Day 8 - Sacsayhuaman, Tambo Machay, Medicine Man with Free Time - April 3, 2003

We woke up this morning before 7 AM and showered and dressed. We went down for our continental breakfast and eggs.

At 9 AM we were off to explore the massive Sacsayhuaman, believed by most to have been a fortress, although it may have been a sacred sanctuary to the sun. It was designed to be similar to the shape of a jaguar - a sacred beast of the Inca.

Overlooking the city of Cuzco, Sacsayhuaman is a testament to the skills of the Incan builders and it is constructed of huge stones, some weighing nearly 300 tons each fitting perfectly with others around.

We then were off to visit the sacred spring at Tambo Machay, the Incan Temple of the Sacred Waters, just outside Cuzco. It is a marvel of hydraulic engineering, bringing water nearly 2,000 feet uphill to the baths and, impressively, the waters still flow today. This place is at an altitude of 12,000 feet and quite impressive.

We got back on the bus to observe first hand the workings of a local curandero, a mestizo Quechuan medicine man. He performed an ancient healing ritual, using a blend of healing plants, sacred objects, and icaros chants. We each contributed and then we were purified.

For lunch we stopped at a restaurant outside of Cuzco, overlooking the city. Another fine meal. On the bus, David gave us a choice of appetizer, and we chose that we wanted. He did the same with the entré and dessert. This has been fairly common - fish (lot of red trout), meat, chicken and pork. So we can eat what we want.

In the afternoon we had free for us to explore on our own. We went to the artisan mercado where we bought some gifts. At 3 PM we went to a silver and gold jewelry factory and Gennie bought two great pieces. She had also bought some silver pieces from vendors on the street.

We have regular vendors outside the hotel, they know our names and we know theirs. They are very diligent. Every time we try to take pictures of kids and women, they always ask for a sole, 25 cents.

Tonight we went to our trip ending/farewell dinner and show at a local restaurant. As we got off the bus we gave Juan his money and gift. We had a different beverage by David/OAT.

Dinner was buffet and included all types of meats, salads, appetizers, and desserts. During the meal and after we were entertained by two sets of musicians - all selling their CDs. We were also given a show by groups of folkloric dancers.

One male chose Gennie and a female chose me to dance with them. This was the only time they chose someone from the audience to participate. David took a lot of pictures of us dancing. We were home by 9:30 to get ready for tomorrow’s flight.

Hotel: Jose Antonio Meals: B, L, D

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