I have my Mysterious Cities of Gold Moment …

Hola.  I´m alive and i´m well, so it´s all good.  this week that passed was a bit weird coz it hardly felt like i was at school at all.  there were classes monday and tuesday only.  again the kiddies were great.  giving me hugs in class and stickers and stuff.  sometimes they offer you their candy during recess but i never take anything, i don´t like taking candy from babies heheheh.  however the 6th grade classes i had were HORRENDOUS.  even the main english teacher i´m assisting said that the last volunteer walked out on the class and was found crying in the playground coz they were out of c0ntrol.  and i´m not kidding you, she said to me, “if you don´t want to come back to this class, i understand¨”.  and i´m gonna take her up on the offer coz they were horrible.  every time you tell them to be quiet they make faces and make fun of what you´ve said and i they just walk out of the classroom.  i was so ready to start cracking skulls but i just kept writing no trabaje en clase in their workbooks in red pen and that gives them the shizznits but hey, you gotta do your work.  i was soooooo mad!!!!

but there was no school on wednesday coz the kids had to perform in the main plaza, like a competition against the other schools in cusco.  i was told that the competition is so fierce that the kids in the performance aren´t even told the name of the dance in case they accidentally tell another kid from another school.  anyway the whole school is meant to come and support the groups dancing, so the plaza was filled with kids from everywhere – it like those CGSSSA sports carnival type things, only with traditional dancing!  but seriously, june is like fiesta month in cusco so every time i walk into town there´s some fiesta going on hahahah.  my school performed but it was the 6th grade class and i thought, “what did your dancing teacher have to do to get you all to perform so well?”.  they also had a competition for the younger division which is what i saw the younger kids practising for my first week in cusco but i think i missed it cos i was eating lunch!!! boooooo!!!  they were so cute practising!!!

other than that the homestay family are still ok.  sometimes it´s a little frustrating trying to talk to them when i don´t understand everything they say but on the whole we understand each other.  i know enough to understand it when señor ochoa (juan) told me that he supported honudras over chile in the football, due to the longstanding rivalry between chile and peru which i don´t quite understand.  he was very passionate about it too.  i dunno.  but they´ve been pretty good to me.  their grandkids have been coming over a lot for lunch this week and because i´m the only guest in the house right now, they have taken to sitting me right at their kitchen table with them at lunchtime.  one of their grandkids, diana, is 22 and can speak english pretty well so it´s been good having her there at the kitchen table and translating what they are saying at times.  i don´t really get why there are so many of them over there at lunch, but it´s nice to be included.  the other day señora ochoa (teresa) served this soup thing called quinoa which to most south americans probably doesn´t seem very exciting but i really liked it!!!  it´s got some sort of grain thing in it and then it has veggies and of course potato.  i don´t remember if i was eating quinoa or not but the other day i also got liek an 8th of a corn on the cob thing.  i didn´t know how i was gonna eat it so i didn´t.  the others kinda stabbed it with their fork and that´s how they got at the corn kernels. 

this week as well i met up with the other volunteers in calca which was nice, it´s good to hang with english speakers where our customs and cultures are similar.  there wasn´t any class on thursday coz there was a strike so literally the roads were dead coz it was strike about gas and the mining and how it will affect the campesinos.  i walked right past a few of the marches and they were all really into it.  i was literally walking in the middle of the major road, it was that dead.  at one point there was a group of people with banners and stuff and dressed up in colours, i´m guessing to support the march, and after they walked past a little kid on a scooter wheeled right past me and them and was like, “yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!”.  it was downhill slope and i guess it was the perfect opportunity for him to really let fly on a deserted road hahahah.  anyway we went to an english pub (actually, they were already there, i met up with them hehehe) to watch the game between england and algeria, and that´s when it was pointed out to me that wayne rooney looks like shrek.  lol.  poor wayney.  didn´t even notice it!!!  hahaha.  anyway three of us also went to a place in town called qoricancha, which was the most religious place back in the day for inca culture, but when the spanish conquistadors came along they built a church right over it to suppress their religion.  it was really interesting to learn all about what qoricancha was used for and how it used to look.  like the walls were covered with gold like literally covered with actual gold.  and the spanish came and stripped it all and melted down all their religious statues (also gold) and sent the whole lot back to spain.  in qoricancha you can also see how the incas used to construct their buildings which was really interesting coz they didn´t use any mortar to bind their massive stone bricks , they made their bricks so that they join together, kinda in the same way lego is joined together.  and each brick is different to the brick next to it.  the shape of their constructions were also different to how it is now, so that they can withstand earthquakes.  which it actually did coz in the 50s there was an earthquake and the spanish built church fell to the ground and underneath it all the original qoricancha building remained.  the site also has room they kind of use like a planetarium where they could use the placement of the stars and planets to predict rain and weather and all the rest of it.  it was pretty interesting.  they also thought the southern cross constellation was pretty important, which i thought was pretty cool.  they saw the centre of the constellation as cusco, like the core of their world, and the stars coming out of it in a cross as the regions of the inca empire.  was pretty cool.  and the building also had their windows arranged so that the sun hits the right window at a certain time of the year.  man, it was like a movie the way they thought up stuff.  anyway … maybe i´m being a nerd but i found it all interesting and i´ve probably got the information all wrong.

