The trekkers left this morning to explore the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I stayed behind. In a couple of days I will take a train to the town near by, Aquas Calientes, and then meet them at the top of Machu Picchu.
I slepted in. I woke up and changed rooms from the double to the single. Oddly the single is twice the size and has two beds. Once that was taken care of I headed to a local cafe for some cafe con leche and a bit of reading. It is one of my favorite past times when I travel is to hang a bit and just see life in a city. After cafe, I stumbled upon a beautiful old Convent. It is called the Convento de Merced. Merced is the patron saint of Cucso. I got a guided tour which was totally worth it. (Speaking of worth it. I paid for a private tour guide and admittance to the convent and it was less than $10. It is unreal how inexpensive this place is.)
It had been awhile since I really took the time to connect the female worship in Catholicism with that of ancient female pluralistic worshippers. The image of the mother is so center particularly in Latin America and this was evident in the paintings and even in the decor of this convent. I should mention that there are no nuns here and there never has been but they use this word for the place where the priests and monks would reside as well. In good ol´Spanish colonial style everything is decadent; lined with gold, made of pure marble, stolen and rebuilt in the name of God. I wish I could post pictures. It was amazing.
After I sat had some lunch at a balcony shop and watched the small children dressed in traditional garb eat ice cream as they lined the street for a parade that will be a precusor to the festival late next week.
I swung by the local market which was wild because the raw meats, raw chickens hanging, piles of fruits, piles of potatoes (which are originally a Peru thing, who knew?) little smoothie like stands everything is packed and people are certainly enjoying their late afternoon snacks. I, on the other hand ended my afternoon in the spa.
I enterd the Santa Clara Center of Health which apparently is a spa and a dentist. I was escorted up to the massage room which was blaring Enya from a speaker and instructed to take off all my clothes other than my underwear which is standard procedure when getting a massage. Once that task was accomplished then I was to slip in under the blanket on the table and put my face in the comfy foam hole thing. The masseuse enters the room. She places an additional heated towel over my back and begins. Everything was good. She did a very nice job. From the legs to thighs, to back to arms and neck...perfection. It is finely time for me to turn over. In the States there are usually a couple of sheets on you, so no areas of your body are ever exposed. I turned over and she pulls down the sheet and there I am. There I am with my Peruvian masseure and my chest. The Enya seemed to fade and for a complete minute I was in shock. What is one to do in this moment? I am out there. Before the panic completely ensues she places the warm towel over my top half and continues on with the massage. I can´t help but wonder how many she has seen? Is this the norm? And why am I so...prudish in Peru when in the States, not so much? We finish out 1 1/2 hour relaxtion massage which set me back a total of $15. Unreal.
Now I am currently in the lounge with some Brit blokes watching a little footy and laughing about their remarks about the Queen.