Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mom Comes to Celebrate my Birthday and Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful and busy 10 days with my mother! It was so great to see her and show her how I live down here. I think it was a bit of a shock for her especially with the realization that my life down here is real and that I will not be coming home anytime soon to live; just to visit.

I will try and recap as best I can the events of our adventure together! Mom got in on a Tuesday afternoon and I was fortunate to be able to pick her up and take her home before I headed off to teach some classes. I re-worked my schedule a lot but there was no way I was going to be able to have all 10 days free with mom. It actually turned out for the best since mom had some trouble adjusting to the altitude. We went for a walking tour on Wednesday morning and in the afternoon when I had to work she passed out. Perfect!

On Thursday morning we ran some errands and found out that mom had a health insurance form she had to fill out by the next day. It was frustrating for her but a small bump in the road. She managed to get herself back to the internet place to scan everything and she even walked home. That is not an easy feat for the second day in a new city. She even did it in the dark. Way to go mom!

On Friday we took a tour of the Sacred Valley which was fun but tiring. I broke down and decided it was a good idea to buy the tourist tickets because otherwise we wouldn’t be able to see any of the ruins. We went to Pisac, Ollantaytambo and to the church in Chinchero which was quite a sight. In the evening, I sang with The Guardians at the Dragon’s Palate. It was so great to sing for my mom. She really enjoyed it almost as much as she enjoyed chatting with Elena, one of the owners of the restaurant who is a doll. ☺

Saturday was a full day of work even though it was my birthday. It didn’t matter though because after a full day of working, I was able to relax and enjoy a really nice Peña (music and dance show) dinner at Don Antonio’s with Marco and mom. It was a buffet and it was delicious! Marco gave me a rose and a really nice leather wallet. Mom gave me my violin fixed up as well as a backpack that I really really needed. Thank you mom! They sang Happy Birthday to me and presented me with a cake that I proceeded to start eating the garnish only to realize that is was for the buffet as well. Haha! It was a tasty cake! I didn’t have a crazy 5 cake, show in the night with all my students birthday like I did last year, but this was just as great if not better because I was with two of the most important people in my life! Mom also had a treat from one of the dancers dressed in the Saqras or devil costume.

On Sunday Marco played chaufer and took us to the four ruins outside of Cusco; Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay. They were fun and simple and it was a gorgeous day. In the afternoon we headed back to Marco’s house and mom met Pepe our wonderful dog! We also had chicken from El Tablon with chica to boot. It was delicious. Oh! I forgot, we had Olas Bravas for lunch which is a seafood restaurant. Yummy! It was a full day of food. As you can see below I thoroughly enjoyed Sacsayhuaman.

On Monday we got up super early and headed out to Ollantaytambo to catch the train to Aguas Calientes. A kitten made friends with me in the coffee shop and mom held her ground with the lady who attended us and wanted to charge us 30 soles for two drinks that were only 8 soles each. Way to go mom!

We boarded the train at 5:45 and left at 6:10. We arrived in Aguas Calientes around 8:45am and promptly took a bus up to the ruins. It was a gorgeous day and not too sunny until the end of our time up there which was actually quite nice. People get baked from the sun. We had the benefit of Marco’s military binoculars which allowed us to see what we think is a helicopter pad on another mountain, as well as people who climbed up to Huayna Picchu. I showed mom where Roger left the picture of Leah. She said it looked perfect. After about 3 and a half hours at Mapi we headed back down and chilled out until we had our 6:45 train back to Ollantaytambo. While getting some grub I was bombarded with a giant hug by my friend Julia who worked at Maximo and had to leave in September due to a nerve busting in her brain. Scary stuff but she is healthy and she was back with her family to do the touristy stuff. I was so happy to see her. I really bonded with her a lot in the last few months of her being here. It was a full day and exhausting. We got back to Cusco around 10:30pm and both mom and I crashed.

On Tuesday I had a lesson with my teacher Alison and in the afternoon mom and I made pumpkin pie. Oh how deliciously cinniminy her pies are. We made two; one for Marco and myself and one for Thanksgiving dinner.

On Wednesday we took a bus out to Coya to visit Alison and for me to have an unexpected pedagogy lesson. I was thinking we were going to Huchuy Cusco in Lamany but Alison had other plans. It was very interesting though and mom enjoyed it as well as the delicious lunch. We went to the Pisac market as well and shopped around for everything mom was looking for. With gifts in hand we made our way back to Cusco.

On Thursday we ran some errands and visited the popular art museum. I worked in the afternoon and evening and mom spent Thanksgiving with the wonderful people of the healing house. I felt bad leaving her because I had to work but she said it was really touching. A lot of people were very teary eyed especially since a close friend and guide name Miguel Jove had just died on the Choquequirao trek a few days before. My mom felt very blessed to be with such loving people. I am so glad! Thank you Niki and all the healing house people for hosting a great dinner. I scarfed down a huge plate later in the evening when mom came to drop it off at work. THANK YOU MOM! It was delicious and it was the first vegetarian Thanksgiving I have had. Not bad at all even though I do love me some turkey. Christmas eve....

