Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ir de Compras

Ahhhh! Shopping! Yes, shopping - the delight of women all around the world! (well, most anyway!)

Today Dawn and I went shopping. First we took a combi to a big open air market in the Wanchay Square. This market which takes place on Saturday mornings specializes in plants, plants, plants and furniture. Don't ask me why that combination but it was a very fun place! I bought a viney/philadendrum type plant and pot (my first step to decorating my mismatched room). It was heavy so we had to take a combi back to the house to drop it off (which was good because I could get rid of my extra sweatshirt - it's usually a good idea to take layers of clothes with you because you never know whether it's going to be chilly or hot and today I was hot!).

After that we got in another combi and headed to the center of Cusco. After changing money, we wandered up and down the cobblestone streets in search of the best deals. I bought the supplies to make a parrot sock puppet (you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find feathers!) and Dawn searched in vain for a pair of dressier black pants. Dawn got a haircut and I wandered around looking at other stores. We also got a blender for our housekeeper for her birthday next week. I think we went to about three different appliance stores, found what we thought was the best deal but when we came back the store we chose was closed!! Well, it turned out okay because we checked out another store and found an even better price. (in case you were wondering we spent 99 soles or $33 on the blender) The funny thing about stores here is that you have to pay one place and then give a receipt to someone who finds your item. It seems like it's adding another step but I guess it keeps the store from having to keep shelves stocked and take up extra space??

It was such a beautiful day to wander through the plazas. I wish that I had taken pictures but I was trying not to be too touristy. You always see tons of tourists in the center of town and I didn't want to attract too much attention to myself since I had just changed money. Anyway, in the center of Cusco are three main plazas: Plaza de Armas, Plaza Recocijo & Plaza San Francisco. Plaza Recocijo (Rejoicing) is my favorite so far because it has a beautiful fountain in the midde. Dawn and I ate lunch at the Pachacutec Cafe which has an original Incan stone wall inside. It was a very cute place and they had a sweet deal: lunch for 10 soles (about $3.18!). Our lunch included an appetizer (rocoto relleno - a stuffed pepper), Inka Soup (yummy soup with potatoes, lamb, fava beans & quinoa), a main dish (I got spaghetti alfredo which here is spaghetti with slices of ham in a cheesy alfredo sauce) and a glass of fresh papaya juice. What a great deal! I think it's easier to find cheap food without any atmosphere but this place definitely had both.

There were lots of people on the street hawking their wares. Would you like to buy this bracelet? Phone calls! Phone calls? Would you like some popcorn? Would you like to buy an umbrella? Would you like to give me money? It's like an onslaught. It makes me wish that I had darker skin and was slightly shorter. Okay, so I've never been tall but here at least I feel taller than most people. Thankfully Cusco is a city that is used to tourists so at least I don't get stared at all the time.

Whew! What a fun and tiring shopping day!

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