So, I awoke today in my new Peruvian home and walked downstairs for my first breakfast. I sat down with my family in a quaint kitchen and quietly listened to the family speak….at first I thought the altitude was really effecting me, but then I learned that the family was speaking a language called Quechua. It was the most amazing conversation to be a part of in the morning and although I have no idea what was being said my family included me as if I did. I am not sure that I will ever be able to learn the language…honestly I am having a hard enough time with Spanish, but regardless I was having breakfast with a Quechua speaking family in which the grandmother was wearing her traditional dress….when does that ever happen in our day to day lives? After breakfast we went to the Urubamba Plaza de Armas for church, yes you are reading this correctly, I said church, with all the kneeling and standing included…even better it was all in Spanish. The church was beautiful and ornate with a gold laced alter and statues of various Saints along the sides of the aisles. The proceedings also included the celebration of the 25th wedding anniversary of a Quechua couple and I couldn’t help but stand in awe as I was a part of the occasion. Following morning mass was, in good Peruvian fashion, a huge festival for Senor de Torrechayoc, who looks a lot like Jesus, but has strange looking eyes. We followed the festival from the church in the Plaza de Armas to the church dedicated to Senor Torrechayoc across town and watched as flower petals showered the festivities and a large banner on top of a wooden chest was carried throughout the streets in his honor. It was definitely a site to see and lasted for hours, so after working up an appetite we headed home for the biggest meal of the day…lunch! Choclo maiz, which is giant corn that you peel and eat, along with rice, chicken and queso fresca made for a great Peruvian meal. Of course after lunch I reveled in my first siesta and then headed to my families other home in which we relaxed and sat with our thoughts as we stared out at the scenic Chicon glacier from the rooftop. I am starting to settle in….emphasis on starting as I am not even close to knowing what I am doing or, most of the time, where I am, but I will get there and for goodness sakes it is only my second full day in this country.
Peru Tidbit: In Urubamba the water is undrinkable in the tap even by the locals, thus all water is boiled, filtered or bottled. Economically, the first two are more common for Peruvian families. Many families that boil water believe that the water must be consumed hot…thus it is rare to get a cold drink of water as it is believed to be bad once it has cooled down even when boiled first. So, prepare yourself for lots of hot drinking water and juice.