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Hello. My last post was about Lima or the Nazca lines I think so I have a lot of days to cover. We headed high up into the Andes and met herds of beautiful llama like creatures. One day we camped on top of the High Plateau and I was almost able to join a herd of bouncing, brown eyed wild llamas. Unfortunately we left before I became one with the llama. We spent a few days in the high plateau looking at chinchillas and getting altitude sickness before descending and heading towards Cusco. When we were right outside of Cusco we found out that the Shining Path was threatening to kidnap America tourists in Cusco and that is why we drove through Cusco. Once we left Cusco we came to a small village with a kind of big Sunday market that we bought pasta and spoons at. The market was full of tiny, old, women cutting giant gourds open with saws and booths made of tarps and sticks selling cubes of sea weed and sacks of coco leaves. When walking around I found a small hole in the wall store that sold this sixteen stringed instrument kind of like a mandolin but every group of strings was a different chord instead of a single note. The shop was full of guys drinking beer and holding instruments. After a few hours spent at the market, we drove on towards Puno. We spent many days and nights in rural Peru going to hot springs and driving past small towns. Eventually we made it to the city of Puno. We stopped in Puno and have remained stopped for a while now. Puno is nice. It’s right on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Puno has a large artisan market but every booth sells pretty much the same things, except this one booth I found that sold leopard pelts and tortuous shells. If you head up towards the center of town there are lots of colorfully dressed women selling hats and gloves. The older ladies here stick coco leaves to their faces, I don’t really know why but I think it’s so that sweat is absorbed into the leaf so when they chew it, the sweat juice squirts out. One of my favorite thing about the people here is that most of the women wear this beautiful hat that is sort of mushroom shaped and doesn’t fit over their heads. Ryan and my mother have started that hat thing that you probably know about but if you don’t I’ll summarize: There are people all over that try to sell you things on the street, a lot of the time the people are so desperate to sell you their wares that they’re near tears. These people sell their things for hardly any money ($4.00 for a hand knitted alpaca hat) so Ryan came up with the idea that people donate money to us so we can buy large quantities of hats from people to stimulate the local economy and make some old ladies week. As I write this I am actually wearing a hat that we bought.
Yesterday we were walking down a street full of booths that the people who live here buy from and we came across a place the sold nothing but herbs and aborted llama fetuses. It was kind of really creepy because, you know, there were two hundred or so dried up, black, unborn llama babies in boxes all over the place. Apparently when you’re making a new house or building your ‘supposed’ to kill a llama on top of the land that your building on for the earth god, but if you’re too poor you can just shove a llama fetus under your house and call it good.
Pastries here are usually stuffed with the scrumptious sludge called Manjar (pronounced man- har). This sludge is brown and can be sold in small tubes as candy I think. When we were over by the fetus’ we came across an old, coco leaf, covered lady who sold large sacks full of small tubes of Manjar for a $1.20. I have no idea what’s in Manjar and it’s probably horrible for you but I’ve ate about a pound of Manjar since yesterday. This last bit is a little unrelated to Puno or South America in general but I can play Come Sail Away by Styx on my pan pipes, bagpipes, and mandolin now which I’m pretty dang proud of.
This blog post is over now. I like Puno. Good bye.

One Response

  1. Kay DeCorso

    I can’t wait to hear you play Come Sail Away on one of your instruments!

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