I am sooo done with my classes here. Four hours of the same subject gets old when it is an interesting topic but when you are learning about the differences between ten types of folk dances or the characteristics of three different dictatorships that you’ve never heard of before, it gets old fast. However, next week is on legends and myths so I think I will enjoy that more.
For a place where it rains a lot, you would think that Cusco would have good drainage systems. Apparently the Incas knew a lot more about the rain than they do now because the streets resemble little brown rivers when it rains. Also, rain here means an incessant downpour for at least 3 or 4 hours. I bought rubber boots and I carry them with me everywhere after I soaked my sneakers twice. Also, rain ruins all kinds of plans. It’s hard to go anywhere when it’s risky to cross the street.
The other day when I left my house I saw what seemed to be a dog taking a nap under the car at first glance. It was one of the local chickens with a bald neck. That brought home once again that while this is a city, it’s not that far to the countryside. Also, the neighbors behind us have a rooster that I hear every morning and the neighborhood dogs are obnoxious at night.
The good part about my new class (Indigenous Culture) is that we have two outings every week. Last week we went to see the llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, and guanacos at the Awana Kancha. This is an organization that is trying to preserve the native textiles and teach the tourists about the South American “camelidos”. After that we went to a rescue zoo with parrots, condors, pumas, and more. Please DO NOT buy anything with parrot feathers because it probably came from the black market, where 90% of the birds die during transport out of the jungle. Also, if you get birds please get two because they get very lonely and can start pulling out their own feathers. We got to go into the condor cage, where there was an older male, a younger male, and a juvenile female. The older condor will be released but the younger pair will be kept for the breeding program (since condors are monogamous, when one mate dies the other will not continue reproducing). Anyways, Rebekah and I got our pictures taken with the juvenile female and then we got to see the condors fly at close range. We didn’t get any good pictures of them flying but it was awesome to see.
This week we had an afternoon class and went to see the dances at the Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo (Qosqo is the old form of Cusco). We got to see two of the dances we had been studying this week and it is definitely better to see them than read about the theory. Afterwards Rebekah and I went out for a cheap hamburger, studied a little, and then went to do some (salsa) dancing of our own.
Yesterday we had classes in the morning again and had our second outing- this time to a local textile museum. It was very interesting but it was actually priced to what they deserved for it so it all seemed really expensive. We got together and watched The Avengers by a fire in the little wood stove in the common area at school in the afternoon. It was great- we watched it on Denton’s computer- and the fire was so nice that both Denton and Rebekah fell asleep at some point. After the movie, Rebekah and I went to a free concert in the Qorikancha. It was Andean music on adopted European instruments, so it was a fitting end to our week of folklore music/dance/festival studies.