Up in Cusco

Yesterday, we flew into Cusco, in the Sacred Valley, and spent the day driving around.  We visited the ancient Incan experimental terraces at Moray and then the Moras salt mines– all very impressive. 

I am very impressed by the way the Peruvian people seem to work with the land as opposed to simply working, or over-working, it as is done in the U.S.

There are substantial terraces everywhere, and the farmers grow many different kinds of crops, each in the place best suited to it.  Also, that way, if it’s not a good year for a certain crop, they will still be able to rely on their other crops. 

Today we saw how the women spin alpaca wool into yarn and the methods by which they weave. The animals’ wool can be white, grey, tan, brown, or black.  Then the women use various kinds of leaves, flowers, and roots to dye the yarn different colors. The whole process was incredibly impressive.  It takes about a month to weave a cloth that may be 2×6 ft in size.  After seeing the process, I feel guilty to try to bargain to get goods very cheaply.  This stuff is hard work and takes a VERY long time!  Surely the time and effort taken to make a poncho or sweater is worth more than $10-15.  So I didn’t bargain at all for two pricey, beautiful, woven bags I bought…  But then I felt guilt for my pocketbook!  Ay!  The dilemmas!

Tuparinchikama,

Dr. Carrie DeJaco

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