Apparently, my grasp of the Spanish language still needs some work. My translation skills aren´t quite what I´d like them to be. It´s absolutely no reflection on mis professoras - they are some of the most patient people in the entire world! Today was my last class - very sad. Siri and I bought our teachers and Deena, the woman who´s house we´re staying at - flowers for mother´s day. They were all so happy! It was great to treat them and also fun to head into the Mercado Juancha again - less touristy than Mercado San Pedro. Of course, we had tamales, but they weren´t quite as good as the ones in front of the supermercado just off of Plaza de Armas. Siri and I just went there again - the woman recognizes me now. :-)
I´d forgotten how taxing and tiring it can be to travel and live in another country. I´m always reminded that errands take 2 - 3 times what I think they should. Best just to keep that in mind and smile and through in the most appropriate Spanish phrases when I can. After running around, we´ve gotten cash, secured hotel rooms in Cuzco for our remaining nights here between treks, purchased more water, and of course, enjoyed some tamales - who knows if anyone will be selling them on the trail so best to enjoy them now while I can.
Some of the things that I´m reminded not to take for granted when I return...regular trash pick up, catalytic converters, short lines at the bank, good water pressure fo rshowering and flushing the toilet, having hot water, having my own washer and dryer, the scarcity of dogs roaming the street, being able to brush my teeth with tap water, eating ice cream, and not needing to worry about saving and giving out change (everybody wants change and small bills and coins, but no one wants to give change - frustrating, but it just takes some practice)...I´m not complaining - there are certain comforts I am happy to give up while traveling, even for long periods of time. It just takes a few days to adjust and I´m more appreciative of those comforts when I return.
I´m really going to miss Deena - she has treated Siri and I and the other estudiantes de Fair Play who have been fortunate enough to stay with her like her children. The meals are delicious and she puts up with our broken Spanglish. but we communicate as best as we can and smile and laugh.
Tomorrow we start the Inca Trail. We had our first taste of ruins yesterday when Siri and I visited Saksaywaman (pronounced like sexy woman) with our teachers in the morning. There were only a few tourist buses there so it was pretty tranquilo. It was nice for us, but Peru is still suffering because the tourist numbers have been down since the floods. Along the trek, we´ll be able to see how high the waters got - we´ve been told it´s pretty incredible. It´s amazing to think how long the stones from all of the ruins have been standing. no cement. and they´ve survived numerous tremblors (earthquakes) while other buildings have collapsed. They´re the closest ruins to Cuzco, but not the most impressive. What lies ahead should be amazing! I´m doing an anti-rain dance and am hoping I´ve adjusted to the altitude well enough this week so get through it OK.
Hope all is well in Atlanta or wherever you´re reading this from!!! Adios!!!