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Friday, 06/17/2005...

Today Maria and Rossie picked us up and we had our tour of Moray and Moras. Moray was very interesting. Apparently, the Incas created it as an agricultural experimentation site. Basically, it is a huge, circular series of terraces built into the natural slope of the land. Because of the design, different "micro-climates" are formed on each of the levels allowing for the cultivation of different plants. (Remember the potatoes?) The terrace levels help prevent erosion, as well as aiding in irrigation and using the sun to create different temperature between the top and bottom levels. To move between levels, the Incas built steps into the terrace walls.

After Moray, we traveled to Salinas de Maras, or the Maras Salt Mines.

On the way...

This site, also created by the Incas, used the same terracing, but used pools on the different levels to catch water. As the water evaporates, it leaves a layer of salt, which is then skimmed off. Though current salt miners add Iodine to the salt, the Incas added another substance (?) to prevent goiters.

During our trip, we mentioned to Maria and Rossie we hadn't had our city tour of Cusco, although we weren't upset because we had been so busy. While we were visiting Moray, Maria arranged for us to join a tour group of Cusco that afternoon. We hurried back and rushed to catch the bus.

Our first stop was the Convent of Santo Domingo. This was originally the site of an Inca temple, but when the Spaniards conquered this area, the built the convent over the temple. For many years, it was unknown there were Inca ruins within the Convent. It wasn't until an earthquake in 1950 that the walls were discovered.

Our next stop was the Catedral de Cusco. The Cathedral actually consists of thee parts construction during different time periods. All three sections were very beautiful. The main section is very ornate and has more alters then we have seen anywhere else. We were told many of the paintings in the cathedral were reproductions done by local artists. We were especially amused by the depiction of "The Last Supper" with cuy and chicha being served. In this painting, the face of Judas is that of Pizarro. How's that for a political statement?

Although there were many more stops on the tour, we hadn't gotten lunch yet and wanted to check in on Dad. We left the tour group in search of food. After we ate, we stopped into a shop to pick up a few items. While Mom and Cecily were in the store, John traded his hat with a boy named Ricardo.

We went back to the hotel to rest a bit before dinner. John and Cecily sat in the lobby for a while in front of the fire and made some journal entries. They drank coffee and tea and noticed there were a lot of French people in the lobby.

John's tummy was upset and we were out of TP. When we were leaving the lobby, John requested some more TP at the front desk and we went back to our room. Within minutes, a young man knocked on the door and presented John with the TP and a cheerful "Buenos notches.. :) ". I guess you had to be there to know how funny it was.

We had a dinner and a folk show (at La Cava de San Rafael) included in our tour tonight. The food was very good and the musicians entertaining.

After dinner John and Cecily stopped to buy some toothpaste, since they didn't bring enough. A big tube of Colgate cost only 1.80 Soles (about $0.60). That's cheap! Although it cost so little, they had to borrow money from Mom and Dad because the last time they went to the ATM, they forgot to take the card and the machine ate it. It's a good thing they were with people with money, because they were broke. John had to call the bank to cancel the card. The four minute call cost $12.00. It's worth it for peace of mind, though.

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