yesterday i went to the sacred valley as well where i saw some more inca ruins, which was really interesting at the time but i swear to god i can´t remember half the stuff the guide was saying but it wasn´t borring, i swear!!!  although when i look at the photos that i took i can´t remember where it was taken, if it was the ruins at pisac or the ruins at ollantaytambo.   ooopsies.  hahahah.  it was a whole day out of cusco which was really nice.  at one point were were at a point higher than cusco so when we got off the bus i felt that same wooden leg type feeling i had when i got off the plane after first landing here.   the sacred valley tour also included the markets at pisac which was nice, although i felt really bad coz there were these little kids all dressed up in traditional gear and i paid them like 2 soles for them to pose for a photo for me.  i know, pathetic of me!!  but one of them was holding a little lamb!!!!  i also found out that my little world vision kid lives in the sacred valley, coz we passed the town he lives in (lamay). 

last night as well there was a maaaaaaaaaaaasive concert type situation thing in the main plaza.  they set up a stage right outside the cathedral and a couple of bands played and the plaza was packed, i hadn´t ever seen it that packed, and that includes all the ten bazillion fiestas that have been going on!!!  luckily i was meeting up with a mate and after we had located each other (there was a bit of a kerfuffle) we watched the fireworks which were really nice.   and the fireworks display went for aaaaages, but i still really enjoyed it.   i didn´t even want to take a photo of the fireworks coz i just wanted to enjoy the moment of seeing fireworks go off in a really old plaza.  soooo pretty.

after that we went to a local salsa joint where can i just say i am so glad i have dark features coz there was not one tourist in there and if there was a blonde head in that place they would´ve stuck out like a sore thumb!!!!  they didn´t play like traditional salsa type music, they only played reggaeton (again) and at one point there was pan pipe music but over a reggaeton beat.  guess these people love to move lol.  i felt like a dill but i kept up.  but get this for 23 soles you get entry for two people and TWO BOTTLES OF WINE.  loved it!!!!!  needless to say, i slept in this morning hahahaha.  it was a pretty good night and i had a lot of fun dancing like i knew what i was doing.  my mate looked like he was having fun, he was laughing a lot.  probably laughing at me.  lol!!!  ohhhh!!!  but the funniest part of the night was when this song came on and part of the song was in english (the majority of it was in spanish) and he goes to me, “what is she saying here?” and i tell him “she´s saying i want you to hold me” and he says “hold me? i thought she was saying hurt me! i always thought that was wrong!”.  lol!!!!  i guess in every country everyone has an alex the seal moment.

today is dia del padre so when i woke up with a fantastic headache i make my way into the dining room and the whole extended ochoa clan are sitting there having cake and refreshments!!  how embarrassing!!!  anyway i greet juan happy father´s day and he sits me at the table with the rest of the fam and i´m fed cake and hot milk (i wantéd water but i wasn´t gonna complain heheheh).  they are really nice about including me in family stuff, it feels nice.  they all left for lunch somewhere so i went back to bed to get some more shuteye, but one of the grandkids, diana´s little sister (i forget her name) stayed behind.  i think she satyed behind to do an assignment for school coz there was stuff all over the table when i left for town today.  i was starving!!  i went into a restaurant and ordered chicharron coz i wanted to compare it to filo chicharron but i think the guy gave me the wrong meal coz what came out was beefsteak, which they also have here.  next time.  ohhhh!!  and they have adobo here too which i saw in a restaurant window but i haven´t had any yet …

anyway my mates are coming in from calca tonight so i will stick around and wait for them …

bye bye



A week flies by in ye olde Cusco town ….

