Arequipa Awesomeness

James

Market SqOne of our first days in Arequipa, we saw the Santa Catalina convent. We learned a lot. We learned about how the second children of a family had to become nuns or priests. We learned about how, for the first four years, the nuns, sent to the convent around age 13, saw no one but their teachers. We learned about how they lived and much more. We were informed about an important nun named Ana de los Angeles. She’d been sent to the convent for education at age 3, but permanently pulled out 10 years later, to be forcibly married to a man who was much older than she was. She ended up running away and permanently joining the convent. Her parents refused to give her the donation she needed, but her brother helped. She died at age 80. Centuries later, in the 1900s, a woman very sick with cancer mixed tiny portion of the ash of Ana de los Angeles with her medicine. In only a few days, she was completely cured.

BirdsAfter seeing the convent, we head a nice lunch overlooking a plaza with music in the background. Later, I fed the birds. So many! So aggressive! It seemed as if a literal sea of pigeons was swarming me. It was amazing.

IMG_5075The next day, we had a delicious lunch with the family we were staying with. I had cuy. It came with the claws, bones, head and all. It was actually kinda disgusting, but it was good. I liked it!

Bull HeadsAlso, we saw bulls fighting. This was not the Spanish style, where the man with the cape kills the bull with a spear. Instead, in this Peruvian style, bulls head butted each other, and when one was too hurt to continue and ran, the other won. During the last fight we saw, one bull pushed another into the barrier. There was an explosion of people as everyone rushed to avoid the danger. It was a little scary. Eventually, the bull with the bloodiest wounds, the one obviously losing, chased away the other and won the match. Woo!

IMG_5077We also stayed with a wonderful family in a beautiful house with lots of space. They were family of a friend of ours. Their names were Carmen Sr., Pepé Sr, and Carmen Jr. Pepé Jr, my parents’ friend, got in touch with us, and he wanted us to stay with his family.They were so nice and so welcoming! Hospitable, too!

Guinea Pigs, Cuy, Sightseeing, and a Tour

 

Alpacas

Guinea Pig
Guinea Pig Palace – Pisac

I reached out to the smallest guinea, which was also the closest. It was the size of a pet guinea pig you would find in the States. Only it was a baby. The guinea pigs all scattered. Some of them were absolutely huge, maybe even more than a foot long. The were so cute, but they weren’t pets. They were food.

Girl with lamb
Miriam, me, and a lamb – Pisac

Soon after our visit to the guinea pigs, we strolled around the Písac market. The square was full of fruit stands. It was a very colorful market. They also had a arts and crafts section. We bought a strip of natural powder-like colors for some friends. As we made our way to the shared taxi station, we saw a girl about my age with an adorable lamb. I loved on it and got a photo. But, as I’d said earlier, guinea pigs were food. And soon, they would be food for us.

Cuy2
Cuy – It’s What’s for Dinner

For my parents’ anniversary, we had a special order of Cuy (guinea pig) in Cusco. Mom was feeling adventurous, so she decided to take it as her meal. She let me have a bite. It tasted like duck. I should have eaten it instead. Mom was crying as if a family member had died. Apparently, all she’d been thinking was, Poor Linny! Linny is a guinea pig in Wonder Pets, an American TV show for little kids. Eventually, after eating most of it, she let the waiter take it. But no one could take the Inca like they had taken Mom’s cuy.

Site
Goofin’ on the ruins of Qoricancha

The museum of sites of the Qoricancha talked about Pre-Inca settlements as well as their technology. Then they talked about the Inca, going into a lot of depth about their empire’s holdings, including the cities, and then the Spanish conquest. The Spanish conquistadors came and crushed everything in the Incas’ society. Terrible. Just terrible. Chinchero was just up the road.

Weaving
Weaving Demonstration – Chinchero

We went to Chinchero, a village near Moray. We soon got a brief demonstration of the different things used for cleaning and dying wool. Then they died the wool, pointed out a couple of nearby women who were spinning the wool into thread, and lastly wove the thread into a beautiful blanket. Soon, we’d visit the site that Chinchero was very close to.

Moray Terraces
Moray Terraces

Moray was a very interesting Inca site. It was made up of 21 different terraces, going down instead of up, used to make 3 different ecosystems. It was also used to experiment with crops. The bottom terrace was the wettest and hottest. This system of terraces was dedicated mainly towards potatoes. At least in this place. What’s Pre-Inca and involves salt water? You’re about to find out.

Salt Pools2
Salt Pans of Maras

Next, we saw the salt mines. In was an intriguing, Pre-Inca site with loads and loads of pools. They were filled with salt water, and when the time came, after the pool turned from brown to yellow to white, all water entries were blocked off. After the water evaporated, they had a pool full of salt. What a spectacular process! Read on to find out about the spectacular gift I got in Cusco.

As we were about to leave Cusco, I got an adorable stuffed guinea pig for a present from the owners of our AirBnb apartment. I played with two really little kids, before leaving. What a great gift!