Archive > October 2010

El Mercado

Fruit Vendor

From a Western point of view, it’s a little strange finding that there are very few supermarkets in Peru. Actually as far as I can tell, there is not a single one in Cusco. None. That means no sliced bread, no Captain Crunch for breakfast, no packaged meats, no TV dinners… Basically none of the lovely western pre-packaged foods, junk food, and comfort items we depend on. Instead, there are little corner shops everywhere filled with fruits and vegetables, crusty bread, and pasta (just the basics), and most people do their day-to-day shopping at whichever is closest to his door. Any real shopping however, is done at the local mercado– Here you can find literally anything you might think you need; From souvenirs to toilet paper, toothbrushes to tea, a massive assortment of fruits and vegetables, fresh milk, eggs, and cheeses, herbs of all kinds (including Ayahuasca; brewed or not, San Pedro, Yopo, and Coca), dry grains by the kilo, meats (chopped, skinned, or even still alive), bread, alpaca wool, and whatever else you can possibly think of- you can probably find it there. If by chance you come up with something that isn’t on the shelves of one of the literally hundreds of vendors, just wave a few soles around and I bet within a few hours an industrious merchant will find it for you.

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Snapshots from Cusco

Lena catches a 'Bresson Moment', San Blas, Cusco

We have actually been pretty busy since our arrival here in Cusco (finding an apartment, working at school, two days sick…), and really haven’t had much time for the normal tourist activities… We have had a little bit of time to snap a few quick photos on our way from here to there though. At first glance, Cusco is a beautiful town filled with colonial churches, Inca walls, wonderful markets, street vendors, and beautiful plazas. I can’t wait to have some time to take the camera out for some real work- I think there are truly a lot of photographic possibilities to explore; especially as the Spanish (hopefully) improves and interactions become more intimate. Here’s a quick section of a few of my favorite photos from our first few days here… Lena’s Bresson-esque shot is my favorite.

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Seen on the Streets of Cusco

Role Reversal

I thought this was a very appropriate and well executed piece… Even being a camera-toting gringo myself, I really loved it and have thought about it ever since every time I pull out my camera. I think that’s pretty effective street art; and just what street art should be.

Seen on the streets of San Blas, Cusco.

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Casa de Mama

Inconspicuous Entrance from the Street

A small room in the sky. The entire upper half of the walls is a facade of windows. We are above the whole city and have breathtaking views over the old town. At night we can see from the bed the glittering city below. All the little houses and streets, winding up the dark mountains, lit up in orange light. And in the morning we wake early with the sun. It's always summer in our little room in the sky, because the whole day the sun shines in. It keeps the room warm, so with this stored heat of the day it is a bit easier, to get by on still very cold Andean nights. A ceiling made of bamboo and elaborate decorations from plants brighten up the little room.

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First Days in Lima

Well, I admit this blog thing hasn’t been going so well lately… We have been far behind posting since we began. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, we now have to skip all of the United States roadtrip (perhaps to reappear at a later date, since there are a lot of stores to tell about that!) and try to write about some more recent endevors…

Fast forward two months…

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Plaza de Armas at Night

Lima, Peru.

After months of planning and anxious anticipation, we finally arrived in Lima, red-eyed and tired from 18 hours of travel. The first task was to find a cab to take us to Miraflores in the south of the city, where two couchsurfers were hopefully waiting for us. Gringos fresh off the plane (and even worse, speaking almost no Spanish) made us prime targets for all kinds of scams, robberies, and general taking advantage of. We grabbed some cash from the ATM and headed outside to a mob of cabbies yelling and trying to bid for our patronage. I tried haggling a bit with a few of them, but we were so tired there wasn’t too much we could do- If we had another half hour to spare, we might have saved a few soles, but as it was, we were pretty happy just to find a bed that night…

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