first day in the city of Cusco
Cusco Travel Blog› entry 17 of 26 › view all entries
We arrived in Cusco late the previous night but we had reserved rooms earlier at the Niños Hotel. We slept in and ate breakfast out on the patio before heading out to explore the city. The top of our list was the church with the painting of the Lord’s Supper - eating guinea pig. We set off for the main plaza and the church.
The church wanted S/25 to enter and I really didn’t care that much about the painting so Amanda and I sat and people watched in the plaza while Steph and Sara took the church tour. It turns out sitting on a bench in the plaza is very stressful. I started keeping tracking of how many times someone asked me to buy something.
Amanda went off in search of coffee and two other gringas joined me for a few minutes. Suddenly the kids from the bench across the way ran over to get their picture taken with us. Me being white, while the other two were Asian and Hispanic looking.
Our next destination was the Qorikancha Site Museum (covered by Cusco ticket) so we walked on down the main drag until we came to the big grassy area.
After the museum we went up the hill to the church, which was not covered by the ticket. The church is also the site of the Qorikancha, or Temple of the Sun. We wandered through and explored the gardens and when I came back in I was shocked to find the place packed. It seems as though quite a few tour groups had joined us in that ten minutes. I didn’t like it. Too many people here. But I had to weave my way around everyone so I could see everything.
It was about 3 pm so we decided we should eat lunch. We walked to a place recommended by the guidebook, Pacha Papa, and it was an excellent choice! I got the alpaca stew and it was really tasty (a little too much alpaca for me, but I wanted to try it). The other girls all got Chicha Jora, a corn beer. I didn’t get any beer and I’m glad I didn’t - I didn’t like it very much.
We got a little turned around on the walk back and ended up going UP a bunch of extra steps/pedestrian streets but we did get a nice view of the city.
We set out around 6 pm and that seems to be when school gets out because the streets were filled with school children in their uniforms. We again walked down the main drag to the dance theater. When we got there we found a ton of people (lot of kids, too) in line. Here’s a good example of looking like a tourist - someone picked the four of us out of the crowd of Peruvian children (hmmm, I wonder how?) and asked us if we had the Cusco ticket, which we did. We were brought to the front of the line and whisked in. The theater was about half full so we took our seats with no idea what time the show started. We didn’t have to wait long before the place was full and the lights dimmed.
The dances were introduced in Spanish and English and were performed by couples in traditional costumes accompanied by a live band. I think there were three dances in each half of the show with the last two being the only ones I really remember. The second to the last one was some sort of bird mating dance and was very sexual. The last one was danced only by the men with some strange man in a mask. The men had whips and they danced together and then whipped their partner’s legs while the partner tried not to show any pain. Of course the whippings got harder and harder by the time they got to the end of the dance. You could hear the audience groan (with delight I think) at every loud snap of the whip.
After the dance show we walked back to a wine bar near our hotel called Los Perros.