Cusco Day 2
So today was a busy day. It started with a boom. Literally. Around 10:32 the previous night there was a “temblor.” It was my first earth quake and it shook the house. I don’t know if it was ignorance but I just went back to sleep. We started with two placement exams. The first was a written exam testing on grammar and basic vocabulary and the second was an oral exam. I had to talk for three mins about if I had to dedicate myself to one activity for the rest of my life what would it be and why?…I mean what kind of topic is that? Who only does one thing for the rest of their lives? So, I stumbled through that and wanted to shoot myself after. But I was relieved to know that just about everyone felt the same way. We’ll find out our scores tomorrow and what class we’ll be in. After all of that we had program orientation and the director told us a little about Cusqueño (Said: Cews-kay-ños) cultural and what life here is like. I think I’m really going to enjoy Cusco. We were then released for lunch with our families and were told to return at 3:30 for a city tour. Heather and I decided to get some money changed before heading back to our respective houses. I asked the woman to change my money and then I asked her for “Botallas más pequeñas” instead of “Billetes más pequeñas.” For those of you who don’t speak Spanish I asked for smaller bottles instead of smaller bills…total gringo moment. I then went home for lunch except it wasn’t that simple. I got lost. I thought I was more lost that I really was, I was literally only 2 blocks from home when I hailed a taxi. The map the school gave us mislabeled a street close to my house so I kept walking, looking for my street that corresponded with the map but had no such luck. It was an adventure. But I ate lunch, vegetable soup and some pasta dish with chicken (I think it was chicken) and went back to school early so I could call my parents and Lawrence. I walked there with Oliver, my house mate from Belgium. We talked about various topics; including recreational drug use and how anything can be a drug…it was interesting to say the least. But we got to the school and I called my mom and Lawrence and they were both happy to hear from me.
When we went on our city tour there more than 15 of us…nothing screams tourist like 15+ gringos walking around with cameras and a tour guide. I felt like we were on display for all of Cusco to see and judge. We stopped at a mural that was painted in 1992 depicting the history of Perú and its people. It was really interesting how much hatred was directed at Europeans. All the European figures were shown as savage some were even half man half beast to emphasize their bestial nature. It was rather graphic but what I found interesting is there was no a single drop of blood painted on the wall. I’m going to try to post the pictures but I lost my card reader ( >_< ). **EDIT I FOUND MY CARD READER!!!**So, I have to see if someone at school has something I could use.
We walked a lot more and visited the plaza de armas and saw the large cathedrals. We then walked up a very narrow path to another church and a small tienda (store). Our guide showed us common artifacts and that represented the culture of Perú and easy gift ideas for the people back home. We then returned to La academia. We then decided that the 8 MSU students and 1 housemate were going to go out for dinner. We went back to la plaza de armas and ended up in this Americanized bar. I had my first drink here, a cuba libre con Flor de Caña (that’s a rum and coke with a Nicaraguan rum that is to die for!). Heather and I then shared a taxi back. I’m really hoping to have some pictures for you guys, some of this stuff was really cool. But for now bed and class in the morning. Here’s the view from our school: