Friday, June 22, 2012

Peru/Brazil/Argentina Day 4: Pisac site and market

May 6, 2012
Peru Day 4: Pisac site and market

5:30am... up and "at them"!!! Ugh... :)

Actually, it was TOTALLY fine. We are practicing, getting ready for the early-to-bed, early-to-rise vibe we're gonna be rockin' on the Inca Trail so this was good. Going to bed at 9:30pm the night before means you can get up at absurd early morning times and it actually works! Fancy that. :)

We got brekkie in the hostel again which roccccked and then headed to the front door area waiting for a cab. A cab pulled up... and kinda signaled to us... and the guy at the front desk of the hostel was chatting on some walkie-talkie, so we figured it was ours. We had next to no Spanish so we tried to ask if he was "our" cab (the one the hostel had arranged for us) and it wasn't really working out :) Bah, I really should have learned more Spanish before this trip. Oh well, we shrugged it off and took off on an epic day! (As it turns out, this was NOT actually the cab we were supposed to take, but our driver, Jorge, was super awesome and very helpful anyway!).

On the way out of Cusco
Excited for the day
Along the way Jorge noticed we were taking a bazillion photos out the window so he stopped a few times for us to get out and take better pictures of the GORGEOUS Sacred Valley. There was some light mist on the ground and hillsides and it was just glorious. (Note: these photos I took in RAW as well, so once I'm done posting the entire trip blog, I'll edit these ones in Lightroom and re-post a few of the best ones).

Misty Sacred Valley
Cool terraces on the way to Pisac
Sacred Valley
Awesome clouds
Cool little villages and lots of open spaces

After an hour or so we arrived at the Pisac ruins. There were some very beautiful terraces there as well as some thatched roof homes that were built up to look like they would have looked in the past. It was very cool. We took a nice long walk for a few hours, eventually splitting off and wandering our own directions. Frank and the others found some cool cave thing, and Jess and I wandered around a different hill. At one point I sat down for a little reflection time and that was a nice quiet moment, chilling out and looking across the way at some farmers who were carrying huge bales of hay on their backs. What an awesome place to hang out.

At Pisac ruins
Awesome day for a hike!
More pics of the Pisac site
Having fun!
Sunny grass tips
Frank walking on some ledgy thing
I watched as these guys across the hill carried these huge bales of hay
Awesome place to hike!
After our nice long hikes, we all met up and walked down the terraces to meet our driver. He then took us to the Pisac market and dropped us off there. I was planning to buy a cool shoulder bag as well as maybe some gifts, and just as we walked in I saw a really cool Yellow bag, and I figured... that's probably the one I am gonna end up getting! Pretttty sure I'm gonna want that one still after seeing 1000 other ones :) (I did actually end up getting something very similar to that one).

A soft dog at the Pisac market
Chicha Morada!!!!!! Purple Corn!!!
We wandered the market, happening upon some cute and funny animals as well as some interesting trinkets, woven rugs, bags, socks, etc. Not too much struck my interest except for the bag, which I was super psyched about. After looking at lots I ended up getting a really cool yellow/orange one. I also got some Alpaca wool socks for Mom, they are crazy coloured and she will like them!!

After looking at clothing and souvenirs for a while, Kev and I went off to the fruit market section. I got a think called a Peppino, which looked a bit like a small melon. I also got some Passionfruit (she called them "Grenadilla", same as South Africa!) - this is not actually the Maracuya, which is the fruit I'm still searching for :) Kev and I went into a nice looking shop to get out of the sun for a bit, and I got a Maracuya juice there which ROCKED.

