Friday, October 22, 2010

Angela Bradbury - Cusco, Peru

Angela Bradbury is a senior studying Elementary Education. She participated in the Going Global in the College of Education program.

Summer Study Abroad 2010

Cusco is known mainly for its rich culture, and for being the capital of the ancient Inca Empire.  However, the things I learned while studying there went way beyond the history of this unique land.  The people of Peru absolutely stood out in my mind as some of the greatest people I’ve met anywhere in the world, and I’ve done a lot of traveling.  I will do my best to portray how amazing these people were by briefly walking though my trip, but to truly understand what I mean, you will have to go there and find out for yourself!

Many people tried talking me out of staying in Lima for a few days before our actual program started, but I’m glad I didn’t listen.  The city tour was inexpensive and interesting, we were within walking distance of this amazing mall and the beach, and it was a great way to begin to get acclimated before you were thrown into a very planned out program. The nightlife was a lot of fun, we enjoyed this typical Peruvian drink (Pisco Sour) and we met a lot of great people.  There is this place called “pizza alley” where there were great restaurants and discotecas, definitely worth seeing and very affordable.  However, you will want to stay in a group when going out at night.  It can be a little sketchy if you’re not careful. 

There were many people who struggled with acclimating to the high altitude.  Just because we are from Utah, where the altitude is around 5,000 feet, we think we know altitude…well we don’t!  Headaches, illness, and fatigue set in when we were thrown into a city where the altitude is more than double that of Utah at 11,200 feet!  However, when we landed we met our fantastic host family where we were greeted warmly with hugs, music and coca tea. Our host family was extremely kind, and even though at times there was a bit of a communication barrier, we were always able to have great conversations.  This was a very special part of my experience because I have traveled a lot, but never been welcomed into someone’s home the way I was here in Cusco.  Living this way enhanced my study abroad experience because this is where I learned the culture first hand, improved my Spanish, and felt safe in a new place.

There were so many things to see and do in this city that were either accessible via walking or taxi where you can get almost anywhere in the city for around 1$.

The relationships between families are very strong here, and very evident everywhere you go!

It was amazing to learn about the lives many Peruvian children lead.  Being able to choose whether they go to school in the morning or afternoon depending on when they have to work.  Even these children here were out in the Plaza de Armas late at night, by themselves.  You would rarely see children working at such a young age, and you would rarely see children out so late by themselves in Utah.

Two cultural “must do’s” if you go to Cusco are: 
First, go to the lama farm on your way to the beautiful ruins of Pisac.
Second, eat cuy aka guinea pig!  These were two things I did on my trip that I will never forget.  The lama farm was so much fun, and the group we were with had a riot.  Then, not everyone could eat the cuy, and I had a difficult time myself, but it is considered a Peruvian delicacy so why not?  It was also a great day because we were eating with our Spanish teacher, Josie, whom was another great example of how fun and special the Peruvian people are. 

You kind of get tired of people pressuring you to buy things in the Plaza de Armas, but you can also understand that this is how they make their living.  There are also many people doing manual labor.  These people making the mud bricks would make 300 bricks a day and were only paid $15!  It was very sad and eye-opening experience that made me feel very fortunate for the opportunities I have living in America.

Machu Picchu
There is a reason this site have been a wonder of the world.  It is just that.  It is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life, and if I could put into words how powerful Machu Picchu I would.  It is just so much to take in, and it will leave you breathless.  Even though the day started out rainy and very foggy, we did manage to get a few classic shots like the one above.  The pictures below are just a small glimpse of how truly unbelievable this place is. 

So after spending 4 days in Lima playing in the city, 9 days in Cusco learning Spanish, Salsa dancing, and Peruvian culture, and finally spending 2 remarkable days in Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, this is the trip and experience of a lifetime that I would recommend to everyone!

1 comment:

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