Monday, July 7, 2008

I´m Feeling Better...

For those of you who have been concerned, I´m feeling a lot better. The antibiotics the doctor gave me have worked amazingly and I feel now like Thursday was just a really really bad dream.

Last week Wednesday was a great day at the orphanage. We had some additional volunteers who were there to do some landscaping and some of the boys from our brother orphanage came to help out. For the Oostburgians reading this blog, it felt a lot like Kool to be Kind, for the Whitewaterians it reminded me of Make A Difference Day. For everyone else, it was just a lot of fun. It was also the last day of two of the volunteers and they brought ice cream for everyone. It was quite the treat and the girls really enjoyed it.

Heidi is in the middle painting a bench with the help of two of the girls

This reminded me of Grandpa´s gardening tools, though not quite as primitive.

On Saturday, Heidi, Katie, Natalie and I decided to check out a museum I had read about in Frommer´s called Templo de Merced. It was a really old, really beautiful religious building that has been partially turned into a museum though other parts still serve as the living quarters for monks. There was a lot of religious art work form the 15th and 16th centuries and it was interesting to see how indigenous artists depicted the religious stories. The museum also is the home of the second largest pearl in the world, which was cool. My favorite part was a set of three rooms that had been painted using all natural dyes, like berries and roots. The artist was a monk who depicted heaven, purgatory and hell in different ways.

Katie, Heidi, me, and Natalie at the museum

Another shot of the museum courtyard

After visiting the museum we decided to pamper ourselves a little bit. Heidi and I got hour long massages for around 8 dollars and Natalie and Katie got pedicures. Once we all met up again we went out to Jack´s Cafe, a popular gringo restaurant.

On Sunday, Katie, Heidi and I went on a tour of the Sacred Valley, the area surronding Cuzco. Our first stop was a llama and alpaca petting ¨zoo¨. They also give demonstrations on how the Andean people still use natural dyes to make products and showed us how different textiles were made.

I still don´t know the difference between llamas and alpacas.

This one looked like a cow.
A demonstration of traditional textile making
After the ¨zoo¨ we went to a famous market in Peru, called the Pisac market. It is huge and only open three days a week. We only had forty five minutes here so I did some quick shopping and made some good purchases.

After the Pisac market we drove about forty minutes to Urumba where we had dinner. We ate at an amazing buffet restaurant which featured cerviche (marinated fish), alpaca, sushi, and two whole tables of deserts. Katie and Heidi both said that the lunch alone made the whole trip worth it.The restaurant

The gardens outside of the restaurant

After lunch, we journeyed to Ollyantambo, the site of Incan ruins. Ollyantambo is one of the poorest villages in Peru and they have only recently received running water. Five years ago, they were still using water from the mountains that they would get from troughs that run through the streets.

We visited a traditional house and saw the way that most people in the Andes live. The house only had one room, in which five people lived. Oh, a lot of guinea pigs lived in it too.

The guinea pigs

The kitchen area

The pantry

After visiting the house we hiked to the Ollyantambo ruins. In Incan times, this area was used as a defense post and guarded Cuzco from enemies. They aren´t as well perseved as the ruins at Machu Picchu since the Spanish discovered Ollyantambo and completely ransacked them.

After hiking through the ruins, two little girls sang for us in exchange for a propina (tip). They were really cute.I´ve been trying to get a good picture of this mountain since arriving here... I think I finally got it.

When we arrived home yesterday, we had two new people living in our house, a brother and sister from California. They seem really nice though now we have a very full house with six volunteers plus Yoni and Wendy.

On Thrusday, Katie and I are leaving for a three day/two night trip to the jungle. So I´m going to rest up these next few days in order to be healthy. This afternoon, I´m returning to the orphanage and I´m excited to start painting again.

More later...


Anonymous said...

Prayers answered! Glad you are better!
Aunt Jane

Caitlin said...

Frommers never lies ...

i used to have a guinea pig