That evening I went to Garabatos with Marco to celebrate Julia's despedida. It was super fun and she said she might be coming back in a month! PLEASE COME BACK JULIA! I MISS YOU! Seriously, it would be so much fun to have her back. The funny part of the night is that Marco forgot to pay. We think that Carlos might have paid for everything because no one cam running after us to make us pay. If that was the case, thank you Carlos. If not, too bad for you Garabatos. Haha!

On Friday we went to the Qoricancha or temple of the sun and enjoyed a final lunch at Jack’s Café. We had a quick goodbye in front of my house as I set mom off in a cab to airport. We didn’t have time to get too cry but I will admit I got a bit teary eyed as I watched her drive away. The great thing is that I just booked my tickets to come home in May so we will see each other very soon!

It was a wonderful 10 days and I am so glad and proud that my mom made such a great journey to Peru. I have a feeling she will be frequenting this country more often in the future. ;)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Belated Halloween!

Sorry I am so late about posting on Halloween. I took part in a Halloween Circus Show with the Clusterfunks similar to what we did in July and August except with a creepy fun Halloween theme! It took place at Groove Club and while the Saturday night performance didn’t have too many attendees, the actual Halloween show on Monday night was a hit and went over super well!

I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it all and it was a great way to spend Halloween weekend. I also got to play around with fun make-up and wear a hot dress from Hilo, a boutique owned by an Irish woman named Eibhlin. Definitely check out the photos on facebook!

I didn’t play as much violin in this show as I did in the last one but I did play a tango that was fun! I love working with all the people in the show and I really liked getting to hang out with Niki and Elizabeth more. Elizabeth is getting married in August in Easter Island and I am going to do everything I can to save up enough money to be able to go. What a great reason to go to Easter Island and Chile!

One thing I never knew about Halloween in Cusco is that it is INSANE in the plaza. It’s almost as crazy as New Year’s Eve but with a lot more children and no fireworks. Seriously, it’s packed! Instead of trick or treating door to door the kids and their parents, many with no idea of what cordial means, ask for candy from the surrounding businesses. Also, instead of trick or treat they yell “Halloween, Halloween!” and hold out their candy bags. I will say that the candy bags are super tiny and I didn’t see a single kid carrying around pillow case full of candy. It should also be said that the candy that is given out is not snickers or kit kats, but super cheap tiny hard candies and bubblegum for the most part. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups costs almost 6 soles here, which is over 2 dollars for two tasty treats. People aren’t going to spend crazy amounts of money on candy like they will in the States. Granted, snickers and Reese’s are cheaper in the States because they aren’t imported like they are in Peru.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Titicaca.....nope, it´s a lake in Bolivia

Well, here I am again in Copacabana Bolivia on a quick trip across the border to renew my Peru visa. I am staying in a very nice hotel called Hotel Paraiso and for 50 Bolivianos a night I get my own room with a private bathroom connected to a warm sunny terrace and cable TV. I also can have breakfast in the morning for 10 Bolivianos extra. The internet is a bit expensive for 10 Bolivianos an hour (4 soles an hour or a little over a dollar an hour). However, there is free wi-fi which means the next time I come to Copacabana I will definitely bring my computer. Why not?

I have noticed a few things this time that I didn´t the last time I was here. People love flying kites which is fun and pretty. There are more books here than I imagined. Almost every restaurant has a book exchange and there is a bookstore/outfitter called The Spitting Llama that has books for sale or you can exchange one for another a 50% or 2 of your books for one free one from them! Not bad! I was super tempted to buy a book on our societies obsession with the internet and relationships via internet but 75 bolivianos was a bit much and also I have quite a few books to get through before I buy any more. I brought two with me which will keep me more than entertained!

Fun story about last night. I went out at 8pm to get dinner. I stopped into Pueblo Viejo where I ate the last time I was here and it was pretty good. I ordered at 8:15pm and didn´t get my food until 10 minutes to 10pm. I complained to the waitress and told her that this was unacceptable. I should get a discount of some sort. She didn´t do anything and just apologized. I ate my food which was a bit cold and on the table I left her 5 bolivianos less than what would have been on the check. I feel justified since the meal were quinoa cakes and it costs 35 bolivianos which was way too expensive for what I was given.

Today has been pretty relaxed. The stress I was feeling about my audition video for the Suzuki scholarship for the classes I am going to take went away because Marco is an angel and got it sent off yesterday. I spent almost my entire day trying to upload it on Thursday and had no success. Thankfully, Andres (Pepe my dog to be´s dad) helped Marco out with free internet.

Speaking of Pepe, we are getting him for good tomorrow!! I am so excited. Zara isn´t leaving until the beginning of December but wants us to have him for good now so if we do have some problems she might still be able to help us. I am not worried. He is part of the fam now. He is also going to be with Marco when I get into Cusco tomorrow evening greeting me with his wagging butt and kisses (maybe Marco too..hahah!)

Life is for getting 6 months when I cross the border tomorrow!