The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Monday, October 06, 2008

Peaceful in Pisaq

A Military Parade in Plaza de Las Armas

Click on the links to see part one of our amazing trip to Pisaq.

Early Sunday morning my alarm went off. After hitting snooze and sleeping for another hour or so, I got up for our trip to Pisaq (Pronounced Pisach by the locals for some reason).
After davening, a rushed breakfast and a brief check of my e-mail, we were off . . .

On the way to the bus station we saw a few soldiers, thinking that they were an early deployment for Tuesday's transportation boycott (which is why we've pushed off our trip to Machu Picchu), we asked them to let us take our pictures with them -something most European soldiers think they are far too superior to do (I've seen Italian soldiers try to confiscate a camera).
When we turned onto Plaza de Las Armas, we saw a full swing military procession -complete with some official looking guy with his wife looking down at them -I'm not sure who he was, but the words Banana Republic came to mind.

video courtesy of CY Fried

After the parade ended, we took a taxi for 3 Soles (about a buck) to the bus station on Calle Poputi. As the bus slowly filled up (mostly locals, save for three English backpackers from Cambridge), a young girl came on selling sodas.

  "Bebidas" she said in something that hung between a whine and hawker's shout.

When she had finished waving her bottles of Inca Kola and water in front of everyone's face, her older sister came on loaded down the newspapers.

After she had finished, her mother came on with Jello and fruit cups . . . The upside of it all was that they only came on before we were about to leave.

A lady by the bus

As we slowly wound our way around the mountains, we were given a look into local life. People dried adobe bricks on the sides of the roads -many of the buildings were themselves adobe, children romped with puppies, and animals roamed everywhere -the bus had to stop and honk for a little black pig to run out of our way, and at one point we were stuck in traffic behind a bunch of cows (the Llamas and Alpacas tended to stay well clear of the roads)

Entering the mountains . . .

Snow capped peaks in the distance

The Sacred Valley

Pisaq as we approach -the market is the white patch in the upper left of center

When we got off the bus various locals began to offer us items from the windows -water bottle, cakes and the like- but soon we were off to the famed Pisaq market, which meets every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Dozens of tourists milled about booths filled with fruits, vegetables, Alpaca garments and other popular items. Within minutes we found our first Israeli . . .

 . . . Who gladly put on tefillin with us.

The flags of Cusco and Peru

I love the hats here

There were all types of tourists here, besides the ubiquitous Israelis -the wondering Jews clad in jeans and Alpaca sweaters- there were Americans with their elongated A's, prim Brits, and cool Italians, and a large group of Poles (We spoke to several of them) . . . Again I must wonder, why can I run, but not hide?

Moving amongst the stalls, we began to search out various items to buy. The rule in Pisaq is to keep moving and avoid eye contact with the local vendors at all costs. When we stopped in front of a stall for even a moment, we were immediately assaulted with cries of,
  "Amigo! Amigo! I sell to you for very good price!"
If, for whatever reason, I actually looked at an item, I was immediately offered a price -walk away, and the price was dropped by five Soles.
I don't like bargaining, even if I can bargain down the price to half the original, I still feel like I'm somehow getting ripped off. I ultimately decided on various chachkes -including a shotglass that I almost immediately lost and a great brown on brown Alpaca scarf.

The alley where we ate lunch

My scarf
-and the other guys

The Llama and me:

Before we left for the ruins (stay tuned to part two of this post!), we had a close encounter with an Alpaca (though it might have been a Llama) . . . We tried to get close to it, but since Llamas can spit, we got extremely nervous whenever its lips would pucker.

 . . . and from there we were off to the ruins.

Stay tuned for an amazing part two!

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Nemo said...

Yo, that flag don't mean Cuzco, at least not where I'm from.

Nemo said...

BTW, you might even be able to catch some skiing while you're down there ... Chile has excellent skiing from what I here ... if you can get down there.

Leora said...

Yes, another amazing post!
I vote alpaca, because this guy claims they are cute.

I love the photo of the Israeli with tefillin. He looks like he is enjoying every minute!

Beautiful scenery. Rather sad to see the older women just sitting around.

chaviva said...

Close Encounters of the Alpaca Kind. I love it!

The picture of the woman with the child on her back and child in front is so colorful, so absolutely breathtaking.

You should work for National Geographic.

Mottel said...

-Nemo: The flag to which you refer has only one blue on it -this one is darker, has two shades of blue, and is based on some Inca tradition. Other rainbow flags are the so called "peace flag" which starts with purple, and the flag of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast -which is surrounded by a field of white

-Leora: I also think it's an Alpaca, due to the large amounts of fur and the ears. As we tell the Israelis, putting on tefillin is part of the Peruvian Experience. It is rather sad to see the elderly sitting around . . . at least she wasn't in the rain.

-Chaviva: The women was actually posing -they do it for money (I paid this one). Thanks for the complement, if you have any connections to NG let me know . . .