Peru South America Travel

White Water Rafting, Carnaval Finale, St. Paddy’s and More

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So another few weeks have passed, and in an effort to remember and appreciate everything I do in Cusco, I figured it was time to write another post summing up the daily going-ons of my life here.

White Water Rafting in Urubamba

A few weekends ago I went white water rafting on the (Upper) Urubamba River. I specify “upper,” after discovering that the “lower” Urubamba River is full of sewage. It was a wonderful day complete with wet suits, hail, overcast skies, grade 3 and 4 rapids, cliff diving, and stunning scenery. It also included a delicious meal and good conversation with the river guides.

The Grand Carnaval Finale

I also ventured up to a quaint town called Calca to celebrate the REAL last day of Carnaval. This adventure was much more tame then the one in Urubamba. It was a relaxing 45-minute bus ride from Cusco, and we arrived to a very traditional Carnaval celebration. The day consisted of filling up water balloons and throwing them at each other. The day was a lot less about a water fight with strangers, as it was about splitting up our group and turning it into a battle of the sexes. Needless to say, several cheap shots were made by the guys.  On the more traditional side of the celebration, we saw all the locals gathered around a tree covered with random gifts. The tree was to be chopped down like a piñata later in the evening, but we unfortunately had to leave before getting the opportunity to witness that spectacle.

The Gas Dilemma/the Marvels of the Microwave

Then there is the issue of gas, or lack there of. We ran out of propane to cook with in our apartment; and since it is our last week in this place, we made a collective decision to go without gas for a week. This has lead to the discovery of how amazing and useful the microwave truly is. Sure I’ve relied on my microwave in the past for several of my cooking needs. But who knew you could fry eggs and cook rice in that exceedingly functional medal box of radiation?!

St. Paddy’s Day in Peru

So St. Paddy’s in Peru was quite festive. We definitely celebrated right by taking advantage of a phenomenal happy hour (2 for 1 drinks for 6 soles) at one of the two Irish pubs in Cusco called Wild Rover. The night also included face painting, a bit of Irish music, and leprechaun hat wearing.

The Ongoing Protests

There have also been continuous protests and workers strikes in Cusco. This Monday there was yet another protest against the rising gas prices. Apparently Peruanos (Peruvian people) haven’t driven in the United States. The protests are relatively peaceful with a few exceptions: object throwing at people in taxis, oil pouring on people in taxis, and people getting accidentally hit by taxis while protesting people taking taxis. Basically it is not safe in/or around taxis during these demonstrations.

Peace Corps

Meanwhile, I’ve been in the process of applying for the Peace Corps, which is really an endeavor in it of itself. Thus far I have had a 2-hour-long online-video interview, which consisted of 20 in-depth questions about my ability to commit to 27 months abroad while enduring conditions of hardship. After the interview I received a nomination for a health project in Tanzania. My role there would be to do health outreach and education in regards to Malaria and HIV/AIDS and I would depart February 2015. My next step is to complete the legal kit (fingerprints, background checks, etc.), then there is a follow up evaluation of my qualifications, and then hopefully I receive an invitation (the official job offer).

Stay tuned for more exciting updates about my life as an expat in Cusco.

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Anna French

Anna is an optimist with pessimistic tendencies who enjoys making a short story long, her coffee black, and watching Friends re-runs. These days you can catch her in her natural habitats wandering through forest roads in her van or hiking to a waterfall.

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