Day 16 – Exploring the markets and a mini-festival

After a long and very nice sleep, we were up around 9am to check out of the hostel and move to a slightly nicer one. We’re now in a 6 bed dorm but there was only 4 of us. The other guy in the dorm is a Swedish student who has come to Peru to study things in the rainforest (I can’t remember any of the scientific terms he was using). He was very excited when he was talking about it as they had discovered some new species of bird or something so he was off to check that out today. We, on the other hand, were doing something less interesting but nevertheless still exciting – exploring the markets!!

Cusco has a maze of markets. They all sell much the same thing – the colourful alpaca jumpers, woolly hats and gloves, scarves and other souvenirs. Its great just wandering around and admiring the sheer scale of them. Tom bought a few things as he’s heading off home tomorrow so he managed to practice his haggling skills.

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One of the many markets in Cusco

We also had lunch int he market. Options are plenty and it’ll definitely save you a few quid by eating in markets as its so incredibly cheap. But it seemed as though pretty much everything was served with both rice and potato and a fried egg on top.

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The food area of the market

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Everything seems to be served with an egg!

We also managed to change our flights for FREE!!. We called up the Qantas office in Lima and managed to get through to someone who could speak english. We were told by Trailfinders that if we wanted to change any of our flights we may have to pay a local service fee. But the woman on the end of the phone happily changed our flights and emailed the details over to us free of charge! We love Peru!! Our new flight date out of Chile is now August 20th. So thats an extra month in South America than originally planned  – I don’t even know if this will give us enough time to cover Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.

We have been keeping an eye on the news these past few days as there are riots and protests in Puno which has blocked the border crossing between Puno and Bolivia. Puno is our next stop and we’re planning on leaving in a few days. The British government has advised tourists to stay away from Puno. We have spoken to a few bus companies and they said that they would book us the tickets but they could not guarantee how long it would take for us to cross the border into Bolivia as there have been buses which have had to take large detours. Plus, there was a chance that the protests could get worse. So far, there have been stories of protesters throwing stones and rocks at tourist buses. So should we risk getting the bus? The other option is to get a flight direct from Cusco to La Paz but all agencies were quoting over $200 each!! However, we managed to find one agency who was willing to book us some flights for only $130 each…if we left the day after tomorrow – earlier than planned. In the end, we decided to book the flights. Guess there’s no price on our safety!

Because of the run up to the Pachamama festival in a few days, there’s been dancing, singing and other performances on everyday in the square. Tonight, they had set up a stage for various bands to perform including a ska type band called Los Monkees. I don’t know how famous they were but a few of the younguns were singing along to all their songs. It was really fun music! After the bands performed, the organisers put on a real show. On the cathedral on the opposite side of the square they used lighting and shadows to make the building look as though it was moving. They even projected shadows of people climbing all over the building. It was incredible. The atmosphere was great too. Then came the fireworks. In two opposite directions. You didn’t know where to look!

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Projections on the cathedral

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The crowds enjoying the bands on the stage

Once we got too cold standing there, we decided to go for a drink in one of the bars facing the square. Not a bad “nothing” day!

About Julia Chan

I’m Julia and I've just returned from the adventure of my life. I went travelling around South America, the South Pacific and South East Asia for 12 months, and I'd do it all over again if I could! Julia on Google+
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