Walking around the streets of Cusco is like being inside movie. As a filmmaker who scrutinizes each scene, I find myself rubber-necking almost constantly. The colors, the textures, the cacophony and sharpness in the area are hypnotic and mesmerizing.
I stopped carrying my camera while exploring since it made me a target. Not for robbery, the streets here are very safe, but for vendors and artists and shoe shine boys all enthusiastically trying to earn my attention and dollars.
Also, all the children here want there photos taken, not for money but for posterities sake. They dive in front of the lens and shout, Photo! Photo!
I could wander for hours and never get bored…. but I have a film to finish so I better get back to translating our footage.
Today was a strange day. I spent the morning sorting through footage then decided I needed some fresh air. I prepared for a free walking tour of the city but when I left the apartment it was pouring rain. The weather at high altitude can change drastically and instantly so you always have to be ready. I had my rainjacket in my pack and pulled it on as I rushed for the bus. When I arrived downtown I had a few blocks to walk before reaching the main square, Plaza de Armas, and with each step it was treacherously slippery. The other day I had taken my boots to a shoe repair to have them resoled but now it was like skating on cobblestones. I could barely walk. They were slick!
I had been searching for suitable shoes for hiking so since I was downtown I decided to check out a few stores. (At least until the rain stopped.) Funny thing is that my feet are size 9 (40-41) and most Peruvians are much smaller so the selection isn´t that great. Luckily I discovered a North Face outlet that catered to tourists and found a perfect pair on special. I stuffed the boots in my backpack and exited the store under a clearing sky. (I guess refurbishing my boots was a good try but they were getting pretty worn and I needed proper foot gear for the treks ahead) My timing was good on the weather but I had missed the 2.5 hour walking tour of the city. No worries they have it every day!
By the time I got to the square everything was pretty much dry. The snap dragons had grown about a foot since my arrival 2 weeks ago. I was reminded that it was spring and the beginning of the rainy season so everthing was going to start sprouting like crazy.
Everything always looks very well maintained but this is the first time I have actually seen a man working in the gardens. Maybe they do it mostly at night? That´s when the garbage pickers and sidewalk sweepers (all done by hand) are working.
I wanted to take some photos today in the main square and around the touristy areas but I kept getting approached by the peddlers. Hard to take natural shots with mobs of locals selling key chains and hats… I loved the scene above though. A weaver demonstrating her skills with a local girl looking on. The textiles are truly incredible and very time consuming to make by hand.
I left the main square and headed away from the selling zone… Then, I discovered this place. I arrived purely by accident because I was looking for a bathroom and went through a doorway into a huge courtyard that I must have passed a dozen times before. It looked like the type of place tour groups would be brought to. I got mobbed here too and had to pay a woman to take my photo after she handed me a piece of lettuce and forced me to feed her dirty Alpaca or Llama or…?
I noticed that the other wooly creatures didn´t have the same teeth as this guy. Not sure if that´s normal or a really bad overbite. In any event, he wasn´t even that hungry and I had to literally force my $3 (soles) piece of lettuce at him.
On my way out of the tourist trap zone I was approached by a woman who wanted me to have my photo taken sitting in the sun god´s throne. I refused on the basis that the cat was comfortably occupying it. I don´t know how these people make a living…? One Peruvian Sole equals about 40 cents Canadian… and that´s what they usually get. Doesn´t seem much for all the effort them put out.
I got back home just before the sun dipped behind the mountains. I keep waiting for a good sunset but you rarely get rich colors here since the air is so thin and remarkably clean. I thought the lens flare was kind of interesting in this angle though.
Back to more editing tomorrow! Starting on the rough picks then translation for the second segment.
Be sure to check back on the previous days if you missed them. Also, if you have any questions or comments about the project, we´d love to hear from you.