As I'm travling back to the states...I finally have the opportunity to reflect, at least a little bit, on the experiences over the last 3 months.....
I think of Cusco....what if a city could talk? What would it say.... A city like Cusco would probably be sitting in the back of a dark smokey bar....order you a beer, a Cusqueña to be exact, and tell you to have a seat. It would tell you about humble beginnings as just another mud hut town in a Peruvian valley....the love affair with the Incas....when Cusco was bathed in gold, silver and the vibrant colors of a growing culture....in those days, Cusco was literally the center of the universe. Then came the Spanish adulterer.....in search of a sugar momma....who forcibly extorted the riches of the city and impovrished the culture with colonial imperialism, catholic guilt and greed....and so Cusco changed...no longer was it the center of anyone's universe or even the capital anymore...that distinction went to a new city along the coast a "city of kings" - Lima.
As Incan royalty gave way to Spanish monarchs and governors....and then finally to the new concept of "Peruvians".....Cusco saw the re-birth of a culture over the past 100 years that began with a Yalie on an adventure trip with a few friends...and so Machu Picchu, the unknown city, gave Cusco new life....
There is a mystery about Cusco...to walk it's streets is to live it's past.....to help it's people is to contribute to it's history......it's a vibrant dynamic cultural city with an energy in the air that seeps into your pores, permeates your flesh and gets into your bones.
Cusco is nothing like Lima....Lima "The City of Kings' is a story in contradictions....sometimes enchanting and in the same minute revolting.....it's a city full of multitudes of problems worsened by a culture of beauracracy competing with genuine efforts and genuine people giving it their best.....it's the only place in the world that I know of where you can get some of the tastiest skewered beef heart (anticuchos) around and some amazing sushi all on the same block ;)
Lima is a growing uncontrolled metropolis....where the stark differences between the rich and poor are clearly and blatantly defined....but it's also a city with potential....it's also the city that reflects the future of Peru....right now, both Lima and Peru are on the edge....it's a new century, a new president, and 100 years since Machu Picchu was unveiled to the world by an unlikely Yale Scholar.....2011 was a great time to be Peru, to see Lima, and to experience Cusco, the andian culture, and it's people.....
The only thing I know for sure....is that I'll be back ;)
if you took the time to check out my blog, thanks. I hope it gave a little bit of insight into the richness of Peru, it's culture and what an amazing cultural experience this has been.
As a final parting note, I wanted to share a few of my favorite moments in Peru....
|Machu Picchu pieces from Yale on display at the Government Palace|
|Mirador de los Condors|
|Machu Picchu with my love|
|Research in Ccatcca|
|Danza Emilia for Mother's Day|
|White Water Rafting the Urubamba|
|Exploring Cusco on a sunny afternoon - Whoop!|