Thursday, January 22, 2009

"profe, where is spiderman?"

Here I am in Cusco. I said that already, didn´t I?

The bus trip out of Lima was very uneventful, which is great. The part that balances caution with fear starts to get a little overactive on those night busses so I was glad to pass with nothing interesting.

Left Lima at 2pm after the adventure of finding a taxi. Not that there aren´t plenty, but there is no organized cab collective there so you never know if the cab you´re getting into is safe or not. I asked the guy at the hostal to hail me a safe cab and he said that he had no better way of knowing than I did. You just have to take a look at the guy and see what you think of him and if you don´t like him then send him on his way and hail another one. Hard for a first world mind to wrap around. But I made it to the bus station with no problems.

I accidentally bought a first class ticket which really only means that you´ve spent more money to be on the ground floor instead of upstairs and the view isn´t as good. That isn´t a mistake I´m likely to make again, but it was comfortable. I ended up sitting next to a guy from DC who has been living in Colombia for a few years and it was interesting to visit with him.

The scenery was really interesting, I tried to catch some photos of it, but I´m not sure they turned out very well. On the right side was the beach and the ocean and on the left side was what looked like high desert mountains and sand dunes. From one side of the bus to the other looked like completely different countries, it was hard to reconcile. No matter how many times I would look from one side to the other I would be surprised.

By the time we turned inland and started over the Andes it was dark so you could only feel the bus going back and forth around hairpin turns and up up up and down down down over and over. You got the feeling that the views would have been spectacular if it weren´t pitch black. Leaving Cusco, I will probably try to split up the journey and catch the piece in the daylight.

Cusco is at a little over 11,000 feet and really pretty. Ringed with mountains, I look forward to exploring it some more soon. The architecture is really interesting as many of the buildings are Spanish architecture but they left many of the original Inca walls so it´s a weird mixture.

The hostal is really great, it is mostly for folks volunteering at the schools so there is an immediate bond and everyone is really nice. I am meant to start at the school on Monday, but this afternoon one of the girls came and asked if I would like to go to the art class with them because their third person left today and she was the only one who spoke Spanish so I got to go hang out with the kids already this afternoon. They are so super cute. They are obviously used to having lots of "profes" go through but instead of letting it create a scenario where they are jaded and don´t want to get close to people, it has made them very open to every new face, with trust that this new person will be good to them as well. I had a great time with them. After our art project was winding down but it wasn´t time for the next class yet, we just sat and chatted. They wanted to know my favorite color and my favorite food and where I was from and I am back to being Spiderman´s girlfriend which is cute. One little boy who was a little shy finally came up and pulled on my sleeve and whispered into my ear, wanting to know where spiderman was. I told him he was busy saving the world but would try to come by. There is a meeting every Friday evening for the entire staff to figure out where everyone will be the next week so I will know tomorrow night what I will be up to next week.

Tomorrow I will go do some grocery shopping and get my stuff put away and try to get settled in which will be fun. I am not suffering too much from altitude sickness, I´m sure having much to do with spending so much time in Quito, though I didn´t ever have too much trouble there either. That is lucky, cause some people are down for days and days absolutely miserable. I am tired from so much bus travel, but having a hard time getting sleepy. I will watch a movie with some folks and then go lay in bed and hope my eyes will close soon.

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