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South America and Mexico

Cusco Day 2

PERU | Friday, 4 October 2013 | Views [462]

After a restless night of sleep, I pulled myself up into the 40 degree weather to catch the end of breakfast. We went on Cusco's free walking tour such as what they have in many big cities. As we were waiting for others to arrive, I had my first entirely Spanish conversation, other than at the airports, with this grandpa sitting next to me on the bench. Such a surreal moment. 24 hours ago I was on a hot plane worrying if I can even remember enough to have a conversation and here I am now sitting in a beautiful park chatting away. It really does come back to you and I'm even more thankful that I had amazing Spanish teachers all these years. 

Our tour guide called himself Johnny (Depp). Yesterday, our taxi driver was Billy. Both made a big deal about their names in American culture so I wonder if that's their real name or their for-the-tourists name. We started off by going to a local Peruvian restaurant where we sampled alpaca steak in a gooseberry sauce. I was surprised by how delicious and tender it was. The sweet sauce really complemented the savory meat. Next, we went to Paulina's, where we had our sandwiches last night, to try some Chicha Morada. It's a dark colored drink that's made of boiling a dark blue colored corn and mixing it with lemonade and something else. Johnny compared it's nutritional benefits to that of Gatorade but natural. It's supposed to help with headaches and hangovers but who knows how scientifically accurate that is so he drinks both after a night out. 

We visited a few cathedrals, walked down some back streets with nearly nonexistent sidewalks but equally crazy drivers. We stopped at this wall called the Inka Roca? that was built by the Incans at the bottom and then built over by Spaniards. Part of the wall was destroyed because the Spanish thought the Incans had used gold rods inside the structure and they wanted that gold. Hope they weren't too disappointed when they found nothing. We started climbing extremely steep and slippery cobblestone steps that made me wonder why I ever complain in San Francisco. We were rewarded by an amazing aerial view of Cusco and some random bar stories from Johnny. After another heart pounding steep climb, we reach a cathedral sitting on the hillside near Sacsayhuaman, where a bunch of women were chilling with their pet llamas. Or alpacas. I'm not too sure how to tell the difference at this point.

Finally, we start our descent and stop at sushi and noodle bar. The tour's theme for this month is international foods so why not sushi? Their fish is brought fresh from the coast everyday and we were given samples of salmon and veggie rolls. It was so good I almost forgot I was in Peru. To end our 3 hour adventure, we went to a chocolate museum where you can make your own chocolates. Awesome. We tried their milk and dark chocolates along with some delicious chocolate tea. Sooo good. I've always been a bigger fan of international chocolates over what we have at home and this was delectable. During the whole tour, Johnny blasted what he called awesome songs dude! I think he meant crappy American pop songs. I didn't fly all this way to be reminded of Robin Thicke and Miley's obsession with wrecking balls and how she won't stop. But alas, I also heard it in the airports so I guess they either didnt watch their lovely duet or they loved it. 

Had dinner at a restaurant called Don Tomas. I was greeted with another Miley rendition as we sat down. Seripusly, what is it with her? It was a bit expensive but so good that it didn't matter. We had our first cebiche dish of fresh trout. I had alpaca steak and Eric had pork loin wrapped in bacon with some sauce on it. It was an interesting surprise that our veggies had jicama in it but just because I wasn't expecting it. 

Wander around the nightlife of Cusco and then made our way back because Eric HAD to watch the Dodger's game. I'll give him that we always seem to be off in another country every time they're doing well/in the playoffs. Tomorrow's going to be an adventurous day. Buenos noches todos.

Tags: alpaca steak, city tour, cusco


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