Not For Vegeterianos

Here are some photos from trips to various markets.  Beware, some photos are not intended to be viewed by the faint of heart or vegeterians.  More market photos on Flickr after the Tipon photos.

Photos can now be found here.

Chicken feet like brilliant stars in the sky…

First time I asked to take someone´s pic – I couldn´t pass it up, and then her little girl poked out just at the right moment!

Meat and fish alley

Sheep heads and hearts, and strong, determined woman

I was taking a pic of the tail-up chicken in the cone when the legs moved!  I had thought it was dead…I soon realized what was coming, and I fled.

Meat section of an indoor market

“A hoof in the scale”…sound like the start of a good adage…

A few of the 5,000 varieties of Peruvian potatoes

And dried potatoes

Now don´t say i didn´t warn you…

One of a table full

Morning Combi Ride

Peru combi schoolgirl cusco cuzco
Schoolgirl waiting for combi – Cusco, Peru

There’s always that kid on the school bus who throws up one morning.  The problem is that here, the school bus is also my bus.  And the bus is actually a combi – a tiny, third-hand Toyota van with seats to hold about 18, but with standing room holds up to 25.

On a side note, one morning I was one of the standing passengers on my morning ride on the Arco Iris (Rainbow).  (Other combi routes include the Expreso el Zorro or Fox Express, Servicio Expresso or Express Service, El Señor de Cabildo or Lord of Cabildo, and the Batman, or…Batman, complete with bat logo).  This particular combi was not one with the extended height roof, so as I was pretzeled in there, my head was in the back row, and I believe my tail was in the face of the front row.  And of course I emerged with my jacket zippers mysteriously unzipped.

Nevertheless, one morning, a boy proceeded to lose his breakfast.  I could use my almost-award-winning-descriptive-writing-skills to tell you about the contents and spray pattern of this, but I’ll spare you the worst.  Maybe I won´t.  From all appearances, it seemed his mother force fed him an ENTIRE jar of grape jelly, then sent him running to the bus stop, then he enjoyed a bumpy, exhaust filled ride for a few minutes.  Unfortunately he was face to face with the backwards facing kids, and one got the worst of it on his backpack.  The next two to the right were hit a bit, and luckily I, standing further to the right, was spared.  I reluctantly donated my USA made, 2-ply, extra soft, lint free Contonelle toilet paper to the cause, which I will probably quietly regret for the next 7 months.  The girl I handed it to made a few quick wipes of her mochila, then tossed it on the floor.  In shock at witnessing such a senseless act, I picked up the precious wad, made a nice ball, and placed it next to the mess on the seat, indicated to the girl sitting there that she could continue with the dirty work, which she thankfully did.  Seconds later a woman came in a sat in the very seat, completely unaware of the morning´s excitement.

Hiking in Ollantaytambo

Mi amiga Joetta told me we were going to “look at” some Inca terraces near Ollantaytambo (Oy-yan-tie-tom-bo), about an hour and a half outside of Cusco.  After a few hours of hiking in the sun, crossing a rushing stream, and climbing up the steep stone steps of the terraces, I realized I had not brought enough food and water for this terrace “viewing” adventure.  But there we were, hours from town, and half way up the mountainside.  We ran across a local woman, herding her sheep and collecting wood.  After we scared her sheep up the terraces, then snuck some photos of her, Joee ingratiated ourselves to her by saying hello and a few other words in Quechua.  The woman told us about some Inca ruins further on, so we dragged ourselves forward until we were able to see them, but did not have enough energy to continue on to them.  Luckily, on the way back, the woman – Sra. Ochoa – saved us from starvation with some freshly cooked choclo con queso (giant corn on the cob with goat cheese), which we ate as her angry ducks tried to protect their territory from the kittens and puppies running around our feet attempting to get the stray kernals.  After we regained some strength, the woman kindly led us to a path that took us gently back down to town (where we had to negotiate a ride back to Cusco, but that´s another story…)  (more photos on Flickr)


Starting out on the hike, heading out of Ollantaytambo


Steps going up the Inca terraces


Scaring the sheep up the terraces


A burro


Joee negotiates with another burro


The Pumamarca ruins in the distance, along the top of the hill running across the middle of the picture


Sra. Ochoa offers us choclo con queso at her home


Sra. Ochoa guides us back to a trail leading to town


Heading back to Ollantaytambo


Ruins of what appeared to be an ancient Inca drive-in theater

No time…

Sorry that I´m not doing a good job of keeping this updated.  I have so many stories and pictures from volunteering and weekend trips, but don´t have time to post it all right now…  Hopefully in 2 weeks after Spanish classes are over, I can catch up.

Peru Calling


The Yanapay kids – Jenni, Clara, and Maria de Fatima across the top

One of the amusing modes of communication here is the human pay phone.  Women stand on the corners calling out “LAMADAS, LLAMADAS!” (CALLS, CALLS!)  One approaches them and uses their cell phone, paying a half sol per minute, about 20 cents – cheaper than the pay phones on the street.  So this week I was initiated into how to actually use them.  You must first tell them which service you want, Movistar or Claro, as calling from one provider to the other is extremely expensive.  Then they choose the appropriate phone, dial the number, hand you the phone, and time your call on a stopwatch.  So if you have your own cel phone here, and you need to call someone on the other network, it is actually cheaper, and not uncommon, to use the llamadas chicas instead of your own phone!


Llamadas chicas.  Typically they hang out on street corners and not on yellow VW’s.  Notice the long bright phone cords (and stopwatches and 2 phones each) to identify them as llamadas chicas.


