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Published: December 5th 2007
Back to good old lung crushing Cusco for another tour, we started our 200km tour in the ancient and historical town of Pisaq, with 30 minutes to dart around this time forgotten market, viewing all the tourist tat, alpaca this and that knitwear, carved pipes, local custom rag dolls and a regular assortment of decorative collectors thimbles. I had a look inside a hidden kooky church that had small boys and grown men in strange costume clothing that gave similar ease to the eye as our English Beef Eaters attire, these sacred men hung about the church entrance for our photographic benefit, I was personally thankful to them and showed my appreciation with a generous monetary donation of £1.00. Certain cheap others took loads of snaps then raced off without paying a bean, but were noticeably cursed for all to see by the holy men in glam frocks because they didn’t honourably cough up at all into the donation box.
It was a school morning, the reason the kids are not at school is because the families simply can’t afford such luxuries, so these kids earn loose change to support their families by having a photo taken by us, and
this is a great exchange. I always carry small change for this very valid reason. One three-year-old boy peaked his head into the bus and asked for a photo, the hoard of affluent housewives voiced 'how cute' but then said no shooing him away because the engine was revving.
We visited an Inca ceramics studio and the artist told us in great detail how he finds the clay in the mountains and not by rivers, how he grinds it down to a very fine powder which he showed us a sample that resembled talc. He builds the fine powder up again into a solid clay substance. His pots are stronger than any other clay material in the world as he moulds a base first then builds his Inca creation on top, instead of slamming clay on a wheel and building the base and sides all at once, which I now understand isn’t so strong. He demonstrated its strength by bashing a cup against a sharp nail then against the wall and it didn’t crack nor break at all. When he finished talking he asked us for any questions, the partially left brained Barbie-housewife from our tour bus piped
up with ‘I have two questions, “how do you get your clay? And do these trinkets break easily?” Geeez!
Sacsayhuaman (sexy woman) is a massive crowd puller and probably named thousands of years ago by non-English speaking comedians. Some say it took 20,000 men to build this site over 70 years. Some say no one knows who built it or how they managed to get these Flintstone looking boulders up so high above Cuzco city. Huge 30 ft perfect smooth stones symbolise the sacred Pumas head and teeth, which compliments Cuzco originally built in the shape of the sacred Puma body. Every 24th June people from far and wide comes to celebrate Inti Raymi (the festival of the sun, summer solace stuff, except it’s their winter, dark nights with a slight chill)
We visited Chinchero Church, another highly decorative ornate Catholic Church built over another time forgotten Inca temple, but it was now pushing 6pm and getting dark, the good light had gone for any photography and we were told not to take any photos anyway, it was also getting cold outside, so my interest was fast waning. This whole day cost $20.00 inclusive of all you can
eat buffet lunch. You must buy a tourist pass that cost 70 soles (approx £15) which gives entrance to all the historical sacred sites in and around Cuzco.
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