Day 3 — More Local Color

Sunday — April 5

I tried to get Mui to write this post, but no luck — he still has no interest in authoring a blog entry. I’ll do my best to describe his afternoon and evening out on the town while I was recuperating from my GI incident.

In his book, Exploring Cusco, Peter Frost describes Mercado de San Pedro, the central market in Cusco, as not-to-be-missed with the caveat that it is: “heavily infested with the contemporary pest ‘Turistus pickpocketus’, along with related species ‘T.bagslahia and T. camerasnatchus’.” Thus armed with the knowledge that he needed to be extra vigilant, Mui jumped in with both feet to enjoy another market experience. When I asked him about it after he returned from the outing, he said: “San Pedro was great; but you would have hated the crowds.” He’s probably right; one market a day is my limit.

He and Vidal skipped the tourist stalls and went straight to the heart of the market where the locals shop for the necessities of daily life: colorful fresh fruits and vegetables; heaps of potatoes and corn — there are hundreds of varieties of these two staples of Peruvian cuisine; sacks of aromatic spices and bundles of herbs; stacks of pita-like breads and Easter empanadas; shelf upon shelf of oils, sodas, yogurt drinks, canned goods, soaps, and you name it; carne, pollo, y pescado (meat, chicken, and fish) ready to be taken home for the evening meal; panchita (pig) heads staring with glassy eyes; shoes, clothes, underwear for the family; pots and pans of every shape and size; embroidered linens and decorative baskets; and even shaman booths with everything you need for ritual offerings, including llama fetuses.

“If you can think of it, you can probably find it at this market,” was Mui’s succinct description of what he saw, touched, and smelled.

Iglesia de San Pedro is across the street from the market that bears its name.

Colorful display of fresh fruits at Mercado de San Pedro.
(grab from video)

Llama fetuses — used by shamans in rituals.
(grab from video)

After leaving the market, Mui and Vidal went to Yaku Mama’s Grill on Plaza de Armas for a bite to eat before following a meandering path back to the hotel.

Alpaca kabobs — a low-cholesterol alternative to beef.

Mui was all set to spend the rest of the evening with me, but I had an alternate suggestion for him: the folklore show at the Qosqo Native Art Center. Though leery about leaving me on my own again, Mui didn’t put up much of a fight after I told him I was feeling much better but that I’d be taking another nap. Arriving early at the center, he was able to get a front row-center seat from which he filmed the entire show — something that would not have been permitted in the US. From what I’ve seen of his footage, the high-energy, colorful folklore show was both entertaining and informative with each performance being introduced in both Spanish and English. I’m glad one of us had a chance to see it in person.

Scene from the folklore show.
(grab from video)

Next Up: Day 4 — A Two-Part Visit to Pikillaqta

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