We had originally planned to visit the community where we are introducing biochar on Monday (June 10) but that has been moved to Tuesday because they have a community council meeting. So we have another day to prepare for the community and, since this is really our first day in Cusco, we spent the day at the town Plaza de Armas at the center of the town. It is surrounded by two large churches and covered sidewalks with plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops with people also selling their wares in the crowds. When we arrived a parade was happening so watched for awhile (see photo). Beautiful costumes, dancing, music. And there was a judging station on the church steps. Reminded me a bit of drum corps.
We were (not) surprised to find a Starbucks, McDonalds and KFC, all on this square, although well camouflaged. I feel like I need to apologize for bringing expensive coffee, fast food and greasy chicken to the rest of the world.
We spent the afternoon buying souvenirs for gifts back home and really having a nice time together. We did get a taxi back to our lodging by evening. What a beautiful city. Lots of taxis and they drive the streets, including residential streets just occasionally tapping their horn to let people know they are there. I think the majority of people may not own cars because traffic is really not that awful even though the streets, especially in the old part of the city, are very narrow.
The evenings do get cold at 11,500 feet altitude and since the houses are not heated, I’m not sure what people do in the evening but sit around bundled up. That’s sort of what we did. We have a very nice place to stay that is very cheap and within a block of Andes Libres, our partner in Cusco. We have two bedrooms, kitchen, living room and entry way and two bathrooms and we share the whole thing with Nila Salas, the owner. She is extremely nice, fixing nice breakfasts for us and she even brought me special Peru herb tea when I wasn’t feeling well. But, it is cold: 35-65 temperature range. Since the house is not heated, of course the bathroom is not heated and waking up and taking a hot shower in a cold room can be exciting. After the shower when I open the shower curtain, steam rolls out and I can see my breath. It must be in the 50s in the bathroom. It wakes you up! Being from hot Arizona, I can tell that I can’t take cold like I used to.