The festivities begin...

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
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Trip End Apr 08, 2008


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Saturday, January 19, 2008

What a day!!  Dos misas en un dia.  Not my usual type of day but first, the 7AM service in the illustrious church on the central plaza...a chance to see the church in action, serving it's community and somehow be a part of it.  Then it's off to the town of Pisac for the service in Quechua, the native language of the Incas.  Pisac has a huge market on Sundays, with everything one could imagine and more...there are also some more Inca ruins there but I'm getting my fill of ruins...once you've seen MP, you recognize components of those ruins all over the countryside.  My primary focus here is the market and the Quechua community...plus I love taking a local bus to a new place...lots of local color.  So I'm wandering the market...and taking lots more photos - markets are one of my favorite places to photograph....and suddenly there are about 20 young boys and men blowing their conch shell horns on the church steps...a sort of call to service.  Now, I'm not a particularly avid church-goer but how could one resist?  So after enjoying the call, I find myself squeezing into the fifth row waiting for the service to begin...It's a small, simple church as churches go, but there's nothing simple about this service...it's colorful and passionate because of the people there, and I'm actually feeling moved by the whole thing.  Especially by the group of people gathered inside.  There is something about a group of people deeply immersed in their spirituality, whatever form that might take, that is captivating.  There is a sense of quiet, of strong community, of peace...and when it comes time to greet one's neighbor, no one is left out.  There are hugs and welcomes made all around and I'm enjoying being some part of that.  I'm reminded again of the unity of spiritual practice...of how the guiding principles of various organized religions are much the same at their core.  And it seems that the role of spiritual practice in our lives should only reflect that unity, rather than express itself as divisive.   Within the walls of this church, these concepts seem simple....if only their reflection in the affairs of the world were as simple.
 
It's closing in on Carnivale time in South America.  Lots of different celebrations starting late in January and running through February...today is the Festivale of San Sebastian outside of Cusco.  So after we leave Pisac, we head straight there...into the crowds and craziness and festivities...  We're told by everyone that we need to watch our pockets...that it would be easy to have things taken...we've been told that before but this time people are more earnest so we're a little more on guard.  And the crowds and commotion are unbelievable...esp for the extreme heat.  We grab some deep fried chicharron (pork), potatoes and choclo (starchy corn), that we thought was actually fried garlic, from a street vendor...  I've been eating as much garlic and onions as I can stand in hopes that they'll keep my internal parasites in check.  Not at all sure that I've picked up any yet - I figure I'll just do a parasite flush when I get home - but in the meantime, I want to keep anything from flourishing in there.  But the food rests well...would have been nice if I could've washed my hands...as we walk along we recognize that the most popular plate du jour is the deep fried guinea pig....there's no mistaking these little fried rodents on the street.  They've got those long white front teeth sharply contrasting with their dark brown, deep fried skin.  There are piles of them...I see one guy holding his by the head and ripping into it with his teeth.  I don't feel like there's any inherent problem in relying on guinea pigs for your protein...they're easy to reproduce and tasty...I'm just not accustomed to seeing them piled up fried and with their abdomens full of herbs.   So I have to take lots of pictures so you can all get a good visual....
 
The parade goes on forever.  My favorite is the cerveza (beer) dance.  Lots of wild masks and some real characters keeping the crowds entertained.  Check out the video... And lots of cervezas and chichi (the fermented corn brew) so the crowd is really pumped...important to get out of here before dark...when things get really overwhelming....  Actually we've already hit our limit... it's either indulge in some hearty cervezas or hail a cab, and being wise tourists we do the latter...home to Cuzco, a shower, some fine looking pizza, and dreams of piles of those little buck teeth.... 
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Comments

licia
licia on

chickens
love those furry girls!!! I lost my black bird chicken yesterday she was 10 and a racoon took her life on my birthday but for a better note i wore lisa red dingle ball pants to ball class to celebrate all that is good and alive. plus hillary got some good votes yesterday
happy travels
love you licia

chold
chold on

Hola!
I'm in bed with the flu and enjoying a lovely journey through Peru with you. Hi Karen and Lisa! Your travels are inspiring. Thank you for sharing them. The photos and captions are wonderful, and I love reading the blogs. When you retire from teaching, Karen, you could have whole new career in travel writing, or any kind of writing for that matter. Ya got somethin' there, girl.
Mucho love, big hugs and happy trails to you,
Colleen

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