Up and down in Cusco

The extent of the action today in the Plaza de Armas, the centre of the current festival, is visible from the hill above. 

The best views must have been those obtained by a drone flyer.  The drone soared high over the Plaza, down to our left, and above where we were.

The hill was busy too,  with local men raising a flagpole. A miracle it didn’t fall on at least one of them. 

Meanwhile, a guy sat at the base of the cross up there, unmoving, as the drone flew noisily over him (just visible under the left arm of the cross), tourists came and went, the men kept working on getting that huge flagpole up and, the noise from bands playing in the Plaza below floated up.

Behind us was a stone wall that has to have been made by the Incans. The stones fit together amazingly well. Modern stone walls don’t usually look like that. 

One of the locals assured me it was Incan. A distinct possibility as the adjacent church was built in the 15th or 16th centuries. Looks as though it’s now a later iteration.

Getting back down into town you walk down steep stairs and cobblestoned streets. Easy to walk in boots. Not so in runners. 

I dropped into my apartment. At the base of the uneven but strangely beautiful stairs, heading up from the sunny courtyard, is a notice. Oh, cheers. It says it’s a secure zone if there is an earthquake. Reassuring! Guess it’s been tested over time so maybe my apartment, directly above is too 🙂

Walking past some nearby shops on the way to the Plaza de Armas I smelt a truly wonderful, tempting, smell. Couldn’t bear to check as it was sure to be roast guinea pig. 

Most menus here, except in the mostest touristy places, have cuyo (guinea pig) high on their menu. And there was a gastronomic festival celebrating their contributions today. Not tempted to attend. Not even knowing I could buy typical meals based on guinea pigs or, breeders.  I did like the poster though.

First dog bite yesterday. A medium sized mutt in a place away from the tourist area obviously recognised I didn’t belong there. I’d jumped at him and yelled when I realised his mal intent. Thought he’d gone away (I would have with my performance!). So I kept walking. 

Then I felt a mouth close around my upper calf. It was clear he thought he was justified.  I didn’t worry what we might catch from each other as he didn’t get through my pants or close to breaking the skin. Shocked by his success he called it quits and left. His little friends remained sitting and watching. Nice tops! Many dogs here wear something. 

San Pedro market

Meanwhile, back to everyday Cusco.  The San Pedro market has extensive food and clothing options. Best of all though are the fruit juice drinks, two rows of cheery women competing to sell you one. I had a mango and orange. Loved the hat! And the colours.

And yes, the local women between them wear a huge range of interesting hats. One at the market turned away when she saw I had a camera. I was more interested in her hat anyhow.

One walking down the closest hill wasn’t as aware of my nefarious intent. Similar hat yet I’m sure the differences are quite meaningful.

So, back to the ongoing festival, celebrating the winter solstice. The colour and action is never ending. Friday, the little kids. Saturday a range of floats. Strange floats using symbols that I really couldn’t understand at all. 

The exceptions: a seasaw with a cute guinea pig on one end and a fat pig on the higher end. Looked to me like a valiant little guinea pig was being overcome by a gross capitalist pig (complete with a can of coke). 

The other: a skull with sme gold teeth. Old religion (of the Incas) nicely incorporated into  the traditions of the new (Catholicism).

However I really have no idea what most floats represented. Some really bad dreams perhaps.
Meanwhile, some interesting people strutted their stuff. 

Note the red edge of the weapon. He liked posing, this guy.

I’m still wondering why this guy was being dressed in women’s clothing. 

The good bit was the nearby woman selling larger safety pins. Not easy to buy at home. 

Meanwhile, a young ‘professional’ Cuscan was dragging a very reluctant llama he’d just put down. Very soon after he had to pick it up again. Being carried was what it wanted. Not surprising when you see little baby llamas, with colourful little crocheted or knitted hats, being carried like babies by a number of local women. This one was considerably larger than most!

And I liked the idea that there is only one world, and we (the Spanish) call it the old and new worlds but it only means it’s (the new) newly discovered by us, and not because there are two. There is only one. (Apologies to Inca Garcilaso de la Vega Cimpu Ocllo). 

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