Cuzco Artisan Market and Dances

Sunday, October 15, 2007: +Jesse Avery and I woke up with headaches, apparently we were both suffering from altitude sickness.  Jesse thought he drank too much mate and was dehydrated, either way both of us were not feeling well.  We had the hotel's breakfast and headed down to the "Centro Artesanal", the artisan's market.  I wanted to buy presents for everyone back home.  On the way there we walked through San Blas towards the Plaza de Armas again and we stopped at the famous "Stone of 12 Angles" at Hatun Rumiyoc.

I'm no expert on Inca stonework but these stones were carved by hand and were cut precisely without what we would consider rock cutting tools.  It seems unclear of how these rocks were cut with such precision because no one knows how to do it manually with out power tools today.

It was pretty amazing to see how perfectly the stones fit just like a puzzle and to think the was done hundreds, and hundreds of years ago.  When the Spanish came to conquer they destroyed the emperor's palaces and built the churches on top the base of the emperors palace, that is why you see these walls with a "Spanish" type building on top. The Spanish could never replicate the Inca stonework.

All along this street there were Andean dressed women with the babies in a sling and their older daughters carrying baby llama's in their slings.  They were charging money to take pictures with them of course.  I really don't like doing touristy activities like take a picture with an Andean woman but I almost did when I saw that cute baby llama.

At the Plaza de Armas the military and other community organizations were getting prepared to parade around the plaza.  The stage had all the cities government officials like the mayor and other important people, I suppose.  Intrigued, we stayed for a while and watched the parade thinking it was an important day come to find out later that its a weekly occurrence to install patriotism in the people. The Peruvian and Inca flag flies in the Plaza de Armas.  The rainbow Inca flag is not the gay pride flag.

I was never in the military, but being in law enforcement at the time I really liked looking at their rifles.  We left the parade before the mass exodus occurred and headed down Av. El Sol towards the Centro Artesanal, a mile from the Plaza de Armas.  On the way, we came across a Maranatha church that had a service going on, so we went in for the music part of the service and then sneaked out.  They had a Quechua service but much earlier in the morning.  I'm always interested in visiting other churches when I'm traveling.

The artisan's market was a typical artisan market which I loved.  We bought presents for all the families back home and Jesse got his "explorer" hat.  It was the only real shopping I did the whole time we were in Peru.

We walked back up the hill to run some errands and bought some supplies for our hiking adventure that was about to begin.  We had lunch at Andino Cafe in the San Blas neighborhood which was quite comfortable, affordable and most importantly delicious.  We actually returned there on many occasions to eat during our trip in 2009 as well.

We finished our walk up to our hotel and took nap, which we overslept by an hour and a half!  I guess we were more tired than we thought.  A half an hour late, we met up with my co-worker and her friends and headed out to find some pizza.  Dinner conversation consisted of the girls telling us of their adventure to Pisaq and their crazy taxi ride.

+Llama Path suggested we visit "Centro de Qosqo de Arte Nativo" where they held traditional Cuzco Andean dances, so after dinner we headed up the street to the art center.  The ticket seller was very confused why I wanted to buy two international tickets since I was Peruvian and my husband obviously not.  I explained to him that I was Peruvian-American and I was not born in Peru, so I needed two international tickets (more expensive).  The ticket seller thanked me for my honesty and charged me the international price.

We watched an hour and a half of traditional Qoso dancing from each different region of the the Cuzco department.  My favorite dance was the bull/matador fight where the women were the bulls and the men were the matadors.  The name Qosqo, Cuzco, and Cusco mean the same thing but the city's name was originally Qosqo, and slowly after time it became Cuzco or Cusco.  I will tend to write Cuzco but might throw in the other names occasionally.

On our way back to the Casa de Campo, the stores were closing down and the streets were lined with purple everything, candles, ribbons, but mostly purple flowers.  There were altars/shrines in every store and all over the streets to a crucified "black" Jesus.  I asked a lady what the celebration was about and she explained that it was the procession of "El Senor de los Temblores" (The Lord of Earthquakes).  Back at the hotel, I asked the receptionist what was "El Senor de los Temblores" and she explained that a long time ago there was a three day earthquake and people didn't know what to do so they prayed to the forgotten "black" Jesus and the earthquake stopped.  With that we quickly finished packing our gear to start our hike and went to bed.