… 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.


Ay dios mio …

Finally went into town last night and although the place is beautiful, I went to an ATM outside a restaurant in the San Blas area of Cusco (which is like the most touristy place ever) and MY CARD GOT EATEN BY THE MACHINE.  That has never happened to me before, and of all the times it had to happen, it happened in Cusco!!!  And that card has been used in far flung places like Vietnam, Vienna and the Mobil on Quakers Hill Parkway, and I have NEVER had any problems!!! 

So after I kinda had a spak attack for 5 seconds, I found an English speaking policeman (Julian) and he and I walked all the way down the hill to the bank´s head office, and I knew it would come to nothing but he was being really positive so i though what the hell.  anyway turned out I had to cancel my card anyway.  the bummer of it all is that my bank won´t send the replacement card to anyway outside of australia, so it has to go Australia to Peru.  And I dunno how long that will take.  Sheeeeeesh. 

anyway aside from that i did see an old lady leading a llama through the narrow streets.  san blas is pretty but don´t believe all the hype, it´s only got touristy shops and is designed for the tourists.  you step a few streets outside of the plaza de armas in the town square and you get markets and local cusco people. 

and now the mad dash to get me a replacement card …


Roots, rock and reggaeton … and now altitude sickness (booooooo) …

the friday night i was in lima i went out with the one other person who was staying where i was, dan from the uk, and we hit a part of miraflores called ¨”calle pizzas” i´m not joking.  it´s just an area full of bars and clubs and stuff.  we tried a maaaaaassive glass of pisco sours each which are delicious but they´re pretty potent and you don´t realise how strong they are untill you stand up hahahahahah … and then we hit calle pizzas and we went on a little pub crawl and then walked it back to the homestay.  music in the clubs in miraflores are all reggaeton, and not a single song in english hahahah.  which was fine for me coz i actually kinda like that kind of music but poor dan a bit bemused (he is seriously the first birtish person i´ve met who doesn not drink).

the next day i met another brit, a girl named charlotte (charlie) who is also doing a teaching project but in lima.  all three of us had to do orientation in another part of lima with other people who have project work all over peru and are starting this week.  so we had our orientation where they basically tell you what to expect and check your insurance and passport details etc.  then we got taken to lunch and the least most peruvian place you can imagine … a tennis club.  the food was ok …

that afternoon a bunch of us went on one of those touristy open bus rides which was ridiculous coz the traffic was horrendous and the commentary was pretty funny.  the woman doing the commentary was like ¨”and here you will see some llamas” and we were all like WHERE??  so we´´re staring out the windows for some random llama to walk down the street but i think she meant in peru in general lol.  and then she said the weirdest thing when we turned a corner, she was like “and here there are five trees”. ok lady.

that night we had a bit of a drinky drink at our homestay with the others before we headed out to some reggae bar in barranco, which is another area of lima right next to miraflores.  it was ok but i had a flight the next day to cusco and i didn´t want to be dehydrated due to being hung over so i had a beer and that was it.  a cusquena, which goes down smooth so had i not had to have flown the next day i would´ve had a couple more …

the flight the next day to cusco was ok, sat next to a full on indian peruvian couple who were so nice, my tray table kept falling out so the man fixed it for me.  then they said some pleasantries to me but they spoke so fats that i couldn´t tell if they were speaking to me in quechua or spanish so i just nodded and smiled and said “si” and “muchas gracias” a lot heheheh.  but the flight is fine, the view out the window was awesome you could see the mountains and everything.  the plane was even better than the plane united airlines used in terms of leg room hahahah.  but the body of the plane itself was like a bus with legs, you know like side propellers and everything which cracked me up.

