A Travellerspoint blog

August 2012

Cusco Likes & Dislikes

from the family

As we were sitting at a local restaurant waiting for lunch (almuerzo) one day, I took out my notebook and interviewed the kids with some random questions about our time in Cusco so far. I've added answers de Anne y yo, and hope that this gives a little more insight into what we are doing, seeing, and thinking.

What is your favorite food?

Alex: Delicrak (fried "almost popped" corn kernals)
Leah: Tortilla soup
Anne: Lomo Saltado
Noah: Sopa de adobo

What is your favorite drink?

Alex: Jugo Mixto (fresa y plateno y piña = strawberries, bananas, and pineapple)
Leah: Chicha Morada
Anne: Pisco Sour
Noah: Cerveza de Cusqueña

What do you like the most so far?

Alex: Going up the Pachacuteq tower (here's a picture from inside the tower de Pachacuteq)
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Leah: Exploring Cusco (here's a picture of the city from the Pachacuteq tower)
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Anne: The slower pace of Cusco, and meeting many interesting people from all over the world
Noah: Our new apartment in the South American Explorers club (here's a picture of the garden - our apartment is the window on the second floor behind the tree)
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What do you like the least so far?

Alex: Bug bites!
Leah: Car pollution - stinky exhaust!
Anne: Noise pollution - car alarms and horns and fireworks/explosions for all of the fiestas
Noah: Cold showers!

What are you looking forward to the most in the next month?

Alex: Visiting Machu Picchu
Leah: Giving our host family's dog a present
Anne: Visiting Colca Canyon
Noah: Visiting Machu Picchu and climbing Huayna Picchu
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(from BootsnAll)

What have you learned that you are proud of?

Alex: Spanish
Leah: Spanish
Anne: How to order food and shop in Spanish
Noah: Spanish, and how to "be" in a new culture

What do you miss about home the most?

Alex: Zillah (our dog) and playing Minecraft on the computer
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Leah: Same as Alex
Anne: Central Heating
Noah: Hot showers with good water pressure

What is the most interesting thing that you've seen so far?

Alex: Local girls with baby lambs trying to get gringo tourists to pay for pictures
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Leah: People in traditional outfits
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Anne: The way that women have their kids with them all the time - on their backs, at work, etc.
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Noah: Condoms made out of chocolate
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And we'll end with a quote from each of us:

Alex: "I'll walk in front" (Alex doesn't grasp the concept of following...)
Leah: "But, we're surviving..."
Anne: "This is normal!"
Noah: "I don't know what's in this soup, but it tastes good, so I'm gonna eat it"

Posted by noahv 18:16 Archived in Peru Tagged cusco observations thoughts Comments (5)

A Day in Our Life

A Glimpse at What We Do and Experience During a Typical Cusco Day

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It has been a month since we first arrived in Peru - a month packed with new sights, sounds, experiences, and learning for us. Each day continues to provide unique moments and discoveries but we are also striving for some sense of normal. I can't promise you exciting - but here is a snapshot of a day in our life.

Good Morning!!!

On weekdays we wake around 7:00am, get dressed, use the munchkin bathroom etc. Showers are especially exciting. There is an electrical heating unit in the shower head that provides between 4 and 7 minutes of warmish water - depending on the strength of the pressure. We found that if you touch the knob with wet hands you get an electric shock. We now keep a dry washcloth nearby to use, much like an oven mitt.
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Alex and Leah are not always super excited to get out of bed (it IS cold in their room). Note: there ARE 2 beds . . .
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Breakfast

No surprises here. Breakfast is our most predictable meal. It looks exactly like this every day:
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Our host family provides rolls, jelly, margarine, manjarblanco spread (toffee flavored), juice, tea, and coffee. We have bought ham, eggs, and yogurt to add to the selection. Gluten free eating is very difficult here - white carbs (potatoes, rice and bread) are an integral part of most meals.

On Our Way

By 8:10am we are out the door and looking to catch the eye of an approaching taxi driver. With Noah in the front of the taxi and the kids and I in the back, we embark on the 10-15 minute ride to school. As our Spanish improves, so does our conversations with taxi drivers. They are always surprised that we are staying in Peru for more than a couple of weeks and that we have not been to Machu Picchu. We have yet to meet a driver who has heard of Seattle - but there is always tomorrow. The rules of the road are still somewhat of a mystery - we only know that they involve invented lanes of traffic, horn blowing, and no turn signals. The trip costs 4 soles ($1) and saves us 45 minutes of walking uphill through the fumes of the morning commute.

School

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There is a lovely view of Cusco from our classroom window. Classes begin at 8:30am. Noah and I are enrolled in group classes. The school is international but our current group includes fellow American Gabby (high school student from New Orleans) and Andrew (professor at UPenn). We are with one teacher 8:30am -10:20am and another from 10:50am -12:30pm. Lessons are a mix of grammar and conversation with some peruvian culture and history thrown in as well. Class begins with a review of the homework and questions from the previous day. New material is introduced and we have reading, writing and speaking activities.
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Alex and Leah have a teacher to themselves and are in class from 8:30am -10:20am. They really like profesoro Alfredo who makes balloon animals, does card tricks, and keeps them learning Spanish. Noah and I meet them at the break and share a snack. They are then given either a math or writing assignment for the remaining time while we return to class.

Lunch

After classes our first priority is finding a place to eat. Our family home is too far away and the school serves lunch only to residents - so we are on our own. There are at least 30 cafes to choose from within a couple of blocks. We've discovered that our best value option (besides Chinese food) is to find a good menu of the day.
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At this cafe we each got fried wantons and a big bowl of soup as an appetizer, a main dish, a drink, and fruit salad for dessert. Total bill for 4 =40 soles ($16) - YUM!

Homeward Bound

At about 2 or 2:30pm we head out in the general direction of home. Any walk in Cusco involves at least a few stairs . . .
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and diversions . . .
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We usually stop at a market to pick up more water and/or other essentials. This one is our favorite because it is well lit, inexpensive, and close to our host family's apartment.
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Afternoon & Evening

By the time we get back we are quite tired and tend to relax for the first hour or so. We check email and facebook, do our Spanish homework, watch the Olympics, read, etc. The four of us tend to hang out in one room (the warmest). Here is my view:
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Dinner is served by our host mom between 6:30 and 7:30pm. After dinner we get organized for the next day, read, play a game, or choose a movie to watch as a family. Bedtime is around 9:30pm - which is quite early by South American standards but works for us. Ah, sleep . . .

Thanks for reading!
All the Best,
Anne

Posted by annevl 15:29 Archived in Peru Tagged food peru kids spanish school budget cusco Comments (7)

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