Sleep, Bum, Sleep

June 2

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We slept. A lot. Thanks to the "do not disturb" sign at the door we woke up just before the breakfast buffet closed. From breakfast we dragged ourselves back to the room, all achy and tired, and continued with a nap until well past noon. What a relaxing day! Finally we dug ourselves out of bed and went to the Inca archeological museum. There we could see many objects ranging from pots, knives, to paintings and early photographs from the days of the Machu Picchu discovery. Two German couples were looking at a wall size painting of stars, interpreting the constellations with clearly pensive and serious expressions, and with great certainty placing Leo and Virgo right next to the Southern Cross. It was hard to restrain myself.

From the museum we went for lunch - after all, it was middle of the afternoon. We went to "Le Papillon" based on my request. The food was excellent, and so was the view. We could see a young man quietly sitting on the steps to the church next door, his arms spread wide, symbolically attached to a plastic bar. He didn't say anything, he didn't hold a sign, but was just peacefully sitting there without people paying much attention. Suddenly a truck which looked more like a cattle carrier than anything else pulled up, and out jumped about six policemen with helmets and went after the guy, confiscating his plastic bar. This turned out to be less peaceful, and the guy ended up running after the truck across the square, as the truck was stuck in traffic. The police were clearly in the defensive, but eventually prevailed. This was very much to the distress of the Swiss couple sitting right next to us. Their already somewhat charged conversation about a presentation which the woman had to give turned even more polarized when the issue of police brutality came up. There was indeed not much justice in this police action, but far from brutality. As the service at the Papillon was rather slow I got to enjoy the neighbor's discussions for more than I really cared for.

Click on the first image to start a slide show for this day (33 pictures)
Images shown below are a small selection.
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After lunch we went back to the hotel where we decided to do something about our laundry. We washed our own socks, which are synthetic and dry quickly, but some cotton stuff was sitting around with unclear future. We categorically refused to pay the US$6 per pants, $1 per sock, or $3 per T-shirt that the hotel would have charged us. It's a matter of principle, people. So we packed things into our small backpack and went to one of the many full service laundry places around the main square. I wished we didn't wash the socks the previous night. Whole backpack of clothes for 20 Soles, or about $7. The shop keeper asked us for the hostel where we were staying. When we replied "Monasterio" she was clearly puzzled, as she probably doesn't get that many customers from five star hotels.

Thirsty and yearning for something sweet I purchased a well chilled bottle of Coke, as it turned out from the freezer. Remembering my dear friend Brian with his sweet affection for supercooled drinks, only to regret their purchase minutes later, we sat down in the still sunny center of the square, while I slowly drank the slush. We were approached by numerous sellers of postcards, paintings, and other local goodies, most of them young kids. One of them was very talkative, and despite the very obvious upcoming outcome of his sales pitch he stayed for a while and chatted. He started by asking where we are from, to which I responded "San Francisco". Boy was quick at comeback, with "ah, that's in the USA, in California. El presidente no good, very bad. Old presidente, Bill Clinton, much better. Also had girlfriend, Monica Lewinski". Well, I had nothing to disagree with, really. Speaking of Bush, he didn't make the front page in the past few days here, but he did make a few walls as graffiti. Let's say it was pretty clear that the author didn't like him much.

We had dinner at the Inka Grill, where the food was pretty decent but not stellar; the live band made up for what the food and service were missing. After dinner, we took a walk through the narrow streets of Cusco and ended the day with sorting the images downstairs in the hotel lobby by the fireplace.

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