By Catie Talarski
Today I experienced my first thunder and lightening storm in Peru. The rain comes quick in the mountains, and the rolling thunder and lightening in Cusco was exciting. Also exciting: a race car convention in the center square. Best logo ever:
Diane has been doing a series of interviews since we arrived in the country – some on and some off the record. The Yale/Peru artifact dispute is a controversial issue here – we’ve heard from cab drivers, artists, government officials, business owners, tour guides… most of whom think the artifacts should be returned and some form of an agreement made between the two parties. Today we talked to an historian at the local Museo Inka who says her great grandfather owned the property that included Machu Picchu when Hiram Bingham “re-discovered” it. Bingham, in his writings, mentions several families that were actually living on the ruins when he arrived. She told us these families worked for her great grandfather, and were tending the land. Another interesting angle in the already complicated story.
Now to the orchids and hummingbirds! The Manchu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is in Aguas Calientes – a sprawl of wilderness preservation and eco-luxury that is pricey, even by American standards. (The brochure mentions a few folks who have checked in: Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Heidi Klum…. you get the idea.) When we head back to Lima, Diane will be interviewing the owner of the Inkaterra hotel chains (who has been very involved with the artifact repatriation.) Although we didn’t spend the night in one of their bungalows (we spent the night at Gringo Bills – FYI) we were given a wonderful tour of the grounds, the Orchid garden, and more hummingbirds in one place than I have ever seen in my life. I had to post a few photos…