Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
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BT – Last day (and a bit) in Cusco

Our South American program, as organised by the travel company, did not attempt to jam-pack everything and make us feel rushed. On our return from the Inca Trail we had another day-and-a-half in Cusco, which would have allowed for any delays on the trail (the rainy season is notorious for causing hold ups due to track damage) and which gave us a chance to do some final sightseeing before farewelling the Andes.

We spent the morning visiting a couple of local museums. The first, Cusco’s museum of contemporary art, was rather bemusing, as it seemed to be housed in the same building as some municipal offices and there were no guides, directions or interpretation, and so we just wandered around looking at whatever artworks we would see on whatever walls or in whatever rooms it seemed appropriate to look. And then, to compound the weirdness, “contemporary” seemed to have ended in about 1994, possibly when the budget ran out. The second museum was on local history and was much better curated with reasonable displays and some English signage. We learned a bit more about Cusco’s past and its native and Spanish heritage.

After some souvenir hunting and lunch we went in search of the one relatively close cache that I thought would be feasible to find. Unfortunately this involved some uphill. Quite a bit of uphill. And steps. I’d warned Cath of this; we both felt that it would be a good idea to give our poor legs a bit of post-Inca-Trail work, although we had second thoughts part way up the hill. After the narrow streets and a very long steep set of stairs we crossed the road above the San Blas district, enjoying views back over the city both classical and more vernacular. 

We then headed through the eucalypts (yes, more out-of-place Australian trespassers) — and past the slightly surprising sight of an acrobatic guy practising his slack-line routine with the “rope” strung between the trees — to the site of an Inca ruin, near which we found the cache. After exploring the ruins and trying an alternative but unsuccessful return path through the park we got onto the main road where we were able to catch a taxi back into the central plaza.

During the evening I wandered around Plaza de Armas taking some night shots. I enjoy the atmosphere of plazas when the temperature is mild, there’s a bit of a buzz from happy people while not being too crowded, there’s enough light to brighten the darkness, and there’s nice food to be had nearby.

We had a little time the following morning to see a few more things — including Cusco’s somewhat-larger-than-Hobart’s silly metal Christmas tree/cone — before flying out in the afternoon to return to Lima.

Just for interest, a few days after getting back from the Big Trip I took a copy of my Fitbit’s record of my daily “resting heart rate” over the previous 30 days (essentially a sort of average heart rate during the time it thinks you’re asleep). In the graph below, the date indicates the datum gathered the night leading into and including that date. You may be able to tell when I was at altitude!

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