back to the ol grindstone of blogging. peru has been quite the experience meeting new people, understanding a new culture, trying to get my feet in cooperation with the rest of my body during futbol, and eating some questionable food.
i want to take a few moments to talk about lent as well as some observations of my time here in peru. this year for lent i am going to give up meat, not being totally reliable on meat would be nice and it would give me a reason to try some new food as well as consciously remember to abstain from something that i really enjoy. i know lent is more of a religious act so i am also wanting to start focusing on reading through the Old Testament, more specifically the Torah, because the Bible is a building block and so much from the New Testament comes from the Old Testament. I am wanting to go through the Torah first and breaking up the Old Testament into sections to read through them. granted this lent is nothing that seems super difficult or trying but a challenge nonetheless.
living here in peru, mainly cusco, for over a month, i have come to the realization that peruvians are cutters, plain and simple. it must be engrained in their culture because no matter where you are or what you are doing, if there is a line, peruvians are cutting and are really bad at pretending to be there all along. i have encountered cutting at the futbol game, in line at a restaurant, and at the grocery store. i think i stopped cutting somewhere in the 3rd or 4th grade but alas the peruvian people will probably continue to get a leg up on their brother and sister until something drastic happens.
while we are here in cusco, we mainly walk everywhere we can but sometimes we have to take a combi (bus) or a taxi if we are running late or if its late at night and the combi's aren't running. while riding in an automobile, you are taking your life into someone else's hand because all of the laws of the road are thrown out the window. if you are driving down the road you need not adhere to staying in a lane because there aren't any lanes, i think there might be 4, 5, or even 6 lanes on a traditional 2 lane road; wherever you can place your car to give you a better advantage than another car (basically cutting) go for it. so while drivers are flying changing "lanes" at incredible speeds, the roads here are in poor condition with giant pot holes scattered all over the road like a minefield or for some reason if someone decides to fill the pot holes, they just get a truck full of dirt and dump it all into each of the holes leaving speed bump mounds so while you are speeding down the road, the driver comes to a halt to slowly go over the bump then he guns it. all along you are crammed into a van with 20 other people when it should only fit 12 or 13 people. nonetheless it is a thrill traveling on the road and as gringo's we make lots of friends with our tattered spanish and talking about all the highlights of America: hollywood, vegas, nyc, and then trying to explain where idaho or alaska is actually located.
just yesterday we all went out to the sacred valley, which is a gorgeous area just 30min to an hour by bus to a little town called coya for a carnival. we were under the impression we were going to hike up to a cross a little ways away where lots of people would be celebrating basically fat tuesday style with dancing, drinks, foods, and some traditional face paintings. we hiked up to the cross and no one was there but we saw many people heading further up the mountain. after an hour or so of hiking up along this path we met up with 3 men carrying a drum and two large recorders and a couple cow herders. after some chatting with them we made our way to nearly the top of the mountain where a large gathering of peruvians were celebrating carnival. here comes 8 gringos, we are the only white people up there (sorry joey); the party doesn't even skip a beat but they welcome us with open arms, handshakes, and started pouring us drinks to rehydrate us after the hike. the hodgepodge band assembled and started playing and we formed a circle and two women pick nate and ian to dance a traditional dance. the point here is how awesome the peruvians are; we are a bunch of foreigners and they accept us and help us join in on the festivities. we were all so thankful and taken back at how friendly and accommodating these peruvians were/are because in the states, if some outsiders, even American outsiders, showed up to a party of ours it would be pretty awkward and possibly people might act a little snobish. it's sad but true. we danced, drank, and even ate food with them at the top and then proceeded to get our faces "painted" and we marched as one celebratory group down the mountain with a huge peruvian flag with the bad playing. when we got to the bottom there were 50 plus more peruvians who welcomed us with food, drinks, more dancing, and kindness. we were one of many from the village. truly a wonderful experience.
even when there are some frustrating or possibly scary things here in peru, there are an equal amount of wonderfully, kind people to make you laugh, share their party, or even invite you in to play futbol. we are blessed to be able to experience this wonderful culture.