landing in cusco was surreal.  you really feel like you are in a far far far away place.  the airport is surrounded by mountains and everything is geared towards people travelling on to machu picchu and doing the inca trail (which i learnt is referred to as camino inka by the locals).  so i step off the plane the first thing i notice is that i can´t walk as fast, like i´d done a body attack class at the gym.  so i´m like, ok fine this is my body adjusting to the altitude.  so then i go look for a loo and when i am finally doin my biz (had to be a bog blog at some point) i notice that i´m breathing a little funny.  so i think … shite. 

then i get my bag and walk outside and wait for a dude name Juan Ochoa who owns a homestay that i will be staying at.  and there he is with a sign that says Erica Enriquez and he is an elderly peruvian man who greets me completely in spanish hahahhaahha!  i was actually told the people at the homestay don´t speak any spanish so it was fine.  my spanish is going from shit to broken.  baby steps …

anyway he drives me to the homestay and nearly hits a dog on the way there.  the drive was like 10 mins away so not too bad.  he was lovely, chatting in the car about the area.  i´m actually finding that i can pick up a few words of the sentences and then i get the gist of what people are saying.  and he talks fast so i was happy i got what he was saying.  he was describing the street names and trying to get me used to the area.  i´m staying in wanchaq, only a few tourists here it´s nothing like the touristy area the centre of cusco is.  which is fine. 

i get to the homestay and senor ochoa´s wife, teresa, greets me at the door and she gives me a biiiiiig hug and keeps saying ¨que linda, que linda¨ which i don´t really get coz linda means beautiful i thought and i don´t quite know if that´s a greeting lol.  so she makes me drop my bags and sits me at the dining table and straight away she gives me a cup of mate de coca which is supposed to help with the altitude sickness.  i mean it doesn´t, coz i feel it still now, but it tastes nice. 

as i´m drinking the ochoas are talking to me (entirely in spanish, mind you) asking me about my flight, where i´m from, all that stuff.  and i try to answer as best as i can but with the altitude and the lack of spanish on my part my head is pounding hahahaha!  then senora teresa full on tests me on my spanish ahahaha and she´s pointing to parts of the body, which i figure i am meant to name in spanish, so we go through nariz, boca, braso etc.  hahah.  then i show her my phrasebook and she laughs and she goes “ohhh, no mala mala mala” and now she´s really laughing.  and i just laugh too coz what else can i do???

after that i get shown to my room which is up a flight of stairs and overlooks a little courtyard in their house. the stairs were weird.  i felt shaky when i got to my room heheheh.  the room is pretty basic and the tv is from the 70s but it´s fine.  the bed though has four really thick alpaca wool blankets and last night it felt like i was sleeping with an animal hahah.  but i was warm so i´m not complaining.   i took a nap for a while and that´s when i noticed that the temperature drops significantly at night.  it felt like a proper sydney winter night, so it wasn´t too bad.

after my nap i had some sopas which was basically corn soup really with starch and that was ok but i was starving.  i didn´t want to ask for more food and i didn´t want to buy anything (tight as that i am) so i downed that sucker.  i met another girl who has been staying there for about 3 months, and she´s teaching english in the school that i´ll be at.  her name is haya and she´s stuck in cusco for a while cos she needs a tourist visa to go to argentina, which is where she´s heading after peru.  anyway she was awesome cos she gave me tips and all of that so it was great.

today i started my project at the local school, which is about a 5-10 min walk from where i´m staying but with my body not yet used to the altitude it felt like i´d freaking ran there.  senor ochoa walked me to the school and he gives me landmarks so i don´t get lost on the way back.  the school is just like i thought it would be, i.e. small and crowded but managing as best as they can.  it clearly could use more resources but for what it is it´s pretty good.  i meet the director, a priest whose name i can´t remember, and one of the other teachers who only speaks a bit of english but we manage with some pleasantries, thank god.  then i meet the english teacher who i´ll be assisting, named margarita.  she´s a lovely lady and she speaks much better english than my spanish.  she´s indian though so she actually speaks quechua, spanish and english.  puts me to shame to think of all the languages i´ve had the opportunity to learn in my life and i am crap at all of them!!!!!!!

today we taught the 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 6th grade.  omg the kids are HILARIOUS.  the 2nd and 3rd grade classes were adorable!!!  margarita introduces me as “miss erica¨so she says ¨please say hello to miss erica” and they all say ¨hola, miss eeeeriiiicaaaaaa¨ and then she says “en ingles!¨and they all go ¨hello, miss eeeeriiiicaaaa!”.  hahahah. 

