A Travellerspoint blog

January 2013

Cusco and Beyond!

So we were going to talk all about each and every day that we spent in Cusco, but just recently Jessica had an epiphany that this blog is not about that. We’re not here to tell a timeline of our events or everything that happened; we’re here to talk about life and soul searching, and sometimes certain moments in time and ideas are much more important than others. So with that said, here is a very, very brief update to bring you all up to speed… then in the next posting, we'll get into some deep stuff :)

We got to Cusco after an eight hour bus ride. It’s a beautiful city with many Incan and pre-Incan ruins that many of the old Spanish churches are built on. We still felt like tourists with dollar signs above our heads for the rest of our tour, it was extremely frustrating, and we were happy to finally be done after Machu Picchu. We saw some amazing ruins in Cusco, like the Temple of the Moon, and then went on to the Sacred Valley to see Pisac and Ollantaytambo, which have huge stones that are so perfectly cut and fit together, it is unexplainable by modern standards. Lastly, we went on to Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, Elijah got sick for the first time on our way to Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of Machu Picchu). He had a slight fever, diarrhea, and vomited once. We decided not to go up to Machu Picchu with our group at 6 AM because it was raining a lot, but waited until he was doing better around 11 AM and the rain had stopped. We only had a couple hours up there; however, it was still amazing and very expansive. The most impressive part was the location of the ruins; to fathom how and why the Incans (or pre-Incans) would built such a site in the middle of the jungle on a mountain is very difficult to conceive.
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After our tour ended, we head to a Pachamama Earth Festival on December 20th and 21st. It was located in the Sacred Valley as well; Tracy was able to participate in his first yoga class and a ceremony to celebrate the 21st. There, we ran into Sol, Luna, Skitch and Ryan again. We also met some other amazing people there too; it was a great couple of days. After the festival, we headed back to Cusco and Skitch, instead of going back to California with his friends, decided to stay in Cusco and arrange plans to sell his possessions in the US. We ended up hanging out with him, Nancy, and Maggie from the festival for about a week in Cusco. We also met up with Jessica’s cousin, Luke, finally after being in the same country for over a month. He was staying with a host family just outside of Cusco and taking some Spanish classes, as he waited for his girlfriend (now fiance!) Courtney to arrive.
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We were staying in the San Blas district in Cusco, which is known for their artsy, hippie scene. As we explored the area, we looked forward to better living. We knew we didn’t want to keep living out of hostels and city life was getting to us. We started looking into communities in the Sacred Valley, and ended up at one called “El Molle” in Pisac. It’s sort of a travelling community, with only one person living there permanently, but they have a couple gardens, a horse, a community room, and a kitchen. We decided to stay there for about a month, so we can rest, relax, and figure out where our journey will take us.
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So that brings us to now. We were in Pisac at El Molle for three weeks, and now are in Calca, a smaller town about 25 minutes from Pisac, and we have enjoyed our down time. Jessica couldn’t believe how much she missed cooking and baking that she has been doing it non-stop since she got here; she’s made everything from Tikka Masala to Cinnamon Rolls to Granola Bars and it’s been wonderful! Baking at this altitude (8,000 feet above sea level) has made things a little more difficult though. Luckily we were able to learn some tricks from a local guy, Jose, who bakes bread for a living, and now we can successfully make yeast breads here. Cinnamon Rolls, yum!!
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Now that we’re at a place where we can actually think for a moment, we’ve been contemplating what exactly we’re doing here in Peru. We know we don't just want to travel to travel. We don't like living out of hostels and constantly moving. We want to be somewhere for awhile, but we weren't sure if that "somewhere" was here. We've also met numerous people along this journey who are settling in Peru and a lot looking for somewhere to build community. However, we don't know if we're ready to "settle" and build a life here; we just realized there's a whole world out there waiting for us! Yet every day more and more opportunities open up to us here, from talk of cheap land to working with the locals on permaculture projects. It's really exciting and exactly what we want to do. But its also hard to make a decision to put down roots in the first place we've traveled to. We feel a pull in both directions, one to move on to Argentina and one to stay here.

