Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cusco and our energy

Our three days "stranded" in Cusco went pretty smoothly.  There was a big protest march the first day of the strike, with various groups of people seemingly protesting different things.  There were thousands of protesters marching up and down the streets, but it was all rather orderly, with huge sections of people holding signs and yelling slogans and all marching in neat single file up the street.  There were random piles of rocks to prevent people from driving, and once we saw a lone tire rolling down the street with no indication of where it had come from.

Most shops and tourist-oriented stores were closed, or at least it seemed that way at first.  The more we walked around, we would see the souvenier shops cautiously open their metal rolling doors part way, only to shut them again as soon as any of the protesters got near.  With some good timing, we were able to get into some and do a little shopping, although we got trapped in a few, having to wait until the protesters were safely past before we were allowed out again.

But that was just during the day.  In the evenings, all those same people were still out in the streets, but in colorful costumed parades instead.  Where the last time we were in Cusco we saw what seemed to be the dance recital for every young girl in Peru, this time we saw the exact same thing but for all the boys.  They were all dressed in various colorful traditional costumes, which we started to recognize after a while.  The youngest boys went first, and as the evening progressed the boys got older and more talented.  The favorite dance for them seemed to be the one where two boys would face off with long whips, and they would take turns taking swipes at their partners legs.  It clearly hurt, but not enough to stop being fun apparently as they all went at it with gleeful abandon.

We were able to walk just out of town to visit two nearby ruins, including the zigzag terraces of Sacsayhuaman (which everyone refers to as "sexy woman"), and another with a small cave just a few minutes farther out.  At that one, we were approached by a young man who told us he was just four weeks away from becoming a full-fledged shaman in his village, where his family had been shamans for generations.  He seemed quite proud of this, and asked us if we believed in "the energy".  He spoke in fairly decent english, although his choice of words sometimes made it hard to understand exactly what he meant.  I was intrigued by his teeth, several of which were, well I don´t know exactly how describe it, even though we´ve seen it on a few people.  It is like the teeth are outlined in silver, like with a perfect silver frame around the otherwise still white tooth.  It is really a frame, or is it a crown?  I don´t know, but it is a very unusual, interesting look.  Anyway, despite his interesting teeth, we were naturally reluctant to engage him at first, assuming he had an alterior motive.  But he assured us he just wanted to talk and did not want any money.  He had David put his hand on his heart and take a few deep slow breaths.  Just as David exhaled the last time, a beautiful falcon flew out of nowhere to land in a tree nearby.  The shaman smiled and told David this was a good sign and that he had very strong energy.  He had me put my hand on my navel and breathe, and although I didn´t conjure up an animal spirit guide, he still told me I also had good energy and added that I was in excellent health.  Afterwards he wished us well and just walked away, I´m still not quite sure why he had decided to approach us.  I guess he was just drawn to our strong energy!

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