Llamadas chicas – twirling her phone strap, notice a phone in each hand – one Claro, one Movistar

Every Friday at Yanapay, the kids are going to put on theatrical performances that they create during the week, revolving around the themes and goals of Yanapay: values, principles, love, non-violence, respect.  This week’s performances included the older kids performing the story of Yuri starting Yanapay – to the surprise of Yuri himself!

A lot of new volunteers are starting next week, and most of us are sorely lacking in Spanish fluency, so it is going to be an interesting challenge.  I’m going to be working with the older kids, in a building next to the original one, with Yuri thankfully acquired as I was leaving last year, because the little kids have simply overrun the original space.  In the past year, he also opened a large hostal where he now lives with the volunteers.

I have requested to work one-on-one with Clara, the deaf girl, and Yuri was thrilled with the idea.  I´m very concerned with what will happen to her as she gets older.  Her parents, unfortunately, won’t let her attend a special school because they need her help around the house.  So I’m going to be starting with sign language, which I will be learning as well!  I’ll probably start this next week when there are more volunteers, as this week I will be running the art room.

I got the full orientation to Yanapay this time, which was very helpful.  I learned a lot more about the kids lives and the general societal problems, which are deep and overwhelming, and more about Yuri´s philosophy and approach to attempting to change the kids lives and break the cycles and attitudes, etc.

Other activities of mine this week included a Peruvian dinner with the Spanish school, a Peruvian dinner with the Explorer’s club, and running around like crazy from one side of Cusco to the other and back several times a day in order to keep up with all my meetings, volunteering, and activites.

There are some new photos posted on Flickr.  Their color looks horrible on this computer, so I´m not sure if they are truly off or not.  I’ve discovered photo management is extremely time consuming, especially with the large files from the new camera.  I’ve been at it for 2.5 hours and still don’t have them up.  So I’m not sure how I’m going to do it.


I wrote in my essay how once outside of Cusco´s center, the buildings start to shed their facades to reaveal the earthen material beneath.  It seems that some are in even more critical condition.

Volver a Cusco


Coca leaves

I have safely arrived in Cusco, and have started to settle back into life here. I endured a self-inflicted 6 hour layover at the Lima airport, and after 11 departures and arrivals to that airport, I still don´t know who its namesake, Jorge Chavez, is. The scenery on the flight to Cusco was incredible, with snow-capped mountains poking through the clouds right below us.

My first day included a visit to the Spanish school to take care of the paperwork, plus a surprise test to measure my level. Even without much sleep, I think I did as well as I could. I shopped for some groceries and necessities, and discovered they were out of my favorite Quaker chocolate porridge. Sadly, the next day, even the little tag for the chocolate variety was gone. And, as I can´t seem to buy anything without having a return, I successfully returned a faulty deodorant stick whose little wheel just spun around fruitlessly.

Later the first night, the volunteer coordinator for the Pilcopata organization, Erica, came by to see me and we had dinner at the Cafe Yanapay, where I saw Yuri, the organizer of Aldea Yanapay. She seems to be doing a great job, and has the knowledge and experience to run the program.  All in all, a pretty productive day for not having any real sleep for 20 hours.

On Tuesday I returned to Aldea Yanapay.  I was early, and as I waited outside, a woman came by to check out the place.  It was virtually the same experience I had when I first visited, with me in the ´welcoming, experienced volunteer´role this time!  Hopefully I´ll see her back there.  Sadly, I discovered that nearly all the kids are new.  I´m not sure what happened to all the kids from last year…  Only Clara, the deaf girl, was there.  She recognized me immediately, and ran to give me a big hug.  I had printed out a huge photo of her and another girl playing jumprope, so she was thrilled when I gave her that.  Yuri renovated the building next door to the school for the older kids, which seems to work out well since there are so many (adorable) little ones.  My favorite little girl and her sister seem to have moved away :(

So I´ve already met a ton of people – the new volunteers, people at the school and at their weekly dinner, and I can´t wait to get back into it all!


Finger Puppets – perro, chanchito, penguino, mono, gato

Limited Hammock Accommodations

I just reserved a hammock, for September, on the support boat for

The Great River Amazon Raft Race 2008!

There are the luxury accommodations for viewing the race on the “Dawn on the Amazon III,” the half price accommodations on the “Dawn on the Amazon I,” and then there are the cramped, uncomfortable accommodations aboard the support boat, where I reserved a spot. This should be an incredible opportunity for photos and stories…plus a really cheap Amazon cruise!


Actual hammocks on the support boat of last year’s race. Photo by Niko Kyriakou.  His wonderful story of the race and additional photos (such as “Raft number 13 before the storm tore it apart on Friday”) are HERE

HERE is a nice blog entry about the race by Bill Grimes.

Radiant blues, yellows, reds, and greens

If you are in or near New York City, don’t miss this amazing exhibit on display at the Met until Sept. 1, 2008:

Radiance from the Rain Forest: Featherwork in Ancient Peru

featherwork ancient peru amazon inca

featherwork ancient peru amazon inca

ancient peru inca

featherwork ancient peru inca

featherwork ancient peru inca amazon

featherwork ancient peru amazon

See more of my photos from it HERE (sorry I didn’t correct the white balance of these snaps back when I took them).

The exhibit inspired me to get a bunch of colorful (non-Amazonian artificially dyed turkey) feathers to bring along to Peru for craft projects!

And don’t forget to check out my “Modest Request” and “Fruits of My Labor” pages above!