July 5, 2012
Oh the Sacred Valley…its no surprise why its been called that. I have been here almost one week and have started working and getting accustomed to my new summer home. Despite fighting the flu and altitude sickness, I have been welcomed by gorgeous mountains, colorful array of fresh produce and friendly housemates.
I have been spending portions of my days concentrating on the next steps of the INKAcase project and getting up to date with previous efforts. The rest of the day is open for strolls in the market, talking with new friends, spider slaying and playing with Buttons, our house dog. In fact, Buttons is usually involved with all the above activities.
Even after just one week, so much has happened in Calca. The town had a 4 day festival, I killed a spider that shot black ink at me, and my landlord took me on a moto bike ride showing me the town. In fact, I would say that that ride in particular was the highlight of my week. When I needed copies of keys for the house, we went on his bike to get them made. While waiting, he showed me the large market, different stores and his own costume shop that he runs. Our last stop was his home. After he showed me mostly everything, we entered the kitchen and a room off of it. I walked into the room to find (and can only be described as a moving floor of guinea pigs or Cuy as they call it.
Well I quickly put things together and although this vegetarian is accepting, I was stunned. I apparently did not read the guinea pig chapter in my Peruvian culture book. He told me how he prepares them and even pulled out a bowl of extracted eyeballs, I think for effect. Although this may not be something that I would eat, I appreciate the culture and embrace all that comes with it. I am so thrilled to be here and am eager to learn much more!