they kids are soo funny.  the classes are unruly and the kids are basically undisciplined, but not in a “high school high” kind of way, they just can´t sit still and margarita is too timid to yell at them.  the kids are walking around the classroom and talking to their friends and a couple of times the little girls would give me hugs hahahah and ask me my name.  they did this thing where they asked me to translate names of their classmates to the english equivalent which was funny like they say “oscar” and i´d say “oscar” and they´d laugh and go ¨hahah, normaaaaaaaaaaaal” and poor oscar would just smile sweetly hahahah.  another girl was reina and they asked me to translate that in english and i said “queen¨and all the kids were like ¨queen! queen! queen!¨.  yes we did teach them something today though.  we taught them how to introduce their friends.  they had to do role playing and it was the only time the kids shut up coz they all wanted to have a go at standing at the front of the class and practicing their english. heheheh. 

the other class, the 2nd grade class, was much the same as the 3rd grade in that they were unruly too but we were teaching them active verbs like jump, walk, read etc.  so we had to act them out for the kids and they had to follow.  they were ADORABLE.  they kept coming up to me and asking me my name and then they´´d give me hugs and some of them gave me stickers and made me stick them onto my journal hahahaha.  as were leaving the class about 12 kids ran towards me and gave me a massive group hug (well, kinda, they only came up to my waist) and wouldn´t let me walk out the door hahahah.  and i said ¨hasta semana¨ coz i only see that class once a week and they were like ¨noooooo!” hahaha,  they´re adorable!!  during recess a couple of the girls followed me around the playground and held my hand and blabbered to me in spanish about i dunno what and a few of the boys walked past me and smiled and waved but these kids are like 7 years old it was soooo adorable.  one kid was playing football and as he kicked his shoe fell off and landed on the roof of one of the classrooms and the whole playground cracked up laughing hahahah!  one of the older kids, i´m guessing a kid in high school, had to go up on the roof and get it down.

the 6th grade class were something else though, they were about 11 or 12 and i remember being that age and being too cool for school so i guess that attitude is universal in kids that age.  they just would not listen and they talked with their friends.  there were a few kids who were really good ans asked me to check their homework and ask me questions, and they were really sweet. at one point a group of kids clocked on that ¨may i go to the bathroom please” could get them out of class so they go up to me and they´re like ¨teacher, mayigotothebathroomplease¨and i just let them, and before i know it about 6 of them are out the door.  dammit!!!

my day ends at about 1:30pm and after that some of the younger grades had practice for this festival they have to perform at next week, where every school in the area gathers together and has some kind of festival. june is festival month in cusco.  so the little kids (some of them i recognise from my earlier classes) are lined up in 4 lines and the teacher brings out a portable stereo and they have to dance a little hop-skippity-hop thing to traditional pan pipe inca music but they´re 7 years old so they´re getting it all wrong hahahah.  they look kind of like the actions the teacher is doing, but his motor skills are far more advance.  at one point one of the girls i recognise from my classes  just sighs, gives up and sits down hahahah.  another kid leaves his place in line, walks up to the stereo, sticks his head up against the speaker and starts bopping to it.  hilarious!!!!!!

overall a good first day.  still have not seen anything remotely lonely planet-y as i´m not sure my lungs can take me into town yet hahahah. the internet cafe i´m at right now is in the centre of this area of cusco so there´s a market across the road so i might pick up a bite to eat on the way back home.  it´s about 7:15pm right now.

so it´s been great, so far.  some of the guys i met from lima are coming up to cusco in a fortnight´s time so i´ll see them then.  and i really wanna check out san blas and plaza de armas so i have lots to keep me occupied.  there is another non peruvian teacher at the school that haya told me to keep an eye out for so i will.  and margarita offered to show me around too so that helps, and she´s a local so i won´t be with a massive pack of gringos.  having said that though, i am desperate to take photos of this area but i´ll give it time and just soak in the atmosphere of not visiting like a typical tourist.  i really need to improve my spanish but i can feel my confidence grow in using my broken spanish …

ok that´s it i am hungry!