Sad, but not tragic. A forced opportunity. Maybe even a fortunate adaptation…fuck it. Let's make taco salad.

Cusco

You know how a parade is cool for somewhere in the 15-30 minute range and then you’re ready to go back home and fold laundry or something more compelling ?  Well imagine that you stumble into an indigenous parade celebration that you watch over lunch, walk the parade route for 2 hours, stop for a coffee, stop somewhere else for a World Cup match, go back to the hostel for a 2 hour siesta, have beer in the hostel bar and meet a bunch of people who then wander back down to the parade with you 10 hours after it started, and you’re still pretty sure you haven’t seen the same thing twice.  I think Cusco’s ready to party.

 

 

Our journey up here from Ica was less a bus ride than a 15 hour aerobic workout trying to stay in the seat.  “If this bus is a rockin…”  We managed a couple hours of sleep with the aid of our increasingly good friend, Xanax, but sleep deprivation on travel days is quickly becoming part of the journey.

We got to Cusco (~350,000 people, ~10,800 feet) just in time to catch the second half of the US’ last group game against Algeria.  England was playing at the same time and there were close to 50 Brits in the hostel bar screaming at their TV, but also taking the time to mock the US every time we missed a shot.  So it was quite gratifying when Landon Donovan pounded one home in the 93rd minute, which won the group for the US and pushed England into a knockout round game with Germany…where they got humiliated.  Take that, pompous bastards.

We had a beautiful view of the city from our hostel window.  The Sister declares, “But it’s so BROWN.”  I guess terra cotta is not her color.

 

 

We had only discovered a couple of days prior that the biggest party of the year was in Cusco the day of our arrival.  The Inti Raymi, a celebration of the Inca sun god, goes on for a week, but culminates in the day-long parade in the city and then a massive ceremony on the hill outside of town the next day.  There were literally thousands of indigenous groups crowded into central Cusco, practicing their dances, warming up their bands, and drinking beer and chicha at 10 am.  By 10 pm, with the parade still rolling through the main square, the groups that were finished filled the streets with tables and chairs and it turned into the biggest outdoor food court I’ve ever seen.  Sit down and someone will pass you a beer and a plate of whatever mom is cooking – chicken soup with noodles, barbecued beef skewers, roasted guinea pig, alpaca stir fry – delicious.  The only issue for me was that the rivers of beer flowing through the plazas soon became rivers of pee rolling down the gutters, but when you take over the streets it includes some sanitation challenges.  We went back to bed close to midnight, but the drums and fireworks went on all night long.  Like much of what we have seen here, there is no adequate way to describe the beautiful energy we experienced.  Thousands and thousands who live high in the mountains and scratch out a living on a scrub hillside have been waiting all year to break out their local costumes and come down to Cusco to celebrate.   Great fucking party.

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning was the arrival of our dad and Holly’s mother from the US.  They hadn’t seen their daughter in 7 months, so it was naturally a bit emotional.  We spent a night and another day exploring Cusco and letting them heal from a 36-hour travel fiasco before we headed off for Machu Picchu.

 

 


One Response to “Cusco”

  1. Anonymous says:

    It was the perfect time to arrive the party city as a party man. Portland misses you and so do I.

Leave a Reply