|The next day we got on a bus to Cuzco. After driving in rubble for a couple of hours (which is really bumpy!) because the road was being redone,|
a stretch of tarmac brought us to the highest point of our journey at 4,150m. We got out to stretch our legs, take some photos of the mountains and grab some snacks. Some of the kids from the area had a small business going, dressed in traditional clothes holding lambs (it's spring in Peru) and llamas, charging 1 sol for photos. We obviously took up the opportunity for some photos with the animals, including a ridiculously fluffy llama that was totally unfussed and indifferent to the gang of tourists descending on him.
We got back on the bus and arrived in Cuzco in the late afternoon. Then we discovered our hotel was up a long load of stairs (Cuzco is built in a valley, although it has spread up the nearby hillsides) and a road too narrow for our bus. Much groaning and hauling later, we reached the hotel. We checked in and then went to meet our group. Our guide walked us to the main square, passing some still remaining Inca walls that are incorporated into today's buildings. The stones are all perfectly carved to slot into their neighbours and no cement or the like was ever used to hold them in place. Nobody knows how the Incas carved the stones so perfectly and it's hard to believe how they got them there from the quarries considering that although a very advanced people, the Inca never discovered the wheel.
Once in the wide, open square we were surrounded by beautiful buildings, from the Cathedral to the colonial arcades. The churches are all made from Inca stonework, torn down from their temples by the Spaniards and refashioned into Christian churches. As we were listening various people came over trying to sell dolls, cards, paintings and cigarettes (there are a million tourists to Cuzco every year so selling to tourists is always big business). At one point, a small girl no more than 6 years old came over lugging with her a large lamb, roughly equal in size to herself. She heaved it over, half carrying, half dragging it along, and presented herself to us totuing like a matron at a market, "Un photo, un sol!" interspersed with panting and huffing comically. The guide, trying to remain serious told her to leave but we were all to busy laughing at this funny little girl. She threw back her head as if to say, "Oh well!" and shuffled of still dropping her lamb, finally reaching some steps and swinging her whole body around to try and sit down whilst still holding it. Wass and I were still giggling whilst trying to listen to our guide.
After this we wandered around looking in the shops and looking for hiking boots for me to rent for the Inca Trail. Empty handed, we went bac to the hotel and got ready for dinner and drinks. We met the group to go a worldwide institution, the Irish Pub. This one was called Paddy's and was a good replica, although there is a Gusiness shortage in Peru so it was lacking on that front. We had a few drinks and then some people went back. We stayed on and then went to a bar where the owners dog was running around. He soon pottered over to his basket under the bar (no joke) and fell asleep in spite of the booming music. We had a couple more drinks and then headed to a club. It was small and packed with a few odd characters, although mostly wealthy Peruvians and tourists were about. There was a seriously pregnant white woman bumping and grinding, much to our repulsion, and a little Peruvian guy in leather trousers and a velvet halterneck waistcoat. He was up dancing on the bar giving it his all and our gay companion on the trip said he wanted to chat to this guy. We went over and started trying to talk to him (luckily he spoke some English) but it soon took a turn. We were talking about music and when I asked what kind of music he liked he replied, "My body moves to all music", followed by an overly friendly smile. OK, so this guy is a little bit weird. Then I try and subtley ask if he is of a homosexual disposition. He says "No!" offendedly and leans in. We move away very quickly. So this guy isn't gay (despite the outfit and booty-shaking dance), he's just Latino. More dancing, and feeling short of breath because of the altitude (and alcohol doesn't help) and then some free whisky. Time to move on. The next club is not as good but Wass and I have fun being overly flirtatious with Peruvian guests as they arrive at the door with zealous "hola"ing and looking them up and down. One poor girl trips down the stairs after looking back at Wass as he greets her! Big mistake on my part as Peruvian men are in no way reserved. We give up the silly game and go inside. After half an hour more, we call it a night and get in a taxi home.