Pisac market (the fruit section)
Lots of interesting people in cool clothes here
Those mangos looked epic. I bought some passion fruits (grenadillas)
Loved this print but there was no easy way to get it home
Juice and the fruit I bought
Awesome bag I got
Socks for Mom!
We wandered some more and found a shop that made large woven rugs. The guy working there was a fascinating fellow, he had a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and then took off to drive a Motorcycle through Canada and the U.S.A. Then, as he so elegantly put it, he said, "F-it! I'm moving to Peru!" and that was that. :) I think he said he was originally from Peru (or perhaps Ecuador). The guy was very interesting and incredibly world-traveled, it was cool to meet someone like that randomly at a market in Peru! He gave us a bunch of advice about place to see in Brazil and Argentina too and was very knowledgeable. It seemed like he had a million stories and crazy things he'd experienced, I just sortof wanted to sit down on a chair and listen for a while! And well, we sortof did that. He sold hot-off-the-presses empanadas at the back of the shop (presumably, given his knowledge of Economics, he probably suspected he'd often have some cheap customers who were just there to look at the artwork and chill out and chat with him so he may as well offer another easy-to-access service as well!) They were right out of the wood-fired oven and just amazing.

This guy was making rugs with this loom
Kev and I found Frank, Jess and Christy and headed back to another place in the market for MORE empanadas and also some Chica Morada (I LOVE that stuff!!!)

Empenadas, mmm
Cute cat at the market
My new buddy
Massive corn with huge kernels
Sweet shoulder bags, Jess and Christy both got one
Awesome cat
We continued walking the market together and got a choclo, a GIANT corn-on-the-cob with massive kernels, it was insane. Then we booked a cab back home via 2 more Inca sites. We walked a little bit and saw some other smaller cool ruins. Then we headed back to Cusco, it was nice and quick from the last site. Kev and I went back to our room and started chatting about what we were going to pack for tomorrow (the start of our Inca Trail trip!!)... and then I realized that my friend Alicia was arriving TODAY!! I chilled out for a bit writing the journal and stuff, and not 2 minutes later, who is it at the door but Alicia with Kev! Amazing.

Facetime with Jutan Clan at the hostel
After a quick Facetime with Jutan Clan, we headed off back to that amazing Los Toldos Chicken place so we could have it again and also show it off to Alicia cause wow that place rocked. It was super surprising to see Alicia and so nice, and also just great to have her meet up with us for a bazillion reasons, once of which is that she basically speaks Spanish like a local! She is basically fluent which is insanely awesome and has already made our lives so much easier :) Very impressive work on your Spanish prep, Alicia!

Dinner was friggin' epiiiic. I got Chicha Morada AGAIN, my new favourite drink. The salad bar at Los Toldos Chicken was fantastic again and we tried everything. After dinner we did some wandering and went back to that cake place we went to on the first night. Frank got the "Lengua de Suegra" which is a really funny and weird name for a dessert, it means "Mother-in-Law's Tongue", so there must be some hilarious cultural reference I am missing there. It's sweet though! So you would think if they are making a joke about Mother-in-Law's, that it would be a sour dessert instead! Anyway, it rocked, and Alicia bought us an alfajore cookie to share the next morning on the way to our hike. Very thoughtful... and man that cookie was TASTY. That rocked.

Back we went to the hostel and I did a FULL and ENTIRE re-pack of my backpack. My mantra for the evening? "Minimize, Minimize, Minimize!" We had intentionally brought the expandable duffel bags for this exact situation - so we could easily dump as much stuff as possible into the duffel and leave it at the hostel during our hike.

Packing for the Inca Trail: 1 word... MINIMIZE!!!!
I really reaaaaaaaaaaally narrowed down what I needed. I took only 1 pair of pants! Just brought only what was absolutely required since I'd be schlepping all of this stuff up and down the Inca Trail for 4 days. I had read somewhere that people didn't recommend a Camelback/Nalgene water bladder for such a long hike but I love the convenience of it. So I put my Nalgene bladder into the bag as well and filled it up with 2.5 L water. With the water and my sleeping bag, I figure it's about 15 lbs or so (it turned out to be more like 22 lbs, still good). I was very proud of myself for actually planning to take only what I really needed, ok... plus some extra camera stuff like a zoom lens. The hostel was so organized and awesome, and said we could just leave everything there at the hostel that we didn't want to take on the trek.

After all that packing I was pretty tired, so I just sent off a couple of emails and then headed to sleep early. Another awesome day!

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