This is what your 4-star hotel in Cusco is built on top of

Have you heard about the latest archaeological “discoveries” at the Plaza de Armas in Cusco? Road work has been going on between Av. Sol and the Plaza de Armas, in the heart of historic downtown Cusco. As the old road was excavated, a number of historic Inca Walls have been “discovered” below the surface. Cusco has been abuzz about the new discoveries for the past few days, take a look:

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Inca walls discovered during roadwork near the Plaza de Armas in Cusco

Inca walls below Plaza de Armas Cusco

Ongoing work/excavation between the Plaza de Armas and Av. Sol in Cusco

While it’s great these historic walls are being exposed, the word “discovery” seems to be a bit of a stretch being that 50-year old underground utility pipes appear to have been routed in and around these historic walls. “Discovery” in this case implies not something we recently found but “creating buzz to attract tourist $ that will help us clean up the archaeological treasures we covered up 50 years ago”. Or something like that.

It’s hard to tell from the pictures (taken over construction barriers) how much of the walls is original, quite a bit appears to be later work built on top of Inca ruins but some of the walls are clearly original Inca structures in very good condition. You can easily tell the difference because the original Inca walls are of exceptional quality, the form and fit of the rocks is nearly perfect, as are the angles and dimensions. Also, the Incas used no cement or filler of any kind between the rocks. In the pictures, the stairway and adjacent parts are clearly original Inca architecture. Later walls that were built by the Spanish Conquistadores or restored in later times aren’t of the same quality as the original Inca walls.

I don’t know what the plan is for this site going forward, now that it has been laid bare again I hope the site gets a full restoration. It’s sad to see such a piece of history strung full of sewer pipes. Of course any archaeologist, historian or architect worth his salt could tell you that the entire historic downtown area of Cusco must be sitting on top of similar Inca structures. When the Spanish Conquistadores first brought “their” God and King to the New World, they built churches on top of the existing Inca temples, to show the superiority of “their” God and King. Here in Cusco you can still see some original Inca structures but sadly most of the original Inca architecture in the historic downtown has been covered up with buildings from the Spanish Colonial era and beyond.

Frogs, drinks and birthdays in Peru

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Seriously, I cannot party like a young person any more.

Mamacita linda celebrated a birthday last week and we celebrated in the proper tradition of Peruvian birthdays. In other words, eat, drink and dance till the wee hours of the morning. We started with the family at our house, Pisco and soda because I didn’t have time to make proper Pisco Sour for them all, and then to “Sr. Panda” for some yummie food.

Back at our house for cake. Peruvian birthday cakes only have 1 candle, whether you’re turning 1 or 100. Not like up North where the nr. of candles matches the nr. of years. Peruvians don’t seem to keep track of the years, Patricia doesn’t know her brother and sister’s age without seriously thinking about it.

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Mami's birthday cake

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Mamacita linda on her birthday!

Our apartment here in Cuzco is very small (hopefully this year that will finally change) and we can’t really entertain friends and family together, so we had decided to have the family at our house first and then a few drinks with friends at The Frogs, a sort of hip / bohemian bar close to the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco. We got to “The Frogs” around 10pm and this is where the party really took on its Peruvian character. Some of Patricia’s friends showed up early, but others didn’t show up until 1:00am, which this is totally normal here.

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At the Frogs in Cuzco

We had lots of finger food and then more cake. As you can see we had a little glitch where we ran out of forks for the cake…

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Cake for mami's birthday at the Frogs in Cuzco.

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When you run out of forks....

We had a good time at “The Frogs” with a ridiculous amount of finger-food, more cake, and, errgh, a few drinks. The deal was that Patricia had booked a reserved room for our party and gotten a package-deal with food and drinks. At the end we decided to have the waitress bring all of our remaining drinks for a nice picture 🙂

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Drinks at the Frogs in Cuzco

If you thought the party was over just because it was going on 2:00am or so, you must not be Peruvian! At 1:00am the party around the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco is just getting started. The girls decided to take the short walk from “The Frogs” to the Plaza de Armas and go dancing at one of the local discos, I think it was “Mythology”.

A few months ago there was a big to-do about the mayor of Cuzco trying to close all the discos at the Plaza de Armas. How’s that bone-headed idea working out you ask?

Just have a look… I mean, nightlife is part of any big tourist city, from Miami to Amsterdam to Downtown Disney.

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Mythology disco at the Plaza de Armas Cuzco

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Mamacita with one of her best and most-outgoing friends

In the wee hours of the morning we headed home but some of Patricia’s friends stayed out a bit longer. I suffered the next morning, this party stuff is for young folks 🙂