First Impressions: Cusco

29 Feb

First impressions from Cusco, Peru. In one word:
Nancy: winded
Mike: rainy
Jerry: headache
Jeannie: alpaca

We arrived in Cusco yesterday morning and immediately felt the effects of going from sea level (Lima) to 11000 feet in an hour. That is, everyone except Jeannie who happens to be immune to the affects of high altitude. We slept and rested for most of the day and didn’t do much. We were also advised to drink lots of coca tea and to chew on the leaves to offset the high altitude effects.

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Our hostel, El Triunfo, provided us with tea. So soothing!

An hour’s flight from Lima, the city of Cusco is what we envisioned Lima to be (we will talk more about Lima in a new post). Cusco’s main square Plaza de Armas is the central point where all things converge: cobblestone streets, restaurants, souvenir shops, tourism outfitters, old-world churches, stray dogs, local citizenry, and an alpaca or two. It’s a great place to sit on the steps and take in the whole scene. A half hour walk into the hill brings beautiful lush vegetation and outstanding views of the city. The weather in March is best described as rainy. You can pretty much count on rain every day, although it comes in spurts throughout the day and night. We’ve found the best hiking weather is before noon.

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Plaza de Armas

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Cobblestone streets

Local kids up in the hill own some of these animals. The white llama is a random llama that came over to eat their greenery. The kid in the yellow actually threw rocks and did a flying karate jump-kick to the side of the llama to get it to move on somewhere else. He had textbook form on his kick — it looked like something out of a Bruce Lee movie. We would have captured it on camera, but we were too shocked and could only watch!

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10 Responses to “First Impressions: Cusco”

  1. Susan February 29, 2012 at 1:27 PM #

    Coca tea, awesome!! Since Jeannie is so sensitive, did it affect her sleep that night? As for the weather, I thought you were describing Seattle…

    have fun, everyone!

  2. Jeannie February 29, 2012 at 1:41 PM #

    I guess coca tea doesn’t affect me cus I slept fine! Don’t know why drinking tea multiple times at work daily never affected me but one cup of pudding milk tea does. Weird!

  3. Thu February 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM #

    Ohhh! this looks so amazing. So glad to see you guys are having such a great time. I can’t wait to see more pictures and hear about your experiences.

  4. KIM February 29, 2012 at 2:11 PM #

    Coca tea look good ,I want some,too.
    Have fun I will let the kids flow you guys every day….:o)

  5. Kirk February 29, 2012 at 4:34 PM #

    Oh the memories of a nice tall glass of coca tea!! I’ve never been so amped in my life. You probably know this, but taking a couple of aspirin a day will help thin your blood, therefore diminishing the effects of altitude sickness. Alpaca will spit at you if they feel threatened. They party hard in Peru! I went to a club and I was the tallest dude in there.. and the most sober. We’d see people stragglin out at 6am completely sloshed. I’m so jealous of your entire trip, and I say this as I’m sitting at my desk at work.. tears forming in my eyes! Dont drink the water. Bathing is overrated.

  6. Oscar February 29, 2012 at 7:36 PM #

    The town of Cusco reminds me of Clint Eastwood ‘s old spaghetti westerns in Mexico.

  7. Uncle Raymond February 29, 2012 at 8:06 PM #

    I thought it was Cuzco?

  8. Rosalyn March 1, 2012 at 10:16 AM #

    I have quite a lot of Peruvian wool and alpaca in my stash. Who knows, maybe some of it came from this particular animal that the kid is watching over. They have successfully exported their wool and their style. I think you will probably see women and men knitting and selling their popular chulo hats with the native motifs, earflaps and braided tassels.

  9. Jerry March 6, 2012 at 1:05 PM #

    Americans spell it Cuzco, Peruvians spell it Cusco, and Andean people pronounce it “Costco.”

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