August 18, 2012
We're in our third week in Pisac now and feeling settled. On school days the church bells wake us at six (if the packs of roaming barking dogs haven't woken us already) and we're generally up and breakfasting by seven. Tanya accompanies the girls on their 15 minute walk to Kusi Kawsay, through the market as the stallholders are setting up and then up the moderately steep path to the Incan ruins, which passes the school entrance. If the wireless connection is working at our hostal (sometimes yes, sometimes no, always a little hit and miss), I log onto my online statistics course that I'm teaching to respond to any overnight student questions.
When Tanya returns she makes some coffee in the moka pot (caffettiera) that we bought in Cusco, which we drink up on the hostal's rooftop terrace looking out over the Sacred Valley. We spend the rest of the morning (while the girls are at school) trying to learn Spanish using Rosetta Stone on the computer and researching our onward travel plans in Guatemala and Belize when we leave Peru at the end of October. This research has been taking an inordinate amount of time partly due to the erratic internet connection and partly due to the fact that our plan to visit Mayan areas in northern Guatemala and western Belize happens to coincide with celebrations and activities connected with the Mayan calendar transition on December 21. A lot of our accommodation choices are either booked up already or priced out of our reach. However, we're getting closer to figuring out an itinerary now, the details of which we'll post here in the months to come.
We walk to Kusi Kawsay to fetch the girls in the early afternoon and then have lunch together in the mercado. About five or six local women bring food that they've cooked at home and serve it up to locals and adventurous tourists alike for a very reasonable price. We generally go to the same woman (helped by her 10 year-old daughter), who usually has vegetarian soups and main courses of mixed vegetables (often various kinds of potato) with rice and lentils. Sometimes we'll get a piece of smoked and salted trout on top of our plate. On Fridays we've got in the habit of going to one of the fresh juice stalls instead. After lunch we generally spend the rest of the day back at the hostal where the girls work on their daily homework, with a little help from the computer to translate some of the instructions and answers. I make dinner in our little kitchenette - I've managed to come up with a menu of dishes that I can cook with a single saucepan and frying pan and I just rotate this every week. Since we're all in the same room, we have a pretty early common bedtime after the nightly story (we're making extensive use of e-books on my iPod Touch).