Monday, 29 June 2009

The last Cusco weekend

As the title suggests, my planned trip south to the Chilean border didn't work out in the end (you can thank the healthy Peruvian strike culture for that). So I ended up being in Cusco, but unexpectedly had a great time. On Friday morning all the teaching volunteers travelled to Piscacucho, a tiny village that gets overlooked by the tour buses whizzing past on the way to the start of the Inca trail. There, we teamed up with a Spanish NGO to start clearing up the village primary school, which was in a real state. I helped clear out one classroom which was full of random objects - chairs and tables, but also sugar cane, tiles, tools, planks, and a beehive (!).When it was all lying out on the grass, it was difficult to see how it had all fitted inside. We then swept the place out, keeping ourselves amused with songs from our favourite musicals. I am more convinced than ever of the power of singing to lift spirits.

A friend from Deloitte (my job in the first half of my Gap year) was in town at the weekend, and with him on Saturday I went to the fair at Huancaro, which has been running nearly all of June. It was like a cross between an agricultural show (with alpacas), a funfair and a music concert. We also decided to brave the cock fight, but didnt last long once we found out the birds had blades attached to their legs. Brutal doesn't seem to quite cover it.

My friend was staying in a hostel called Loki, which is housed in a 450 year old colonial mansion, and is quite simply brilliant. It has its own bar, a cheap barbecue supper at the weekends, a security guard outside, and a fun atmosphere. Luckily there is a branch in Lima too - a good idea for next weekend I think.

On Sunday, we decided to go to the football match. I felt like I couldn't leave without having seen the local team play. Cienciano (Cusco) were playing Sporting Cristal from Lima, a team unfortunate enough to have been named after a beer. By half time Cusco were 3 - 0 down, but managed to recover to 4 - 4. With 5 minutes to go they went 5- 4 up, only to concede an equaliser in the dying moments of the match. There was a thrilling atmosphere (flares and fireworks), and ten goals in one match isn't bad in anyone's book. All in all, not a glamorous weekend, but a very South American one

After that, today was a quiet day, trying to sort out things for my departure. My last day of teaching is Wednesday, which promises to be a bit emotional. I leave for Nazca on Friday evening, and will be in Lima late on Saturday or Sunday morning. After a couple of days, I head to Trujillo, a colonial city on the north coast, and so on with a few stops up to Ecuador.

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