Dec 252004

Photos for this entry: Christmas celebrations in Cuzco and Sacsayhuaman

Wow. What an interesting day. We woke up to construction and fireworks at about 6 am. OK, the fireworks, I get. Construction on christmas day? Take a rest! Our local german yogurt joint was closed, so we stumbled down to the plaza for breakfast. After wandering for a bit, we decided to give the oh so non-PC Baghdad Cafe a try. Decent food, but more importantly, it overlooked the plaza.

As we were paying our bill, the people in the churches around the square started to leave, a lot of them in costume. Next they started to sing, use noise makers, and do some sort of ceremony/parade around the plaza. Really, really strange to a paleface for Christmas. We followed two groups around the square for a little bit when a third group appeared.

This group was carrying a throne with a bling bling baby jesus (doll) seated on it. Marching behind the throne was a band, together with the crowd they sang and marched around the square. They stopped a couple times to sing happy birthday to the baby jesus doll, then continued on their victory lap back to the church.

It was amazing to see. I tried to discretely snap a few photos. Tried to avoid being the stereotype tourist, shoving a camera in the locals faces. There was a lot of them out today. Yes.. I know that just by being here I inevitably make changes to the country. Sustainable tourism is something great to aim for, but ultimately impossible. Let me have my little complaint session.

After picking up our laundry, I grabbed a cab and headed up to the Sacsayhuaman ruins. The ruins are zip zag walls of a religious complex that sits above Cuzco (right next to a mini Rio de Janeiro christ statue). The ruins are quite impressive when you look at the size of the rocks they used for the walls. Massive, perfectly carved and fitted rocks that the spanish didn’t even try to tear down after they defeated the Inkas.

After checking out the ruins I walked over to a little bike cart and had a cola. I like the way they do it here. The carts sell pop in glass bottles that are about 295ml, perfect for a quick drink. Unlike the bigger plastic bottles (which seem to be just tossed on the ground) they need the glass bottles to send back to the drink factory. You have to hang out by the cart while you finish your drink. It is great, sort of like a forced 5-10 minute break where you can chat with other customers.

I hung out on a little bridge while I finished my soda. Then shared my lunch with some of the locals. A bunch of families were out playing futbol on the grass, so the kids wandered over to talk to me. It is amazing, but I can actually manage to communicate some thoughts to the locals. Mind you, I’m not saying my spanish is good.. it is horrible. I just mean that it is always impressive how much you can actually communicate without knowing the language.

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