Saturday morning I woke up and felt fine so I decided to go white water rafting on the Urubamba river, as planned. Phil, the student next door, was also going so I waited outside for him for a few minutes but he had already left because he knew that I had been sick the night before. I actually wore shorts outside for the first time in Peru because I didn’t want to get my jeans wet. That was also my first time wearing a swimsuit in Peru. Anyways, when I arrived at the school I found out that Susanna was joining us rafting. Phil and I had both been rafting before but Susanna had not. We had about an hour bus ride to the river and since I was feeling a little queasy I just took a nap. When we arrived, we changed into wet suits and got back on the bus. Urubamba River is fed by the glacier on Ausangate Mountain and so wet suits were definitely necessary. Once we arrived to our put in point, we donned the windbreakers, life jackets, and helmets. We chose our boats and started training on the river! In our boat, we had six people and the guide: Phil, Susanna, Michael from Holland, a couple from Italy, and me. All told, we represented 5 different home countries and four different first languages. All directions were given in English. Once we finished training we started with progressively harder rapids, up to class 3. In the middle, we stopped at a rock to climb and jump off. Without (almost) second thoughts I climbed up the rock and proceeded to jump into freezing water. My first thought was “Cold!!” and my second was “What is the easiest/fastest way to get back into the boat?”, followed by “No, I can not touch the bottom here”. Once I was back in the boat we all talked about how frigid the water was and how glad we were to have wet suits on. After that, we went through the class three rapids and tried to surf on one of them. After that, the guides all tried to flip their boats on a rock but I think the river was too low. I was glad not to be back in the water. When we returned to the base camp, we peeled off the wet suits and went straight to the sauna. It was nice and warm- and then they came in with a bucket of water to steam it up a little. It was probably over 90 degrees Fahrenheit in there and it became a little hard to breathe. After that, I had a warm shower (luxury here) and then a warm lunch made by the family who lives at the base camp. As soon as I was done eating, most of the group went on a zip-line across the river and then back to the base camp. We collected our stuff, got back on the bus, and returned to Cusco. On the way, we stopped for ice cream at one of the many little stores in the villages and while it wasn’t homemade, it was just what I needed after a hard day of play. When we returned, I went home and rested. A couple of hours later, I realized that I had completely forgotten about one of my friend’s birthday party! By then it was too late so I just stayed home and apologized when I got to school on Monday. It was more of a drinking party anyways so I don’t know whether I would have had fun or not.
Sunday was my day of rest and I got to sleep in until 8:30. I finished a bracelet that I made for one friend and started another for a friend who is leaving on Wednesday. I finished that one today (Tuesday) and started on another for the friend whose party I missed. The other thing I did on Sunday was four more colors on the Achoo! cross stitch. Now the pads of the feet have color and it has a black nose, eyes, and spots. That kept me up until midnight and then I got up at 6:30 as normal for school.
Monday started my last week of grammar classes with the hardest teacher I’ve had so far. We had four students in the class again but as of today we have another student from Brazil. That fills the class as the maximum size is 5 students. Monday night I went to a salsa class at the salsa school with some friends and signed up for a total of 5 lessons. By the time I get home, I will practically be an expert! Or at least be able to dance well 🙂 After that we went out to eat at the same English restaurant as on Friday and I tried their Cottage Pie. It was awesome and it came with an excellent gravy. That satisfied my cheese longings for a moment. The great thing about this restaurant is that they have fresh mint tea. Just thinking about food makes me miss home a little so having something familiar is just what I needed. While I was talking to the taxi driver on the way home, he complimented me on my Spanish and that pretty much made my day. I’ve almost been here a month and I’ve learned a lot but sometimes it feels like I just arrived.
Today I came back to school in the afternoon and taught the volunteer group some origami. I am also going to make some decorations for the Dia del Estudiante (Day of the Student) festival that we are having on Friday. That’s all for now! I will try to write more than I have been for the last couple weeks because everything is better with details.