Today I woke up with a mild headache – probably due to the altitude. I woke up because there was music, church bells and shooting outside around 6 am. The locals apparently wake up early to celebrate Virgin Carmen. I forced myself in the shower even though I had to put on many layers of clothes to keep myself warm enough to go to the bathroom. Luckily the water was not too cold. The sky was very clear, and the view of the mountains stunning! According to the sign on the kitchen door, breakfast would be at 8-8.30, but she only started cooking at 8.
While I waited for the food, the sun gained power. I started chatting with a girl from the US and a man from Canada. That was how I learned that Pisac is the capital of “the medicine” San Pedro or wachuma. The medicine is a drug as strong as LSD that you drink in Sharman ceremonies. It is legal because it is tradition. It would be cool to observe a ceremony, but I have no intention of drinking that kind of stuff. For breakfast I got an omelet with tomatoes and basil, bread, fruits, pineapple juice, coffee, and coca mate. The three of us ate at the roof patio while we enjoyed the view of the mountains and the locals separated maize cornels from the cobs in the field below us. The other girl had learned that the corn thing was a once a year thing that only lasts about 4 days.
After breakfast I walked to the entrance of the archeological site of the Pisac Ruins. My hearted pumped fast just by going there, so I figured it was better to move slowly. When I got to the entrance, I was sent back to the hotel for a copy of my passport and my student ID. It was annoying at the moment, but then I got to find my cap and exchange the many shirts I had brought with a T-shirt because it was getting really hot. Back at the entrance I paid 70 pen (non students pay 130. The tickets can be used for various sites in the sacred valley). I started the hike at 10.30 and was back at 14.15, but I took my time to enjoy the views. I am sure I can feel the hike in my legs tomorrow, because they were shaking when I got down. I will, however, highly recommend that you hike all the way forth and back rather than taking the bus. The part of the site closest to Pisac was the less crowded. The hike was amazing. I have seen views of nature too beautiful to be captured in words or photos. It is amazing how the Incas were able to carry the stones all the way up there, place them so preciously on top of each other to create houses, and that they made water systems!!! The site is very big. Ruins and terraces keeps popping up on every corner. I chose an alternative way back. From the part of the site which is closest to the bus stop there are signs towards Pisac, and I just followed them. I did not meet as much as one other person on my way back! It was just me, nature and silence I also got to see what looked like caves on the side of a mountain – I later learned they were thombs. The Pisac Ruins are pre inca work. It is believed they are the remains of a time when pisac was a regional capital.
Back in town, I grabbed an empanada with spinach and cheese for 4 pen, and a glass of chichi molada (a drink made out of black corn that taste like beet juice). Shortly afterwards the plaza del armas was filled with people, and a procession in honor of the Virgin Carman came though. It was incredible to watch – a true example of syncretism. The Virgin came out of the church, but in the procession some of the dancers were wearing feathers or playing pan pipe, others were imitating the Spanish conquistadores by carrying beers and wearing big noses for the men and the women wore short sexy skirts. The big nose figures remind me of el Güegüense in Nicaraguan folk tradition.
Tonight when I was sitting on a chair by the plaza drinking ponche de habas (Limabean punch), a sweet but warm drink made in big pots, I was offered to buy causa by a German girl who worked for a restaurant. Causa is a typical Peruvian dish made of mashed potatoes with vegetables. A man, he might have been in his 40s, came up to us and talked a mix of Quechua and Spanish. The German girl took off, and the Peruvian man called his friend over. They offered me beer and started telling me a lot about life in Peru. Due to the language mic, I find them hard to understand. They were both artist and school teachers. Especially one of them was very mad at the president, and said he wanted to make a revolution. He told me that the Peruvian president sell the country’s resources, whereas he would prefer a president like Evo Morales. The Peruvian president gives the country to foreigners, whereby the situation is similar to colonization. Peru could be rich if the natural resources were used right, he told me. Instead people are poor and the education is bad. As a teacher he earns 1000 pen a month and that is why they also work as artists. During the conversation they offered me more warm ponche. They told me that the festivals like this are important, because they preserve the nationalism and folk culture. At the same time they told me that without tourists they would have no money at all, for who would then buy their art work. I got several marriage proposals, and offered free guided tours to Machu Pichu but it was mostly just said for fun. When I told them they were too old for me, one of them suggested his 15 year old son. They also told me that when I get to Machu Pichu I have to touch the ground, because the earth there makes you powerful though its energies.
Day 3 in pisac