First impressions

Six days have gone by since I arrived in Cusco. On Monday, I started my Spanish lessons at the Amigos Spanish School where a nice atmosphere runs through the corridors. There are only four students in school this week : Sara (my classmate, she’s Hungarian and lives in Paris), Helmut (from Austria) and Olivia (from Sweden, who appears to be my room mate). The school is run by Jesus, he’s surrounded by a great team of teachers and one assistant. One good thing about this school is that even though we are only four students, we are separated into two different classes, so it’s like having private lessons ! The other good thing is that the teachers do not speak much English so we have to speak Spanish. Sometimes it’s quite hard to understand what they’re saying but as the days go by, it gets a little easier. Some words are very similar to French (thank God) but the pronunciation is a nightmare for me ! I practise my vocabulary and do my homework every evening when I get home.

The description of a day in Cusco

I get up in between 6:30 and 7:00 o’clock in the morning then grab a shower, eat some breakfast (odd one the other day, we had avocado and onion sandwiches at 7 am, it tasted good but it was a little hardcore for me). Then I walk to school which is situated 15 minutes away. The classes start at 8:00 am and finish at 12:00 with a 30 minutes break at 9:45. For lunch we usually go the restaurant or go back home if we plan to go and eat outside in the evening. This first week, I booked some extra lessons in the afternoon so I didn’t get to visit the city much. The only site I’ve visited was on Monday with Olivia and Sara. We went to the “Monasterio de Santo Domingo y templo del Sol Coricancha” – fabulous architecture !

On Wednesday afternoon, Jesus took all four of us for a “real Cusco city tour”. Rafael the driver (a friend of Jesus) drove us to the southern part of the city. There, we went and visited a factory of Adobe bricks (not the computer programme). The workers make the bricks out of earth mixed with water and straw. Then, they put them in the sun to dry for several days. The bricks are used on the building of the traditional Peruvian houses. They are suppose to be warmer than cement. After this, we went and visited a primary school (which has probably one of the best views over the city), Jesus explained the school curriculum in Peru to us.

Want to taste a typical Peruvian drink ? Try “Chicha” (not the kind of “shisha” we know), Jesus took us to this little restaurant (“Buibui” en français) where they make this odd drink. It is made of corn and is fermented for a few days, it tastes a bit like beer but worse (my point of view). Then, Dominga welcomed us to her home and showed us around the house. When I say house, it’s not the kind of house that you and I would live in as it is just bricks and earth on the ground. Dominga has a shop where you can buy drinks and food and she also sells chickens. She showed us where the chickens where kept, so we had to climb some steep steps and had to be careful not to bang our head on planks of wood (yes, the Peruvians are small). After this we had a little chat with her and said goodbye.

We headed next to Molino Market where you can buy all the usual Chinese junk (games for kids, electronics etc.). You can also buy all the alchool you want (didn’t find Suze tough). We finished the tour in a restaurant and we tasted Peruvian doughnuts “picarones”. The thing I would say about them is : Dear Americans, you can pack your Dunkin’ Donuts away, this is way better ! In the end, I want to thank Jesus for taking the time to show us this part of the city as I would probably never have been if it weren’t for him. He’s a very nice and interesting chap and I’m glad to know him. Good luck with your marathon in Japan, Jesus !

This weekend, is going to be packed. I’m going to visit the scared vallee of the Incas with Sara so we’ll have to get up early and we’re probably going to spend the whole day visiting the ruins. Really looking forward to it. On Sunday, it’s the presidential elections and Jesus has kindly suggested we accompany him to the vote office. I guess it’s going to be some kind of experience !

Thanks for reading this post! =)

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