Anyway we're putting that dilemma aside for now. We realize we really just need to "let go" and let life take us on a journey, and everything will work out the way it's supposed to. That's a lot easier to say than do though! We did finally decide to stay here for awhile, at least one more month, maybe three. Now we’re staying at a small microfarm in Calca, called Casa Girasol (or Sunflower House in English). There's only about one gringo (white guy) that lives in town, and we're going to live with him in his house to help take care of his dogs, clean and cook a little. He also has about 5-10 volunteers/wwoofers (in a separate house) that live on the property who take care of the farm. We're really excited because he seems to love farming and food just as much as we do!
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Well, stay tuned! We don’t have internet where we are staying (hopefully soon!), so it may be awhile until the next posting…

Posted by jessp2386 08:45 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

Puno Continues: Part 2

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First, we want to begin with explaining a bit about our tour. So we stumbled upon it one day before we left, after hearing about Jorge Luis Delgado from our midwife, Sarah, who had been on a tour with him in Peru 10 years ago. The title of the tour was “Peru Portal Tour 12/12/12,” and it was about bringing in the new era of consciousness that the Mayans and other cultures have predicted. Also on this tour, we got to see many of the ancient sacred sites in Peru, like Machu Picchu (more on that later!), so it sounded great to us! And no, we don’t think the world is going to end, but we do believe that people are starting to “wake up” to realizing that this world holds a lot more than modern science and every day life would let on to. We also believe that indigenous cultures and ancient civilizations had technology, knowledge and powers that the majority don’t have today. And we believe this new awakening is based on love, as opposed to money, power, or achievement. To support this, we’ve already met so many people traveling and living in Peru that are completely changing the way they are living (like us!) to live more in harmony with nature, God, and each other. It’s quite inspiring!
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Okay so as we said last time, we had just started our tour on December 8th, and were already slightly disappointed in our hotel. We are still learning to let go of expectations, as we had very high ones for this tour. So as we roamed about the hotel, we began to meet other members of our tour group. It was actually quite confusing because as we found out, there was more than one tour company that individuals booked through, so everyone’s tour was slightly different with some starting the same day as us, some started a few days before and some a few days after. We later learned that Jorge, our “tour guide” (he was never actually our tour guide to any site), had about 4-6 different groups that he was orchestrating over the following weeks. After eating lunch that first day, we learned that we had a small group of about 15 people that would be led by Jorge’s nephew, Broz. He was actually very knowledgeable and we ended up enjoying our time with Broz much more than the few moments we spend with Jorge. Jorge seemed to just be the organizer of all these groups and appeared very ‘commercial’ to us; he was very short with us (meaning Jessica and Tracy specifically), but others, like our friend Justin, he seemed to connect with more. We didn’t really mind because we met so many amazing people in our tour group, it more than made up for the fact that Jorge wasn’t what we expected.

That first day was so filled with positive, exciting energy that Elijah actually only napped twice that day; and if you know this kid like we do, he normally naps at least four, sometimes five, times a day! Yet he wasn’t even fussy; he just loved meeting and interacting with all the people. We also got to spend some time meditating; the hotel had a labyrinth and some beautiful meditation areas outside with huge quartz crystals everywhere. It was very peaceful.

