Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas! (and a belated Happy Hanukkah as well!)
Here in Peru the real party was last night, so we spent our X-Mas Eve wandering a hectic packed market set up in the Plaza de Armas, escaping the rain in restaurants, and generally passing time until the clock struck twelve.
Right at midnight the entire city/valley was lit up with fireworks, being lit en masse on every street corner. Thousands of explosions, some small and noisy others enormous and colorful, kept the celebration going for a solid 45 minutes: definitely the best unorganized fireworks display we’ve ever seen.
So we’re in Cusco, enjoying the holidays, though on Monday our search for teaching jobs, as well as more permanent housing (hoping for a furnished 2-bedroom apartment, we’ll see…), begins in earnest. We’re not completely in love with Cusco quite yet, but we’re assuming it will keep growing on us the longer we stay here. But we’ve enjoyed it for the two days we’ve been here so far, and once we’ve completely adjusted to the altitude – we’re still battling headaches with coca tea – we’ll be ready for further local exploration. While the destination is great, it’s all about the journey, right? Hmmmm:
Perhaps against logical judgment, though certainly the wisest financial choice for us, we decided to bus it all the way from Trujillo to Cusco via Lima. To put it in American terms, that’s basically going from California to Colorado, but through the mountains. So it ended up to be about 33 hours between the two buses, though thankfully with a four hour break in the middle for some much needed stretching and lunch. The ride from Trujillo was pretty reasonable, but much of the way through the mountains to get to Cusco was filled with nausea-inducing turns. But we made it, and are hopefully almost done getting used to the altitude (3300 meters).
We had a fantastic Navidad dinner last night, a bit of a splurge (at $11 each including wine), but the food was amazing and included free refills of mashed sweet potatoes, curry rice, applesauce, and pasta salad, along with a heaping pile of well-cooked turkey. The holidays are arguably the worst time to be a traveler, since we’re so far from our families and friends, but we’re making due just fine!
Have no fear, we’re now celebrating in style, thanks to our affordable and warm new alpaca gear:
PS – As promised, here are a few photos from Huaca de la Luna in Trujillo: