Another broken nights sleep on the overnight bus!! It didn't help that we spilled pringles all over sams chair. Oopps!! So we arrived in cusco at about 6am and after another toy car taxi ride we arrived at Ninos hotel.
Ninos oh ninos.....what a place it was like walking from Buchanan at on a Saturday through a tiny door and onto a beach. Ok it wasn't a beach it was a huge peaceful courtyard. But it was so nice, just what we wanted! as you walk through the front door you come into a huge courtyard with lots of white tables an chairs in the sun. All the rooms are around the courtyard and are named after Peruvian girls that the Danish owner has adopted. The owner has 2 hotels and one smaller building which is self catering apartments where we are staying. So Ninos is all about helping local children and effectivley their families. The children come each morning before school and again after school, some younger ones are there all day and they get fed, get hot showers, dental, medical care and sports all from the profits of the hotels and apartments.
Whilst they got our room ready we had more mate de coca and chilled, almost falling asleep. Our apartment is so sweet, very clean and bright and has a guy there right through the night for security.....and comfy beds, amazing The rest of this first day in Cusco was taken up by a lot of sleeping and wandering the town centre. Its obvious that the town survives on the tourism, every shop is either a tourist shop or tour agency!
We started our spanish lessons the next day. Wasn´t easy as our teacher didn´t speak any engish!! But we got there with a lot of pointing and dictionay searching. After 3 hours we thought 2 weeks of this would be pretty hard going so we are going to cut it down and head to Bolivia sooner. After our lessons finished at 1 we found ourselves totally free, nothing to do.....at all!! Something we haven´t done in a long time!
At night with the spanigh school we had a welcome dinner with all the students an teachers. We were really not sure about it at first becasue we hadn´t met any other students during the day but though it would be pretty rude not to go. Luckily there were other students, quite a few of them and to our relief, engligh speaking!!
They took us out for dinner to a roast chicken place. These resturants are every where and until now we have avoided them at all costs opting for the most westernised place around incase we got sick. We have heard so many horror stories about food so we are just playing safe. But yeah we had the roast chicken and didn't get sick!! A lady who also taking lessons sat next to us. She had some good stories, she lives on a farm in an Amish community. As the stories went on though our food paranoia grew. She told us how she cleans fruit with anti bacterial wipes and drinks a shot of vodka after every meal to kill any germs!! After that story her OCD began to show!
Next stop after dinner was (cringe) a kareoke bar! As we walked in we totally got the dread. There was nobody in the place and a huge book of songs to choose from. The Spanish teachers got stuck in whilst we got stuck into pisco sours! After a few for Dutch courage we joined in! The funniest part of the night was seeing a couple sitting together singing intensly to each other over a bottle of wine!
Unfortunately the school was tiny and there was nobody else doing the voluntary work that we wanted to do. So we couldn't do it! Was quite annoyed about it, the school seemed pretty dis-organized. This pretty much fueled our decision to cut our time short in cusco.
Cusco was a great town apart from the constant hassle we got. You can't walk anywhere in the town without someone trying to get you to give them money, get a shoe shine, have a massage, buy something, take a tour, get you in their resturant. It becomes quite a pain!!
So all week our days consisted of wandering, lunching, and planning for Bolivia. We are still feeling affected by the altitude (we are using the altitude as the excuse for everything) so we have had a few quiet, early nights.
We met up with claudia who we met on our colca canyon tour. She has had a similar route to us through Peru and has similar plans for getting to Bolivia so we might have a travel buddy. She slates us for not visiting all the churches and inca ruins around cusco but we like her banter plus she speaks fluent Spanish. Jealous!!
Another night we planned to go to a club that we heard did free salsa lessons. So we told everyone we knew in cusco to come thinking it would be a good laugh. In true 90's style we arranged to meet them there, no mobile calls, no text messages etc just "see you there". But it wasn't that simple. We got stood up!! Just as well though because there wasn't lessons at all!! Salsa dancing yes but lessons, no. As complete beginners we watched from the bar. Some people were amazing! They must have had a que from someone but all of a sudden everyone burst into a routine together , it was like something out a musical. Great to watch though!
We came across a place in our guide book called fallen angel. It said the food was great and we were craving a good feed so we headed up there and totally fell in love with the place. It's a courtyard with a resturant around it. The walls in the courtyard are painted like sky and as well as a huge iron man statue there are dozens of disco balls. Very camp but we loved it. Inside there are lots of bath tubs filled with fish and they have glassover the top for a table. Loved them!! All the waiters wear t shirts with angel wings on the back and give you your bill in a mini treasure chest. We couldn't get a table so instead we sat in a giant leather love heart sofain thecourtyard and had some cocktails.
We went back on the Friday night and eat there. Food was amazing!! We both eat steaks and they came out with rose petals on the plate!!