Day 7 & 8: Cusco

Not yet quite able to get a full nights sleep, I was up and at ‘em before check out to move to another hostel in San Blas, a neighborhood in Cusco. The internet didn’t work too well in my hostel so I moved to a nearby cafe with wifi. After ordering a coffee with milk and instead receiving a glass of hot milk with a tiny saucer of coffee, I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that after all this time I still manage to have the most basic communication problems. Turns out warm milk with a splash of coffee is pretty satisfying! I took a stroll through the Inkan museum where I found some more information on Machupicchu and surrounding ruins, then visited the Qorikancha, or sun temple, in Cusco. When the Spanish arrived they tore it down and created the St. Dominic church, but walls from the original temple still stand. A truely gorgeous site.

After a nap and a hot shower I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner to raise my spirits, and had an outstanding dinner at a restuarant not too far from my hostel called Cicciolina. Critically acclaimed and just recently reviewed in the NY Times July 2nd, my red wine and ossobuco most definitely lived up to their standards. The couple from New York who also have a home in Long Island, travel every winter to the Caribbean, and love boasting about their two accomplished and adventurous MD daughters continuously? Not so much. I grabbed a drink at a bar on the plaza called Mama Africa where I met two marines just back from duty in Afghanistan. After a couple hours of hearing war stories, watching sweaty drunk Americans and New Zealanders hump eachother on the dancefloor, and being awkwardly stared at by some 50 year old Peruvian men who came for the show – I called it a night.

A little homesick and a little bummed that I hadn’t gotten a chance to see some of the ruins just outside of Cusco, I slept in and lounged around for a bit the next day. With nothing to do I decided to try the famous Jacks Cafe for lunch. Over some pumpkin soup and tea I struck up a conversation with my waiter, Jhedi, or as he liked to refer to himself, Shalom. Lucky me, he offered to take me out on his motorcycle to the nearby ruins when he got off work! Thorougly enjoying the irony of the fact that my mom had emailed me recommending I visit Jacks Cafe and the fact that my mom also once sincerely asked me to abstain from riding motorcycles, I obviously obliged. Free of charge, with better views, and a personal history lesson – I finally got to see Sacsayhuaman, Q’enco, and Pisaq. Later that night I grabbed a few drinks and joined my new friend Shalom and his buddies at a discoteca for some dancing. Quite a great way to end my stay in Cusco!