Thursday, September 11, 2014

Developing A Routine In Cusco

So I may have been a bit harsh on Cusco but I have a good excuse for that. The past few days have been really tough for me because of this whole altitude adjustment. I have been pretty sick and so out of it that I was ready to pack my bags and get the hell out of here but thank goodness the voice of reason prevailed and I stuck it out.

Like with every city I have been to, I have developed a routine that has made me feel more at ease in my new environment and slowly by slowly, I am warming up to Cusco. Every morning I walk almost half an hour to the school where I take Spanish classes for 4 hours, 10 am to 2 pm. Four hours sounds crazy but it's actually not bad at all because the first two hours focus on grammar and the last two hours focus on conversational skills so I end up chatting with my really sweet teacher who makes it fun. I have two teachers, one for grammar and the other for conversation and they are both awesome so those four hours always seem to go by fast!

After my classes I go for lunch then head back to the house where I usually meet up with my new buddy from the house where we are both renting rooms in. He is such a sweet Israeli guy and we always have good conversations while taking long walks around the neighborhood. He knows the streets better than I do so I just follow his lead which is fine by me, with my horrible sense of direction I really don't mind at all! thanks to him I am getting to know my neighborhood better. After our walks we get to the house, chat a little bit more before calling it a night.

To get a better idea of my neighborhood (I live in the San Blas neighborhood) here are some pictures I have taken during our walks.

There is a mercado not too far from the house, you can buy: vegetables, fruits, meat and even get some freshly squeezed juice right on the spot.

View from the front of the house.

You see the gray building in the picture below? I live next to it, there are a set of stairs that I have to climb though in order to get to the house.

Every morning on my way to school I have to make my way down to the main road you see in the picture below. It's actually not a bad walk at all since it's down hill. There are a bunch of stairs that lead to the main road.

The sign below basically warns that any thief caught in the neighborhood will be lynched and burned, pretty graphic right? on the other hand I guess I should feel pretty safe in this neighborhood, with this dire warning who would try to rob anyone here?

I haven't had the chance to check out the salsa scene in this city but it's only my first week here and I am just beginning to feel normal again health wise so I am not in a hurry to do everything at once. I have enough time to do all I want here so there really is no rush.

That's it folks, I am glad I gave Cuzco another chance as I am beginning to appreciate it for what it is and I am looking forward to exploring more of it.

Random Thoughts of the Day:

Prior to coming to South America I had been a vegetarian for 7 years. Then I came here and it just got a bit complicated so I started eating meat again. Here in Cuzco there are options for vegetarians so I am back to my old life style.

Living in my neighborhood you get a good opportunity to work out because there are really steep streets that you have to walk along and going up hill is no joke.

One of my Spanish teachers was telling me how dangerous Lima is and was saying even in the bus someone can sit next to you and take out a gun forcing you to give them whatever they want and they will get away with it. The higher end neighborhoods are safer but if you venture outside them then you better watch your back especially if you are not familiar with the city.

Cuzco is safer from what I have heard and my teacher was telling me that in neighborhoods where you will find more of the indigenous population, all you need to do is shout thief and the whole neighborhood will come out to help and the thief usually gets lynched. In Ecuador my Spanish teacher had told me the same thing.

For the past 6 months I have lived with local families where I had to interact in Spanish which has helped me immensely as I have advanced to the intermediate level. Here in Cuzco I live among foreigners so I speak more English and that's why I really enjoy the 4 hours of daily Spanish classes because I get to practice and improve on the language.

I have developed a good rapport with my Spanish teachers so my classes are usually so much fun.

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