Well, I am here in Cusco on the last leg of this trip.
I don't know what the delay was with the Habitat trip. I met the group at the airport and we went to Ilo as planned. We had a hotel with cable tv right on the ocean. It was a far cry from Momostenango. The project was 70 families building a whole village worth of houses. So, although it was a different situation, the work was very similar. I shovelled gravel and helped build walls, carried blocks, stuff like that.
There were some really cool people in Ilo and we had a good time. We even went disco dancing on Saturday. We ended up coming back to Arequipa and working for two days there. I was the queen of shovelling gravel into a cement mixer. I was given the title of Diva of Dirt or Sister Sucio. I don't know how everyone else stayed so clean.
In Arequipa, we went to see Juanita, the Ampato maiden. She is this creepily well preserved Incan mummy found on top of a mountain two years ago. She still has skin, teeth and hair. I was kind of freaky but interesting.
Cusco is beautiful but touristy as hell. I ran into the two women I had met from Ireland - the Marys - and hung out with them again. They are funny. I have met a lot of groovy people traveling around.
That past two days I have been in Machu Picchu! We went the first day with the whole Habitat gang. Then a few of us stayed over in this dumpy little town and caught the 6:30 bus to the top so we could watch the sun rise over the Andes. It was pretty amazing.
I'm traveling with a couple of women from Habitat and will have a few days on my own at the end of the trip. Tomorrow I'm going river rafting on the Urubamba river and Tuesday is Indepedence day here in Peru. Today I'm just trying to take it easy and chill out.
Last thing. The absolute nastiest thing I have eaten so far is cuy. That would be deep fried guinea pig!! When it comes to you the whole thing is splayed out on your plate and sliced up the back so you can dig in. The guinea pig has its mouth open in a silent scream and its little claws point in all directions on your plate. Once you get over the disturbing spectacle and try to eat it, it is the greasiest meat you have ever tried. Plus there is hardly any meat for all the work you have to do to scrape it from the bones, all the while trying to avoid the internal organs and the head. I didn't have my camera with me but someone else took a picture and said she would send me the copy. Foul.
I'll write again before I hit Lima. Oh yes, someone in my group called home and his mom said there were riots in Lima but we were in Machu Picchu and everything is fine with us. I'll have to try and watch the news.
Hope all is well.
PS - you can write back if you want, I'll be here in Cusco until the morning of August 1st. Pre Happy Birthday Ramon. One thing I am curious about, did Bowankus take the lofts down yet??