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March 8th 2015
Published: March 9th 2015
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Tres AmigosTres AmigosTres Amigos

Brian, Zach, and Travis getting ready to fly out of O'Hare.
Hello again TravelBlog readers! It's been over a year since my last entry in London and quite a bit has changed since then. I'm a first year medical student at Southern Illinois University, I have the world's most adorable dog (see Facebook pictures for evidence), and I'm currently in Peru with two of my medical school classmates, Zach and Travis, on spring break!

We left Chicago O'Hare early Saturday afternoon and the excitement started before we even checked our bags. Those of you familiar with the "Nazarene Network" know that is difficult to go anywhere in this world without running into Nazarenes that you know. It just so happened that we were sharing our first flight to El Salvador with a team from Olivet Nazarene University that is on a mission trip to Honduras. I had taught two of these Olivet students in biology labs and so we three got a picture just to prove that this happened.
The flights were uneventful. Thanks to daylight savings, we didn't have to change our watches at all. We flew from Chicago to El Salvador to Lima, Peru, where we waited for 7 hours in the airport. The final short flight took us
Nazarene NetworkNazarene NetworkNazarene Network

Me with Bekah and Kristen, two of the Olivet students from an MIA team with whom we shared the same first flight.
inland to Cusco, Peru. We got a cheap taxi from the airport to our hostel and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the beautiful city and putting a hard-won Spanish minor to work.
Cusco is located about 11,500 ft above sea level, meaning that walking up a steep road leaves me winded. Some of the architecture goes back to the days of the Incan empire - almost 500 years ago. Clay tiles adorn beautiful Spanish roofs all across the skyline. We couldn't have asked for better weather - high 60s with strong sun. Feral dogs roam the streets and ladies in brightly colored clothing relentlessly pitch their wares. Zach and I couldn't resist buying alpaca wool sweaters for just 35 nueva soles (less than $12 USD).
The most impressive sight Of the day was the Incan-temple-turned-Catholic-church or Qorikanchka. It offered a great view of the city and the surrounding mountains.
One of the greatest things so far is how crazy cheap food is. It's possible to eat an entire meal for $1 USD. We even splurged tonight and went to a fancy steakhouse, where I got three 4 oz. steaks (alpaca, lamb, and beef) and two sides for about $20 USD. The wonderful food and the fact that I've only slept maybe 4 hours since Friday night means I'm getting ready to go to bed in just a short while. Tomorrow, if everything goes according to plan, we will behold the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu!
Sorry this is a short entry, but it's been a long day. More details to follow!


Additional photos below
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LlamitaLlamita
Llamita

Baby llama in front of a church in Cusco.
Qorikanchka TempleQorikanchka Temple
Qorikanchka Temple

The most important temple in the Incan Empire. When the Spanish invaded, they converted it to a Catholic church.
Steaks, Potatoes, and SaladSteaks, Potatoes, and Salad
Steaks, Potatoes, and Salad

Alpaca steak, at right.
CuscoCusco
Cusco

The view of Cusco and the mountains from our hostel room.
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Cusco

Churches surrounding a plaza in Cusco.
Cusco en la nocheCusco en la noche
Cusco en la noche

Cusco at night.


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