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Happy Julio July 3, 2011

Posted by Amisha Kadiwar in Travel Log.
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Happy July! Yesterday was the first day of our new class with Dr. Galloway. We delved into an overview of Peru and its history, and then Doctora each of us why we here. I’ll be honest, my first few days in Cuzco, I wondered if I would enjoy six weeks in my new home – the simple life: no car, no heat, no internet. So, why am I here? My main reason was to be surrounded by Spanish and improve my language skills. It’s a great feeling to put to use your classroom Spanish and see that you can communicate with ease. However, I have been surrounded by much more than just Spanish. In just two weeks, I have seen more displays of tradition and culture by the Cuzqueñan people than I have ever seen anywhere else. I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience day to day life in a South American country and see Peru in a more real way than the average “Machu Picchu” tourist.

Today was an excursion to Moray and the town of Urubamba. On the ride up the mountain (we pretty much head up somewhere deep into the mountains every time we visit any Incan site), the rain started up again. Three days of rain in the dry season is such a rare site! We stopped to visit a ceramics artist while we waited for the weather to subside. Through his hand-made pottery, the artist strived to preserve the Incan form of art. He explained how he brings the earth from the mountain to make his own clay and demonstrated some pottery-shaping and design-drawing for us. On average, his works take months from to complete with some of his larger pieces requiring much more attention. His craftsmanship was incredible, and none of us could leave without a piece of his work. Finally, the rain subsided enough for us to explore the site of Moray. In earlier times, it served as an experimentation grounds for Inca agriculture. The landscapes were simply breathtaking. In fact, they were literally breath taking haha.. The altitude and slippery mud made climbing up and down the site quite a feat. We were so high that we were walking through clouds! After Moray, we visited some other traditional Incan artisans at a weaving hut.  The ladies made thread from sheep and alpaca wool, created their own dyes, and worked for endless hours to create intricate works of art. We watched some demonstrations and then browsed their store. After a day of walking through the rain, hardly anyone could feel their toes, and we rushed to buy some plush alpaca slippers. As we left the weaving hut and took to the bus to warm our feet, we were stopped by the view that had appeared between the clouds. We could now see that the taller mountains all around us were covered in snow! It’s so crazy.. some days we are sweating in the Plaza and other days we are shivering in the hills. Peru is truly a fusion of opposites: hot and cold, old and new.

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