Thursday, 25 June 2009

Looking at Cusco

Since I'm about to leave it (next Thursday), I thought I'd do a little retrospective. I read my first blog entry about Cusco, and in fact I still agree with most of my first impressions. I was a little overwhelmed by the poverty and the contrast with home, but the fact remains that it is a vibrant city, full of westerners partying but also of images like one I saw this morning: a small boy wandering in a rubbish dump.

That is the thing - you are hit with one memorable moment after another, and it's impossible to record all of them. Just today, for example - an old man in the bus urging the driver to drive into the slow car in front.

The surface, like the Plaza de Armas, is Hispanic, but neither the Spanish nor the hordes of tourists manage to stifle the Quechua undercurrent that is the real driving force in the city. Get out of the centre, and you're definitely in a developing country, and a long way from Europe. Andean Peru doesn't conform to the traditional image of Latin America - it just doesn't feel that Spanish.

This has been a short, jumbled blog post, but I hopefully got something across. Tomorrow is some community work, then I hope to travel south to the Chilean border this weekend. That will only happen if the Peruvians stop their endless striking! The country is in a bit of political turmoil at the moment.

P.S. Was shocked and saddened by Michael Jackson's death. However strange he was, he had an extraordinary talent. I read an article on the Guardian website, which contained a comment that Fred Astaire made after seeing Jackson perform in 1983: "You're an angry dancer. There's rage in your feet". Telling stuff.

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