Welcome to Cusco
After an hour-long flight from Lima, I finally arrived in Cusco yesterday morning at 8:40am. Although I have to admit that I was a bit tired, I held my ground against a taxi driver who wanted to charge me S/. 55.00 ($20) for a ride to my hostel while I was advised to pay no more than S/. 15.00 ($5) for the ride. After a three-minute long argument, the driver finally agreed to drive me to my hostel for S/. 12.00!
I am currently staying at the Pariwana hostel on Avenidad Meson Estrella, which is only two blocks away from the Plaza San Francisco. This hostel is a tad bigger than the Pariwana hostel in Lima but the staff is equally nice! After dropping off my backpack to my hostel, I paid S/. 5.00 ($2) for a taxi to Quispicanchis, where I met with Sra. Liw, the Program Director of the Programa de Adaptacion al Cambio Calimarico (PACC). After joking about my alleged invincibility to the altitude, I found myself feeling dizzy an hour into the interview! Thankfully, Sra. Liw gave me some mate de coca, a tea infusion made from leaves of coca to alleviate my altitude sickness. I felt so much better and headed back to my hostel for a much-needed nap! Although I could not wait to visit the historical center of Cusco, I made the decision to stay at the hostel and sip on some more mate de coca.
After a good night of sleep in my all-girl room — for which I pay S/. 35.00 a night ($12.65) — I woke up early to make it to the two interviews I had scheduled for the day. Both of my interviews went well and I decided to stroll around the streets of Cusco in order to get acquainted with its unique culture and history.
I decided to walk around the Plaza de Armas, where tourists and locals were enjoying the sun. As I strolled around what used to the center of the Inca Empire, I was stunned by the beauty of its Spanish colonial style as well as by the statue of an Inca at the center of the Plaza.
After walking for a few hours around the city, I finally ran into several women who were accompanied with baby llamas! I was extremely happy because I was really looking forward to holding one when I arrived in Cusco! After paying S/. 4.00 ($1.45) for 4 pictures, my dream finally came through – as you can see in the pictures below!
Having fulfilled one of my utmost wishes, I walked back to my hostel where I drank some coca tea to alleviate my altitude sickness and called it a day.