Monday, November 10, 2014

Market Day in Pisac

Our final day in Cusco was spent mostly in Pisac. Pisac is a town of about 900 people about 30 kilometers from Cusco. We took a taxi through the scenic countryside, past various Incan ruins. The sacred valley is dotted with such archeological sights that a person could spend days visiting and hiking them all. 

We went to picturesque Pisac because it was supposed to be a pretty little town with a renowned crafts market. The market did not disappoint. Rows and rows of stalls selling textiles, knitted goods, jewelry, paintings, and other various odds and ends. Most were simple wooden and tarp stalls but there were also some regular shops and lots of eateries - mostly street side eateries - specializing in Peruvian cuisine. A couple of places had cute guinnea pig huts were you could pick your preferred pig (cuy, in Spanish) and have it roasted to perfection for lunch.

We walked and browsed and bought some things - me, haggling for the best price; Betty-Lou paying precisely what was asked or rounding the price up where she felt the item was worth more. (I can't explain it; it's just her way.)

The market was crawling with adorable little girls carrying baby llamas in colourful blankets asking for their pictures to be taken for a few coins. Of course we couldn't resist. Particularly adorable was watching the girls feed the baby llamas from bottles. The llamas were delighted and wagged their tails excitedly, falling over each other to get to the milk.

Pisac has become something of a new age mecca for people interested in yoga and crystals, and there are a number of hippies there (Peruvian and from abroad) selling beaded bracelets, books, and vegan treats.

In the food area of the market we had some empanadas and stuffed peppers at the tables temporarily erected next to outdoor grills. Everything was delicious. 

As the market started to wind down we decided to head back to Cusco. We first boarded a bus, but realized quickly that we would have to stand the whole way, which, given the twistiness of the road seemed like a bad idea - even at 3 soles for the ride. We got off the bus and a man and a woman in a car called out "Cusco?" Betty-Lou and i looked at each other, shrugged and got into the car. We paid them 10 soles for the ride. The couple spoke no english, but we offered them chocolate and they offered us bread and all was well.  We learned that she was a nurse and he a policeman. We listened to Peruvian music (curse those panpipes!) and clapped along to the peppier tunes. At one point they stopped and pulled the car over at a certain spot and the woman poured out a bottle of Inca Kola (the local soft drink) onto the ground for mother earth (or 'Pachu Mama').

They dropped us off at the Plaza de Armas, a few blocks from our hotel.

We went for dinner and packed up out bags, ready for our early morning flight to Iquitos and the  next portion of our journey. 

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