Market Day

After spending a few days wandering in and out of the museums Cuzco has to offer, we set off for Pisac. Pisac has the largest market of the villages nearby Cuzco; therefore, it is a bit touristy. Nevertheless, it offered a great sampling of goods and a bit of local color. We bought tapestries, placemats, and other souvenirs, plus Sharon got a nice hooded llama sweater. She tried to steer clear of the meat market though, because it’s a bit gross. Of course, the meat, fruits, and veggies are Mike’s favorite part; so we shopped while Mike went photo hunting. Here are a few of his market day photos:

Quite the load!

Creating impressively balanced fruit displays must help the produce sell better.

Mike really likes taking pictures of wrinkly old women.

I really like the composition of this photo.

Pretty dyes.

The villagers in areas surrounding Cuzco wear some very interesting hats that you simply don’t see anywhere else in Peru. This is one variety, but the next several pictures will feature others as well.

The hats are cool, but the masks are just creepy — if you ask me.

Hats are very important, but so is hair. Most local women wear their hair in two braids, and often the braids are joined together at the bottom like this. In fact, this is a pretty iconic look, and you’ll see it reflected in a lot of artwork from the area. Every artist’s gallery features at least one “fat woman with braids” picture — if not 300.

Moving on down the body, let’s focus on feet for a moment. Many locals wear sandals made from old tires, and most of these sandals have seen a lot of miles. I wouldn’t be surprised if the locals walk more in a week than 70% of Americans do in a year. The sandals are a bit basic for the harsh terrain and weather conditions in the Andes mountains, however, and most people’s feet end up looking like petrified wood. Many of the porters who carry gear for the tourists on the Inca Trail and alternative treks wear these exact same sandals. So, the tourists saunter along wearing their fancy heavy-duty hiking boots (bought special for their vacation) while the locals do the heavy-lifting in their tire sandals. Seems fair, right? There are more and more advocacy groups looking out for the welfare of porters, but from what I’ve seen they’re not doing enough. Occasionally a generous tourist will donate gear to a porter in addition to giving a tip, but from what I’ve heard the porters are more likely to sell the donated items for extra cash than to use them to their benefit on the trail. (Probably because they are not paid well enough for their services.) So….enough with my rant — back to the market…

Any guesses? Lamb? Goat? Dog?

Several corn varieties. Most of the corn we ate in Peru was whitish-yellow, but the kernels were much larger than those on U.S. sweet corn. Also, the corn wasn’t as sweet and tasted starchy.

What could be cuter than a 92-year-old woman with no teeth eating a popsicle?? …actually, she was probably in her 50’s.

Torritos for sale! Remember the bulls on top of our arch? Here are some for sale, though we bought ours elsewhere.

Mike takes a lot of wrinkly old women pictures, but he also got some great wrinkly old man pictures this time around.

A general marketplace side-street shot…

This is the last photo Mike’s wide-angle lens shot on our trip. Seconds later it plummeted to the ground because it had not clicked into place properly on the body of Mike’s camera. The wide-angle has finally been fixed by the local camera shop, but it was such a tragic loss at the time that I cried myself to sleep that night.

The end…for now…check back later.

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