8 October, Arequipa to Cuzco, Peru
I just caught the bus to Cuzco with only 5 minutes to spare. In the taxi I was telling myself to ‘be peace’ the universe is kind and it will be what it will be. I didn’t look at the clock. This is the practice that you trust what comes no matter how it appears. I was fortunate as my ticket was very cheap at 30 solas that is the price the locals are charged this compares to about 95 solas for tourists. The trip was quite difficult as my legs were aching after clowning. I found it very difficult to get comfortable on a bus. The seats do recline and there is a seat that is on the back of the seat in front that flips down for your legs. I found the heat upstairs very hot. I was quite stressed over it. I started to feel a bit unwell so I had to go to the toilet (bano). I found it downstairs and was thinking I may throw up. Fortunately when I got into cooler air and cooled myself with water I started to feel better. I sat outside the toilet on my knees and started to focus myself on centering in alignment with life. I closed my eyes and reminded myself to be at peace with the heat, to be at peace with the discomfort and look on it with curiosity. I stayed on my knees for a while and when I was ready (the bus stopped) I went back up stairs and relaxed into my seat. I didn’t sleep that well but I was at peace. So my meditation worked.
At 6am I arrived at Cusco I had my first glimpse of the mountains which were spectacular and the houses of the Incas, I noticed pottery roofs. Cuzco is about 300,000 population. It is considered the ancient city of the Incas and also has Spanish architecture to mark their presence. Apparently the Inca civilization lasted 300 years and they were wiped out by the Spanish. They were a priestly group and from what I can gather predominantly female (skeletal remains state 10:1 female male ratio). I will describe the Inca culture in more detail in the next blog.
On arrival I went looking for an inglis (English) speaker as I hadn’t received an itinerary from the hotel in Arequipa and didn’t know where I was staying. My inner feeling was it will be ok. I found a girl and she rang the Arequipa hotel, apparently there were people waiting for me since 4am. She and I talked and she knew about hospitals around Cuzco and said for me to ring her on Sunday. She and I could meet for a coffee and I could also help her with her marketing work. They met me and took me to the hotel, it cost 3 solas by taxi. The guy gave me a run down on the tours I could take and I asked about meeting spiritual people. I am not keen on a tourist linked person as it becomes more about money rather than sharing the wisdom. He said he would look. He took my bag up to the room and then asked for a tip. He asked for $10. I showed surprise at $10 US. He then changed it to 10 solas. I explained to him that I would like to be told that I am expected to tip. In Australia we don’t tip and I have to budget. I said it saves me being embarrassed and telling you I don’t tip. I gave him the 10 solas and he wished me well on my trip. I felt I should explain this to the tourist operators, not everyone is American and not all cultures tip. I actually don’t believe in it given that people are not paid well enough and tourists are expected to cover their wages. They live off tips.
I slept from 9am to 2.30pm and I felt much better. The room was nice but no hot water. I did what I could with what I had. I then went down stairs and jumped on the internet to see if couch surfing was happening or that I could meet a fellow Australian here. I had a nice universal conversation with an older lady who I believe was related to the woman at the hotel in Arequipa. She had bright eyes and I told her I was a clown. I was looking for a hospital. We were able to communicate without a common language, always amazes me. She was very friendly and I gave her a hug.
I headed off up to the plaza and happened across a traditional dancing show of Peruvian dancers. It was wonderful to sit in the sun and listen to the music and watch the colourful Peruvians demonstrate their traditions. Really fascinating people. I am told they are more reserved until they know a person. Although the hill tribes in the jungle apparently are outgoing. So there are differences depending on where people live. There life is not easy as they adjust to globalization and capitalism whilst village people come down from the mountains and find themselves struggling to survive in the cities. You become quickly aware of the people begging, two I witnessed were blind. One man I held his hand as I gave some money. I had been contemplating my response to poverty and assessing internally if it is ok to feel neutral. However, today I was really noticing and feeling their situation.
I walked into a book shop and looked for information on Machu Pichu I ended up having a long talk with a shop keeper about happiness. I told him it is an inner joy and it is important to do what makes you happy. He asked about the law of attraction to visualize is own success. I said you have to see it like it has happened. However, I encouraged him to use that focus to accept what life sends. For example if he lost his business to be open to a new experience coming. To look at street people also experiencing poverty. That doesn’t mean you don’t care about them but understanding that life is happening the way it is. We do not know the purpose of life and if you have an awareness of an overall power some call god, you may become more aware that life is a mosaic. I talked about my love of clowning and my enjoyment giving to people. For me that is the freedom. He was really interested in the conversation then I had a thought spark and I asked him if he wanted to clown with me on Monday. He agreed and it looks like I have a clown buddy.
