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Cusco Travel Blog› entry 20 of 177 › view all entries
After our adventures of last night, today was pretty calm really. In the morning, all the shops were closed and there were very few people about, not even the shoe shine boys or painting sellers (michelangelo, Picasso and Bon Jovi were taking the day off!). We could hear quite a bit of shouting, drum banging and fire cracker noises from the Plaza, so we just stayed in the hotel until about lunchtime, when things seemed to calm down a bit. There were lots of police around the Cathedral, and plenty of normal people wandering around by then, so things felt back to normal. Had lunch at Mama Oli´s cafe on Plaza Nazarena, which was delicious and cheap. Mama Oli herself appeared and at one stage got a bit nervous of the shouting and sirens, and locked us in for a bit! Late afternoon we walked down to the post office to send some souvenirs home to Australia (cost about A$60 to post back stuff worth half that, not cheap here!). Obviously Lan Peru is not popular here, because their`s was the only broken shopfront in the whole of the Avenida. Had dinner around the corner at a local hamburger joint, and the wife of the owner explained to us about the strike. Apparently the peruvian government is preparing to sell off cultural sites like Machu Picchu and Saksayhuaman to international interests so that they can build hotels etc., many of which will be built over unexcavated areas. The locals, of course, are extremely concerned about the loss of their cultural heritage. Had a bit more protest excitement this evening, so for the second time in a day, we were locked into a restaurant! The whole family worked in this restaurant (mum, dad, sons, grandparents). They also had a little baby who slept in her pram or was nursed by visitors, and grandpa (who we reckon was about 90) had the job of folding napkins - he was very good at this, but regularly took a siesta to recover from the strain! Good times!
When we got back to our hotel, our guide (who had gone out with one of our group to a dentist) had arrived back in a bit of a state. He had been mugged while collecting something for Gap. They´d grabbed his bag, which because it was hooked over his arm and he was carrying boxes, didn´t come off easily. They then slashed his arm with a razor blade so he would drop his things and they cold get the bag. The cut is quite deep, so hope it heals OK. Jose said it had nothing to do with the strike, he was in a bad area and should have been more aware. Makes you much more attentive, though, to where you are and who´s around.