After 5 and a half months, I got to see my parents and little brother again. Unfortunately, my brother, Lanz, couldn´t make the trip :( Missed you, Lanz! Wished you were with us!
Gabe was on his high school spring break, so they were here in Cusco for 5 days. My family arrived on Easter Sunday morning. We went to Easter mass at the Catedral de Cusco, in Spanish of course. I finally got to see the giant Last Supper painting, famous for having a cuy (guinea pig) at the center of the last supper table. Little known fact: Jesus and his apostles ate cuy. Sunday was spent mostly resting. It´s rough going from sea level to 11,000 ft elevation.
Unfortunately for Gabe, the altitude hit him hard and he was sick for the next 2 days. While he was resting at the hotel, I promised him that I would only take mom and dad to boring places, like churches and markets lol. On Tuesday afternoon, Gabe had enough of being sick and wanted to get out of the hotel and go to our chocolate-making workshop at the Choco Museo. We took walking nice and slow, and with the help of powerade and a liquid only diet, he made it through the whole workshop and the rest of the afternoon at the markets. At the chocolate workshop, we learned about the process of growing cacao trees and turning cacao fruit into chocolate. Then we got to make our own chocolates.
With our chocolate workshop teacher, Gladys
Wednesday was our big day. We woke up bright and early for our 1 day trip to Machu Picchu. We were picked up by a van to the Ollantaytambo train station. The train ride was beautiful. Although I had already seen the sights when I hiked through them on my trek to Machu Picchu back in December, it was still breathtaking. Once we arrived in the town of Aguas Calientes, we took a bus up to Machu Picchu and met our tour guide. We had a 2 hour historical tour of the ancient city. Luckily for us, the weather was beautiful. The sun was out and it was a clear day. In fact, it was a little too hot, even. It was my second time in Machu Picchu, and I don´t think I can ever get tired of this place. It´s just too pretty.
(don´t worry, Lanz, we´re going to photo-shop you in this one)
Gabe, Mom and Dad with Wayna Picchu in the background
On Thursday, we went to the sun temple, ¨Q´orikancha¨, in Cusco. It is now the Convento de Santo Domingo. When the Spaniards conquered Cusco, they stripped Q´orikancha of it´s gold. Literally tons of gold. The sun temple was gold-plated and had lots of gold statues inside. Then the Catholic order of the Dominicans built the convent and church, plop, right on top of Q´orikancha. The base of the Convento de Santo Domingo is the original Incan walls, still standing strong after all this time. Its museum is a juxtoposition of Incan ruins, Spanish-colonial architecture, and works of Catholic art. That evening we had our last family dinner in Cusco at one of my favorite restaurants at the Plaza de Armas: Fuegos (Fire!). My parents got to try 2 Peruvian delicacies: cuy (guinea pig) and alpaca. Later that night, I took my parents with me to a free salsa class at one of the discotecas in the plaza. They sure enjoyed dancing. So much that when salsa was over, and the typical ¨club¨music started playing, my parents continued dancing lol. I´m glad they had fun. That was a new experience for me: being at a club with my parents, hah.
Dinner at Fuegos
On Friday morning, I took my parents to my leukemia ward to visit my kids and introduce them to the doctors and nurses I work with. We hung out and played with the kids for about an hour. The kids really enjoyed playing Uno with Gabe. That afternoon, my family boarded their plane to take their long journey back home to San Francisco. Like Gabe, said, ¨This spring break is going to be hard to top¨.