Paris is that beautiful girl in high school. The one with the piercing eyes surrounded by abnormally thick, dark, eyelashes. The girl with the great wardrobe and the older boyfriend that always picks her up after school. Paris is stunning, sweeping and yet no one really knows her. She’s distant and a bit untouchable.
Peru is the girl with the warm, deep chocolate, eyes. The best friend with the occasional bad hair day or a zit. The one with that great laugh, Peru wears Converse. She’s the girl you tell all your secrets. She may not have the best wardrobe, but when she looks at you she connects, she’s real and present. Peru is unstudied, sometimes messy, and genuine in a way that made me cry.
I’m back from visiting Cusco and hiking to the ruins of Machu Picchu. I’m sure my trip will spill out into blog posts for a while, but there are parts I will never be able to explain. I have a hard time writing when I come home from far away places. I’m not usually brimming with inspiration as many would think. Some experiences can be so overwhelming that I need to simmer for a bit.
I’m easing into the laundry room, so I’ll start with some initial observations.
The hike to Machu Picchu is hard, there’s no question. It’s difficult physically and emotionally it’s draining and cleansing at the same time. There’s a focus that comes with that level of exertion and I will spend several months wondering if I really need most of the mental crap I dropped along the way.
Cusco is a great city filled with lots of churches over Inca temples (the Spanish were not very gracious invaders), women in brightly colored dresses willing to let you hold their lamb or goat for a fee, a Starbucks, and a cemetery that I’m not likely to forget.
Peruvians eat guinea pig on special occasions. Michael ate one while we were there. Apparently it tastes like a “less fatty chicken thigh.” I will take his word for it. Aside from the guinea pig, the food was fantastic. Every meal was yummy.
It is next to impossible to find the public bus terminal in Cusco. There are busses driving around with locals on them, but no one seems to know where to catch a public bus, at least they weren’t telling us. We eventually took a bus back from Pisac and it was worth the wait. Think crammed subway car, with a little bit of an old Disney ride, music and dim lights.
The public toilets are…well, a hole in the ground that requires a well executed wall squat, without the wall, and precise aiming ability. Once you are finished using the potty, someone in rubber boots splashes the whole stall with a bucket of water. It was one of the only things that really made me miss home.
The people of Peru are friendly and humble, proud and hard working. They are connected to the land and a culture outsiders tried to distroy, but it still lives on in their families and private ritual.
It was a gift to spend time in their country. I am tired, and I am changed for the better.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Buenas Noches.