever did that kind of thing and i said no. then he asked me what traditional australian dances were like and i didn´t know what to say!! i mean it´s not like we ever learnt any aboriginal dances, and i hardly think the do-si-do at the vinegar hill woolshed counts in the same category!!!! then it got cold and carlos had a thin jacket (whereas i had my all purpose north face jacket which has been great) so he hailed me a cab and i went back home.
they don´t eat big dinners here. the big meal is lunch. teresa prepares a massive lunch, which at the time of eating seems like i´m never gonna see the bottom of my plate but i tell myself to eat it all coz dinner doesn´t exist, traditionally. you get a bit of bread (pancito con queso) and some mate de coca and that´s it. so you better eat your lunch or you starve!! breakfast is usually again mate de coca, a bowl of fruit, a bit of bread and a glass of juice. it´s keeping me really regular hahaha. sorry!!!! lunch is usually sopas but really filling with veggies and some carne and then you get the main meal which could have a piece of meat like chicken and then there´s rice and then you might also get some potato or sweet potato or something. the other day i had rice, a quarter chicken and this potato thing WITH FILLING. potato reanos, i think??? anyway it was yuuuuuuuum!!!!
on thursday night there was a massive procession in town for Corpus Christie, which is this Catholic celebration where all the districts in the Cusco area bring out a float that represents something biblical. OK, not really anything biblical all I saw were floats with either Mary or Jesus on them. But they were very decorative and again there was lots of music and in this case, there was a bit of dancing. All the floats do a lap of the Plaza and then they make their way into the cathedral. A lot of people were out watching the parade and I went nuts with the camera. I tried to get into the cathedral too (coz I haven´t seen the inside of it yet) but there was a lot of commotion happening outside, and then while all of that was happening, a band would start playing their music so there was a lot to keep a gal occupied. i´ve noticed though that of all the tourists here, the majority of them are probably from other parts of South America, and even from Lima. So all you hear is Spanish from the crowds. People tend to address or greet me in Spanish when i walk into a shop or whatever so I guess that´s why. the non south americans like me are walking around in their north face gear and trekking shoes like their already hiking the inca trail. the actual south americans look normal. hahaha.
on the way home i could smell some bbq thing so i bought a bbq thing on a stick with like a mini potato on top. i don´t know what animal the meat came from but it didn´t taste like pork or beef or anything. i have a strange suspicion i may have eaten a llama!!!!! but then again i could be wrong i saw the lady mix the marinade and she put a bit of coke in it. coke??!?!?!? and you´re meant to put some sauce on the potato and it looked like gravy so i put some on the potato and it was a little bit spicy but it was not bad!!! still, the meat did NOT have same consistency as beef or pork!
today (saturday) there was a fete at the school to celebrate the new part of the school opening. again, i went nuts with the camera. i´ve promised the teachers that I will give them copies of my photos on monday – lucky i brought my cord!!! the mayor of the town was there and everything, and there were dances from the students and the traditional dance performances from other dancers. even the teachers played a game of soccer/football – the primary school teachers against the high school teachers!! the primary school teachers won and all the little kiddies were cheering their teachers on. that was pretty funny – that would never happen in australia!!!!!
the kids had to parade into the school grounds with the rest of their grade and they loved that i had the camera there – i´d wave and they´d wave back and yell ¨professora!¨or ¨¨proffe!¨. it was pretty cool. some of those kids are right lil posers hahah. the teachers are all pretty nice and they´ve been pretty good at dealing with my really broken, slow spanish. one of them refers to me as la filipina coz he knows i´m australian but he´s already asked ¨tu papa eres?¨and that´s when the mystery of why i don´t look typically aussie is solved. it also confuses the hell out of every cab driver i´ve had.
school´s still a little frustrating though. sometimes the kids fight in class and they run to me and dob on someone in their class and i´ve got no idea what they´re saying or who to discipline so i just say, ¨no mas¨and lead them both back to their desks and i check their work. they´re really proud of their work when they get it right and they´re really disappointed in themselves when they get it wrong. like, they run to either me or the head english teacher to show us that they understand something and we very encouragingly go ¨ohhhh! muy bien! well done!¨ and then they smile and go back to their desks really proud of themselves hehehe. i´m still getting stickers and hugs on a daily basis. it´s kinda funny walking home from school with stickers on my jumper. the other day i went into town with a massive ben 10 sticker on my tummy (that´s as high as the first grader could reach) and i only realised it when i got home!! d´oh!
after school once i went to a massive market near the schoo called el molino (which surprise surprise actually is in the lonely planet guidebook!) with the other english teacher and i hear this little voice go ¨miss eriiiicaaaaa!¨and it´s a little kid from school with his mother awwww! it´s nice that kids here are so friendly …
today at lunch juan, teresa and i watched the game between usa and england. juan even moved the dining table so we could see the tv better hahaha. i honestly thought teresa wasn´t into the game but in the final 15 minutes she got very animated and started yelling at the tv hahahahah!!! juan looked at me, pointed at teresa and shook his head, as if to say ¨this woman!¨¨. lol too funny!!! juan explained that he goes for any team that is american, so that´s any team from south or central america, and the usa. peru didn´t make it into the world cup. needless to say he was pretty chuffed that usa drew with england. i was not impressed that england let that goal in!!!!
teresa asked that i not call her senora or juan senor coz it´s too formal heheh.
teresa told me that there is a mass at the cathedral in the plaza de armas and seeing as i need to buy a bloody boleto turistico to get into the place, i might as well go and say a little prayer in a church built in the 1400s . you can get in if you´re attending a church service. but the mass is at 8am so we´´ll see. i´m not having a big night tonight so i should be alright. then i´ll meet up with my calca buddy, and tomorrow night i will meet more buddies for dinner at some carne place.
i signed up for extra spanish classes and it also includes salsa classes and that´s where my money has gone. have not seen the sacred valley or sacsaywayman yet coz you have to buy a really expensive boleto turistico which gets you into all the big sites or you can pay separately. untill i figure out my card situation i´ll wait a while. there´s a lot of non touristy things to keep me occupied. i start those classes on monday evening so it´ll be good i hope.
the other guys from lima who i met during my first weekend in peru are coming up soon so that´ll be good. i´ve walked past a few of the touristy pubs and clubs in town and they look a lot like places back home, only with the novelty of being in a foreign country so i´m in no rush to see them. plus, i can´t drink that much due to the funds issue.
anyway i am busting for a loo and i might have to find myself a packet of popcorn or something to tide me over untill dinner. yes, they eat popcorn here and lots of it! unbuttered, unsalted.