Inti Raymie

June 24, 2008

6.24.08 Inti Raymie

This morning we slept in til 6:30 before heading back to Port Maldendo. As the
boat started up, I saw the driver cross himself. It occurred to me that when you
are navigating a giant, swift, treacherous river full of electric eels, sting rays, and piranha, being a man of faith might not be the worst thing! And I made sure to extra-thank him when we got to our final destination.

After arriving back at the Port, Albert took us to the local market, where he wanted to show us the different medicines that come from the jungle. He already demonstrated his knowledge this morning when Aurturo came to breakfast with a bad toothache. Albert ran outside, came back in with a handful of leaves and told him to chew on them, (but not swallow). After a few minutes, Aurturo said that his tooth felt better!

When we got to the market, Albert took us to a booth of medicines run by a little old lady. She had the most amazing face, kind and wise, and she and I totally bonded.

After Albert showed us possum oil and porcupine quills, both for asthma, she and
I just kept clasping hands and grinning at each other. She told Aurturo that I had a happy heart, but I think she had the happiest heart I have ever seen: 

We went from the market to a snake place where I got to hold a baby anaconda.
Cool, huh?! It was great, but before we knew it, we had to head for the airport.

After a packed-full flight, we arrived back at Cuzco. Today is Inti Raymie,
a giant celebration. If the Summer Solstice last week was big, this is gargantuan!!

The highlight of the festival is the sacrificing of a black llama up at Saucsay
Wayman, the ruins we hiked to on our first day here. I will not be going to the
llama sacrafice, however! Our mountain biking trip this afternoon has been cancelled due to road closings, so we are going to watch the festivities in the square. I have a terrible cough and can’t breathe at all, so biking is not the best thing for me anyway. 

After spending a quality afternoon drinking lattes at our favorite
cafe, the four of us had a nice dinner and headed home. I should explain that real coffee is very rare here. Everyone just serves Nescafe…..blech! So the fact that we found a place that does serve amazing lattes was a miracle. It will probably be the last real coffee we see till we get back to the states, so we had to enjoy it!

As we walked back to the hotel, Inti Raymie was in full swing in the square.
Lots of different drum and flute circles were playing and dancing, all in beautiful feathered costumes. Each group was playing a different song in a different key and tempo, so it was like a magical, musical cacophony! It was a great last impression on Cuzco. Tomorrow we head towards Lake Titicaca!

Love, Anna

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