I arrived in Cuzco at 6:20 am after leaving my house in Denver at 7:45 am the previous day. So just under 24 hours of travel. The high point of which was a 5 hour layover in Lima starting at midnight. My plan had been to find a quiet, deserted corner and curl up and sleep for at least an hour. Well, as it turns out, the airport is the place to be in Lima at 1:30 am. It was insane!! Finally I was able to go through security around 2 am and once I arrived at my gate I found multiple people totally stretched out and asleep on the chairs. Despite being alone I figured these travelers are obviously in the same boat and probably won’t steal my stuff, so down I went. I think I got an hour of sleep. Once I arrived in Cuzco and was taken to the house I was pretty beat.
I met all of the girls and then found my room and passed out for another hour and a half. Then on those 3 or so hours of sleep I headed to el centro with a couple of the other volunteers. They showed me around a bit and then suggested we try to visit Cristo Blanco, which is a lot like The Redeemer in Brazil, except not even close to as large. In order to make it there we had to make our way through the Plaza de Armas, where we ran into the Carnival remnants.
As I understood, Carnival is celebrated up until Ash Wednesday, much like Mardi Gras in the states. As I was arriving in South America the first Sunday of Lent, I was disappointed that I would be just missing out on this unique celebration in Cusco. As it turns out though, Carnival in Cusco extends past Ash Wednesday. This became apparent as the first wave of foam spray hit me and the other girls in the face. Carnival in Cusco is celebrated by dousing members of the opposite sex with buckets of water and nasty foam from spray cans, and teenage boys seem to be the most interested in taking advantage of the extended period of revelry. By the time we were safely out of the Plaza we were nice and wet and I was no longer too terribly upset that I missed the main event the week before. For my next pre-lenten celebration I think I’ll try New Orleans or Rio to avoid getting so wet.
The hike was to Cristo Blanco intense, especially on three hours of sleep, but the view was completely worth the effort. The girls were great and showed me all around as we attempted to dodge foam and water balloons. It was a great way to get aquatinted with my home for the next two weeks, and boy did I sleep well that first night!