After so many hours of travel (and planning), our group of three arrived in Pisac, a small Andean town in Peru’s Sacred Valley, outside of Cuzco. The dusty landscape, sprinkled with sparse gray-green vegetation; the half-finished houses and their gap-toothed smiles of ubiquitous local red brick; fabrics so vibrant their colors shout for you to take notice and realize it is the short, sturdy women in bowler hats whose bright weavings carry whimpering child and pounds of produce alike.
Yes, I am back among Andean culture (or Quechuan, more specifically), which I haven’t seen much of in the four years since I was in Bolivia.
Despite being severely sleep-deprived, I’ve mostly been able to string together enough coherent Spanish to get us the essentials our first day in Peru. Most importantly, coordinating our 45 minute taxi ride from the Cuzco airport to Pisac when our hotel failed to send the promised taxi. Attitudes are very relaxed in general and you definitely have to ask several times if you really want something (bottle of water, the check, taxis apparently). But cows in the middle of the road come even when you didn’t order one, as we and our eventual taxi driver discovered, coming around a bend in the anciently terraced hillsides.
And if you so much as glance at anything in the well-known (but rather touristy) artisan’s market in Pisac’s plaza, you will get all the attention you didn’t know you needed. But I’m pretty sure some wee ones I know didn’t know they needed the llama hats they’re going to get.
Tomorrow we venture back to Cuzco to tour colonial churches, Incan art museums, and potentially ogle the stars of the Southern Hemisphere at a planetarium. Tonight, we’re pretending it’s not 8:00 p.m. as we snuggle in while children, dogs, flute players, and drummers sing us an uncommon lullaby. Bienvenidas a Peru.