Sunday, 28 June 2009

... Peru: Shop Until I Drop

Despite a late night last night what with travelling back to Cuzco via Ollantaytambo by train/minivan and then hitting the main square to enjoy some food, I was up at the crack of dawn.  I think I must be used to it by now which kind of worries me as I ponder if this means I'll be getting up 2 hours earlier once I am back home thanks to the time difference!?! Breakfast and then packing were the first order of the day before my roomie & I headed out to Centre Artesenal Cuzco, the large artisan market at the end of town to basically shop until we dropped or at least shop until we began to worry about getting it all into our luggage for our trip home.

I've discovered that I can haggle like there is no tomorrow! My first attempt was in Aguas Calientes when I got back down from my wonderful trip to Machu Picchu.  All I have ever really wanted to purchase on this trip was an Alpaca blanket and I was able to score a real beauty.  But it didn't stop there.  My new found "talent" leads me to be coming home with two very stuffed bags thanks to the purchase of several chullo hats, an Alpaca jumper, two mugs, a rock decorated with the Nazca lines, a decorated plate, some bright pink Alpaca socks (I kid you not!), a couple of change purses, some alpaca gloves and not one but TWO Alpaca blankets.  Without going silly you can bargain with the seller for that "special price" they initially offer you. The market in Cuzco is also a neat place to wander around the many stalls looking at all the bright colourful textiles that the locals have made.

With only the morning left in Cuzco before flying back to Lima, a trip to the market was an ideal way to whittle away some time.  It's always the way on the last day of a trip I find - that bittersweetness of being sad your holiday is at an end but knowing you are ready for your comfort zone of home and just wanting it to not take you three flights to get there.  I stopped in at the LAN office here in Cuzco and managed to confirm my flights home... at last...  There had been an initial spot of panic last night when I was unable to get any of my confirmation codes to work online. Thankfully all is good now and I even had two of my three boarding passes before I'd even stepped into an airport.  In South America it is strongly recommended that you confirm all your flights at least 24 hours before heading home just because many of the carriers here are notorious for overbooking and also flights get cancelled like no-one's business.

My roomie had yet to try cuy, so on our way back to the hotel to catch our airport-bound cab we stopped for lunchSumaq Misky prides itself on its cuy options and for those of you who love Indian food they'll even do it Tandoori style! As I devoured a very tasty bean burger I sat across from a plate containing something with 4 little paws & a head complete with teeth kind of staring at me.  It's a little different looking at a baked guinea pig when you are not the one eating it, I mean had I been eating it I at least wouldn't have had to look it in the face. 

And now it's time to take my head out of the clouds, head back to sea-level and a +6hr wait at Jorge Chávez International Airport for my Int'l flight to LAX.

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