It was really getting to me today all of the people that come up to you to try to get the spare sol from you, for chicle, for postales–I even had a lady try to get money from me for taking a picture of her goddam llama. I pretended that I didn’t understand what she was saying. In Qosqo you have to be on your toes as a tourist, because along with the influx of tourism here has arisen the culture of feeding off of the tourists’ spare soles. You will be sitting in a restaurant eating your cena and these guys selling I don’t what the hell what will pop in the door and whistle and dice “amigo, amigo.”
At night you have to be a bit more aware of your surroundings because there is the occasional “strangle mugging.” At every moment I’m ready to start pulling some Bruce Lee matrix shit out if needed. Of course what the rateros specialize in is getting you when one guy has your attention focused and some one else grabs your stuff.
Today I walked pretty far away from the plaza de armas to where I was the only gringo in sight. Conversely, I actually felt more comfortable in that kind of area, because when people stare at you it’s generally out of curiosity rather than how-can-I-sucker-this-bitch kind of thing. I was trying to find this pizza place I’d heard of, which turned out to be ridiculously far, and then when I finally found it, the damn thing was cerrado anyways. Walked back and took a siesta. I went to some museums and iglesias today. I’ve decided that I have no interest in colonial iglesias. The elaborate gold work and sculpture of the altars struck me as wasteful and indulgent, not as spiritual.
I also went and saw some traditional dancing tonight, which was kind of weirdly sensual in a vague and traditional kind of way. Probably because the girls wore these skirts that would swing out completely horizontally each time they swung their hips. The native costumes of Peru really make use of cool hats.