i arrived in lima around 11 tuesday night, august 5. a crazy taxi ride to hotel españa in central lima was a great start to my trip. the taxi driver almost took out a motorcycle and a dog. i got to my room and realized that i had just left all the comforts of home. the next morning, i caught a church service in the amazing and opulent san francisco church and then walked around exlporing all the beautiful colonial architecture in the plaza de armas and its surroundings. everyday at noon there is a changing of the guards at the president´s palace and i was able to catch most of it. there are police armed to the hilt all around the plaza de armas. they are a little intimidating until you smile at them and their eyes light up.
i met an american in the hotel and we got some food together, alpaca and pisco sours, and then we helped each other get plane tickets to cusco. it´s amazing how my comfort level instantly changed when i met someone who speaks my language and understands my culture.
maryjane met me at the cusco airport on wednesday, august 6. she was a sight for sore eyes. i had a huge lump in my throat on the plane and when i saw here the tears of joy released and streamed down my face. we got right down to business and took a bus to urubamba, and then a taxi ollantaytambo. maryjane is fluent in spanish and knows the area pretty well so the transit went smoothly and we arrived safely in ollantaytambo where maryjane has been living for almost 5 months. i couldn´t believe what i was seeing on the bus ride. the pictures and guide books don´t even come close to conveying the grandness of the andes and the beauty of the valley. there are family farms scattered all throughout the valley surrounded by the andes where people work without machinery to grow food to sell at market and for subsitence. there are many women who dress in traditional clothing with baby´s on their backs wrapped in colorful textiles. some the men dress in traditional clothing as well. i want to take many pictures of them but i also want to respect their desire not to be photgraphed. maybe i´ll have to use my telephoto lens so they i am not so obvious.
the moon was almost full last night but you could still see the amazing stars lingering above the peaks of the mountains. it is weird to look into the sky and expect to see the stars all the way to the horizon but there are dark silouhettes of the mountains. it really is magical here.