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

Cusco V

I’m sitting in the café trying to write this and the hottest local girl I’ve seen is sitting next to me trying to talk to me about movies.  In Españolish.  This relationship doesn’t have legs, but we can sit here and pretend to communicate for as long as she is willing…nothing but time…  And I’d love to go the movies, but here’s the problem:  There is no movie theater in this town.  There is no bowling alley either.   Seriously, 350,000 people and there is nothing to do here but eat, drink, dance, and take pictures with baby llamas.  Maybe the sweet baby jesus will bring me a copy of Glengarry Glen Ross and Goodfellas for whatever religious holiday currently has the locals launching fucking mortars right outside my room every 15 minutes…more on that later.

Anyway, back to the girl…  Yes, she sucked two glasses of wine out of me, but her absolute reticence to talk about family or anything remotely non-trivial left me a little suspicious.  Someone’s getting gringoed here.  We can’t go see a movie, so her response, naturally, is dancing.  I actually walked with her to the doorstep of the disco and had one foot in the door before reason broke through:  “No, no goddamn disco tonight.  Buenas noches.”  Maybe I am actually learning.

I spent 8 hours last Sunday sitting in the street drinking beer with Michael from Santa Monica and Bologna Face from Cusco.  (Come on, mom, it’s Sunday!  What the hell else am I supposed to do??)   Michael owns The Lost City Bar and we sat out in front, rocked the music, watched baseball on my laptop, hassled the local kids (who repaid us with a sneak confetti attack), chatted with the local stray dogs, and soaked in the Cusco sun.  At one point, the tourist police came by and said we couldn’t sit on the sidewalk with the barstools…so we moved them out in the street instead.  Not sure about the logic there, but happy to comply, officer.

We took a brief road trip to another friend’s bar and re-enacted the confetti sneak attack to less-than-stellar reviews.  Nick walked in, looked down at the little yellow dots all over the floor, looked up at the little yellow dots all over Michael’s hair and shirt, and looked at me.  Then he walked back out.  Time to head back down to The Lost City!  Certainly one of the most entertaining Sundays I’ve had in some time.






On Monday, I moved (up the goddamn hill) to my sweet new casa.  It’s quite remarkable to be in a 3-story house with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a huge kitchen and equally huge living room after a month in my dingy little apartmento.  My roomies are good friends (Alex from Nottingham and Macarla from Brisbane) and I’m looking forward to 6 weeks here…with a major exception.  The entire exterior of the house is glass.  Quite beautiful during the day and the views of the city are awesome.  But, of course as you know, single-pane glass is not exactly an insulator, so when it’s 70 degrees outside, it’s 70 degrees inside.  Yay!  And when it’s 40 degrees outside (every fucking night), then it’s 40 degrees inside.  The place has picked up the moniker “The Ice House,” and it seems to fit.

Despite the cold (I went to the local market and bought two more llama blankets…not quite enough…), I really enjoy being here.  Alex and Macarla both have day jobs (suckers!), so I have the house to myself most of the time.  We celebrated our first night with Korean bulgogi and Chilean boxed wine.  Classy.












There has been some sort of religious festival for the past 4 days outside a huge cathedral by the house, some 50 yards away.  (You could make a killing in this town doing tents and parade floats.  Seriously.  Three hundred days a year…)  I don’t mind the speeches on blown-out Radio Shack speakers.  The mini-parades are kind of cute.  The marching bands have some appeal (although it’s waning quickly).  I wouldn’t even mind the fireworks if they were using sparklers, firecrackers, and roman candles, per usual Cusco protocol.  But no, these fuckers have graduated to major explosives.  Tuesday night I was in bed reading and literally jumped out of the bed when they finished for the evening by dropping a gross of M-80s into a metal can.  (I’m still trying to finish Solzhenitsyn’s account of the Russian humiliation in the early days of World War I, which probably doesn’t help.)  Apparently that was the warm-up act, because the shelling continued for another 3 days at 30-60 minute intervals, offset just enough to catch you unaware.  I think I’m going to dig a trench to sleep in until this bastard festival is over.

In other local madness, the Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in the Cusco Province because of violence related to natural gas resources.  A consortium of foreign companies and the government are trying to increase gas exports (for profit, of course) when there are massive shortages of natural gas all over the country.  And all this at a time when hundreds are dying in Peru because of record cold temperatures.

The Plaza de Armas was closed all morning yesterday because of protest marches. (And more fucking mortars.  I was standing there innocently soaking in the proceedings and the crazy bastards made me spill my coffee.  Where are they getting these things?)  There is also a long wall of protest signs along one side of the plaza.  I’ll let you be the judge, but I think these people are a little bit pissed off (Alan Garcia is the President of Peru):










Last night I wandered down to The Lost City for a drink and a chat and got blindsided by quite the interesting proposition.  Michael needs to return to the US for 5 months and asked if Rich (the bar manager and my roomie Macarla’s boyfriend) and I would be interested in keeping the bar open during that time.  Rich would do drinks, I would cook and we’d split the management, daily prep, marketing, and comic relief duties.  It was absolutely not my intention to get a real job or to stay in Cusco for such an extended period.  At the same time, it would significantly cut down on my bar tab and provide a steady stream of great stories.  Every night that I’m in there I meet new people from all over the world, certainly my favorite part of this adventure.  It’s definitely worth some thought…stay tuned!








4 Responses to “Cusco V”

  1. kevinpdx says:

    It sounds like you are having the same weather as here. Have fun. It sounds like you are.

  2. sponge888 says:

    Running a bar… somehow I can see that.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tell the Lost City owner that the winner of CheezburgerCon 2009 is available for kitchen duty. All he has to do is fly him and his black dog to Cusco. Free beer is optional.

  4. She Spat says:

    Yes, you have to do it!

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