Undwinding in Cusco

Fountain in Plaza de Armas
Well, it’s my last full day out in the Inca City of Cusco.  What to do, what to do? It’s nice to have a wee bit of down time from being on the go go go. I started my morning having breaky with the Japanese backpackers who I meant yesterday morning.  Oh Cusco is the center of the Inca world in the Peruvian Andes.  The city has the shape of a jaguar & was developed under the Inca ruler Pachacutec into a complex urban center with distinct religious & administrative functions that was surrounded by clearly delineated areas for agricultural, artisan & industrial production. By the 16th century Spanish Conquerors came & took over the area, they did leave the basic structures of the Inca Empire, but built Baroque churches & palaces over the ruins.  It’s quite the charming city with nooks & crannies to explore, that I’ve been so busy exploring the rest of the Inca world that I really haven’t seen too much of this charming city.  I have to admit that it’s a wee bit on the touristy sides with people selling you everything under the sun on the streets from massages, tours to Andes goods.   It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site Cusco UNESCO , the flag is a rainbow cos the rainbow was a symbol of the Incas & the people are friendly here.
Bug's Line the Streets
It’s been rather a relaxing day.  I have just roamed around the streets seeing what it will bring.  I found myself in an art museum & also in the famous coca museum. If I had Kiwi with me she would be in heaven.  According to her chocolate is another food group.  I will have to admit. Sad to say that there was no "free samples" just a history lesson.  It was a small but quite nice to be honest.  I found out that the Mayan’s first used cocoa & then it was brought to South America.  Columbia & Peru are the world’s largest producer of coca, but it’s sad to say that these countries are the largest exporters of the “white lines” trade.  Christopher Columbus brought coca to Spain from Honduras & only was it use as a spicy drink for the nobility before it caught on to the rest of Europe. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s early 1900’s that chocolate became mainstream to the masses with Cadbury & other confectionery companies making a name for themselves. Chocolate is good for you, but it’s the sugar that makes it bad that adds the extra calories. Switzerland leads the world with the export of the Peruvian Coca market in 2007 & many other European countries are not far behind. European chocolate is superb & also the organic trade is becoming a new trend.  This museum was quite small, but very lovely.  I learned a lot during my time there.  Also the coca plant grows in the jungle & the Europeans brought the seeds from South America to their colonies in Africa.  I was surprise to learn that China did not catch on with the chocolate trade, more foreigners in China consumer more chocolate than the Chinese do. Also, the coca plant is good for many other goods besides, chocolate, coca butter is found in beauty products & it is also an excellent source of fertilizer & natural energy. There are so many beautiful things that come from plants that one must look back at the source of these things to find the true healing properties. It was a lovely find.
I stumbled back into a store that had a familiar aurora to it for me.  It wasn’t until I got speaking with the lady when I was buying a post card to send to a friend who told me the owner was Japanese.  The store definitely had a Japanesey feel to it & reminded me of something that I would pop in Matsue.  I got speaking with some Japanese tourist today.  I said “Amerika karamashita” to them & asked if they were “genki”. I quite enjoyed my time looking around. 
Andes Women's
Today I finally had a chance to make it to the Om Cusco Om Cucsco Volunteering project for a FREE vegetarian lunch of dhal & a noodle dish, but of course leaving a donation for the children’s charity. I got chatting with the nice Indian owner again. So I had a proper “dirrty curry” as a friend of mine would say.  I also found myself having a huge fantastic mixture of papaya, pineapple & bananas smoothie for three soles while I was waiting for lunch to be ready in a couple shops up from the restaurant. I kind ended my day with a relaxing one hour massage for ten dollars. Overall Cusco has been charming for sure.  You never know what your going to expect until you walk out that door & take advantage of what is before you & embrace it to make the best of the situation.

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