The next day and the first official day of “touring,” we went to the Molloko Vortex, south of Puno. On the site, there are 4-5 different chulpas which are these huge stone cylindrical or square towers. The individual stones that create the chulpas fit so perfectly together they don’t even need mortar! Many locals believe that this site was built by the Incas as a cemetery, but we were told it was a sacred site much older than the Incas, built to facilitate the releasing of our heavy energies. So we did a ceremony to cleanse ourselves and to rid ourselves of any bad or heavy energy we were holding onto and give them to Pachamama, Mother Earth. We both had a very good experience there, and were able to let go of some negative feelings we were holding onto.
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The morning of the 10th, we woke up for breakfast and all of a sudden, Elijah grabbed Jessica’s banana and started eating it! Before this, he never had an interest in food. Later that day, he also ate some sweet potato and regular potato. That day for touring, we went to Copamaya, a sacred mountain on the coast of Lake Titicaca. We climbed very high up the side of this mountain to do ceremonies at three different altars, representing the Snake (lower world), the Puma (middle world), and the Condor (upper world). Initially Tracy was very afraid of the climbing because he has always had a fear of heights since he fell off the high dive when he was seven, but during the first ceremony he let Pachamama have his fear and he climbed fearlessly to the next two altars. It was another great day!
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The next day, we went to the imfamous Aramu Muru doorway. It’s a “doorway” that has been carved into the side of a cliff with two inverted pillars on each side of it. The history behind it is that Aramu Muru, one of the last Incas before the Spanish took over, had the Golden Disk, a sacred object from the lost continent of Lemuria. And to keep it from the Spaniards, he hid it in Lake Titicaca, then he himself disappeared through this doorway and entered another dimension. Now we didn’t disappear through the doorway, nor did anyone from our tour group, but we did experience a huge amount of positive loving energy there. It was very intense and wonderful. There was definitely a feeling of connectedness and oneness among everyone there and everyone in the world. Afterwards, our small group came to pray together, but Elijah decided he was hungry right at that moment, so Jessica went to step away. However, everyone encouraged her to join in by sitting in the middle of the group circle and breastfeeding Elijah there. It was a very peaceful and loving prayer, and Jessica felt even more connected with Pachamama, Mother Earth, as she realized how important the motherly role is in everyone’s lives.
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Finally the day came, 12/12/12, and we were to do a ceremony on Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca to usher in the new era. It was a beautiful sunny day and we spent it on the beach of the island. Most everyone in the group reported intense energy and love during the ceremony. It was cleansing and refreshing. Jessica did spend most of the time trying to make sure Elijah didn’t eat too much sand though; however, she didn’t regret not being able to participate. Rather than separating meditation and prayer from everyday life, we’ve come to learn that life itself should be a meditation, which really means being present in every moment. It has definitely changed the way we look at our time spent taking care of Elijah; he really is amazing and we feel lucky to be his parents. After the ceremony on the island, Tracy participated in an Ayahuasca ceremony with a shaman from the jungle of Peru named Jesus. He had to fast for the whole day other than water. There were a total of 12 people in the ceremony on 12/12/12(the number of people was not planned). Tracy drank a dose and a half, as he vomited first out of the group and might not have had the medicine in him as long as necessary. He felt many strong feelings of love and interconnectedness. He didn’t have the strong visions that some experience under Ayahuasca. It was a very pleasant experience and he came out of it with the message that he is perfect the way he is and there is much strength in silence. He was told that he doesn’t have to perform outrageous feats or have amazing spiritual experiences to be doing what he is meant to do here. The shaman reported that Pachamama (Mother Earth) was very happy with us after the ceremony and stated that several hummingbirds had circled throughout the room. Tracy was also told by another participant that she saw Pachamama place a flower on him when he was in a trance. It was all very interesting and it provided much inner growth.
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On our final day in Puno, we visited Sillustani, another site with many large chulpas, similar to the Molloko Vortex, but this site was much larger. There feelings of love, unity, and oneness resonated within our group again. It was another great day of inner reflection and meditation. On a very different note, Elijah got his first tooth! It actually came up in the morning and then by the end of the day, went back down. Apparently that can happen. Don’t worry though, it will make it’s appearance again soon!
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So as our time in Puno neared an end, we looked forward to the many more wonderful experiences we would have as our tour continued in Cusco and Machu Picchu. But before that, we celebrated with the different tour groups at our hotel. We all enjoyed live traditional Peruvian music and dance. And Elijah went to sleep on Tracy’s back in the Ergo, so we were able to stay up later than normal! It was a great night spent with our new multicultural spirit family! We wish we could tell you all about each one of the amazing people we met on this tour, but that would probably take too long because their each that special. So we’ll have to summarize a bit! We really felt like we all were meant to be on this tour together; it was like we were family from the beginning. We miss you all so much already (we apologize if we forget anyone!): Joanne, Adan, David, Justin, Bonita, Paul, Rita, Liza, and Hildegard! Also, we miss everyone else who was part of the other tour groups, like our Aussies, Judy, Vicki and Sue, as well as many others, Lino, Leslie, Alan, Broz, Noel, etc. we’ll be seeing you all again someday as we make our travels around the world ! Stayed tuned for more on our tour in Cusco….
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Posted by jessp2386 14:24 Archived in Peru Comments (1)

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