After I left the man I felt to go to a church, just as I was about to enter the door closed. A woman walked out and I asked her about the church. We ended up talking and she told me she met an Australian man about 80 years old some years ago and he was very nice. He offered to pay her fair to Australia for a 2 week holiday. Unfortunately the Australian embassy was in Chile and she said it was too hard to get there. I told her maybe she is meant to go someday, you never know. I also said to her I was looking to find a person with spiritual wisdom of the Incas. Turns out her grandmother practices the ancient religion and she took my email and will let me know if I can meet her. I walk away amazed at life and how I can find the right people to assist my quest for understanding more deeply the meanings of ancient peoples. She was a lovely woman. Apparently the old Australian man called her an angel, I don’t disagree. I seem to meet a lot of them.
I walked around the Plaza and looking up the mountains overlooking the city with terracotta looking houses (Inca) all around the city. The mark of the Spanish was ever present as churches were standing in their grandeur. The cobbled streets were side alleys and on the whole the city seems very clean. I noticed that in Peru in general the cities are clean. They are dusty often but that is more to do with the landscape of sand dunes in this country. After coffee and a sandwich I returned to the hotel.
I started talking to a man at reception called Jose, he works at the hotel. He had been a tour guide and was around 55 years old. I talked about my work in peace and he shared with me that he was single with two boys. Sounds like his married life was hard and we agreed it is better to be free rather than in relationships that are negative and draining. I have no regrets in my life and don’t regret not having children. To become a peace clown was the most wonderful gift of my life. It opened my eyes and my heart to all people. He said at first he was lonely but now he feels happy. He also felt a spiritual feeling for life. He said he had met many spiritual people. Perhaps this was the pull of Machu Pichu. He said I would feel the energy there. He was very aware and as I talked about my world trip and spiritual experiences I could see he was very much in harmony with what I was saying. He said most people do not live a life of love and service and that life supports you as you become in alignment with truth. He agreed that this was the way to live. I told Jose about my meeting of the man who will clown with me and the woman who may give me an opportunity to meet her grandmother. I don’t need to plan or pay money. I had a choice in the morning to go on a tour for 130 solas but my feeling was no, I am here for Machu Pichu.
I asked Jose to book me bus ticket for La Paz Bolivia. I went across the road and ATM didn’t work so I went back to him. He walked me to the next one. It was interesting he chose to come because there was a woman lying in the ATM as it has a security door. I was hesitant to go in but as Jose was there I told him a lady is sleeping rough there. I went in and shook her hand. Getting my money out I was not lost on the irony of her sitting there. I had access to my freedom through money she had access to shelter. I was thinking about her as I was getting the money. I asked Jose to come in and translate for me. I asked about her situation. She apparently was from a village in the mountains. She said she tried to get work but as she smells no one was interested. I asked her what she needed. She needed to get clean and some clothes. She said she planned to go to the crazy place as she was so desperate. I asked Jose to translate my words. In my heart I asked jeshua (spiritual guide) to inspire me in my words. I told her she has the power to change her life. I said when I look into her eyes I see beauty. I said that there is a power that the Inca’s worshipped in their rituals which is real. I told her to think positive and know she is not alone. We made a time for her to come to the hotel on Monday at 10am to get clean and I would give her some of my clothes to start again. I told her not to go to the crazy place. Jose was hesitant but I said to him Jose she could be my sister or mother or yours. He agreed. I said people do nothing because they separate themselves from each other. In the Inca traditions no-one went hungry. I said she only needs to have a shower and clothes, that is not hard to do. He walked with me shaking his head, he was amazed by the situation. When we got to the hotel he told others and said he was very happy. He would sleep well tonight he said. I saw under the glass amongst all the business cards a picture of Jesus with a heart. I knew my inspiration was alive.
The world I explained to Jose this night is not what it seems. It is magical but not of a hallucinogenic type of magic (shamans use this here). The magic is natural as you look at life differently. You no longer see us and them, you see yourself as the other. You see an opportunity to bring hope and love to a situation. When I was with the woman I could feel my love for her shining through my eyes. When I was with the man who was blind I conveyed my love through holding his hand, I had no idea what he was saying in Spanish but he was responding and that told me he felt the gift which was not the money. These things we can all do and nobody has to be Jesus. The spirituality I experience is what is termed Christ consciousness, it is not religious it is simply allowing love to guide you. I utilize the image of Jeshua (Jesus) but it doesn’t matter if you ask for inspiration from love or a higher power, use whatever works and interestingly the words come. You will find what to do. Jose and I discussed creating our own Inca trail in life. We don’t need to pay for it, the way finds you.
Anyway I have to go to bed. It was a good day and it seems poverty was on my mind today and I felt happy to meet the lady. I do love service and a sense of oneness with people. I see us as all equal we just have different beliefs in life, that is the only reason our lives are different. We are all learning. The challenge is to keep finding the love and peace. No matter what the outer circumstance, you have to find peace within. This is what I know.