Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Travel Log, Thursday, June 10, Pisac

The road from Cuzco to Pisac is well-paved, but half washed out in several places, as the ground beneath it was loosened and washed away by the heavy rains in January and February that closed Machu Pichu for a month and left several thousand tourists stranded. I learned from a lady in the Pisac tourist office that it also completely burried the nearby town of Taray and killed nine people there, and eight in Pisac. Although Machu Pichu made the news, the whole "Sacred Valley" was devasted.

Pisac is a lovely little town, nestled in the Andes, below Incan ruins of the same name. Although the main market day is Sunday, they also have a Thursday crafts market, so after a delicious, if non-typical, lunch (finished with a chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, and apple strudel) we shopped! Nikki bought some old money and a small stuffed llama; Mia bought a hat and some earings; Debby got a pendant and some earings; and Don got a sweater, a bracelet and a hat. The market occupies the entire central square, and although it ends around 5:00, workers were still disassembling the stalls and hauling away the wooden tables and bamboo and tarp walls when we came home from dinner at 8:00.

Most of the houses in town (and the ones we saw on the road from Cuzco) are made of adobe. Many have a mud and watttle facades, with images in relief of Inca symbols or themes. I saw a sign at the tourist office for a contest for the best facades, and a taxi driver later confirmed that this is a manner of developing local pride and to improve the town's image for the tourist trade.

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