Fun with a llama

The last day in Cusco I set up PhotoBooth outside the sound and lighting booth and got pictures of the tech guys and then of all the dancers with a giant llama used in another show that was backstage. The music is an old Peruvian folk song that is used in one of Dana's dances and that the tech guys danced to every time they heard it.

Last days in Cusco

Sunday, June 7 & Monday, June 9

The performance in Cusco went really well. There were about 150 in the audience which was better than we expected. I hung out in the tech booth most of the day with the theater lighting and sound guys who were all fun as well as professional.



Again on the way to the theater there was all sorts of stuff going on. There have been protests due to the unrest in the amazon area so there was a strong police presence and then there was some sort of typical Sunday morning parade.

I had a very good trout ceviche for lunch.


After the performance we had Pisco sours and food at a children's themed restaurant. We had fun with hats. After that we went to a bar and danced the night away.


On Monday several of us went to the church of Santa Domingo, a Spanish church built on top of an Incan temple. There was a interesting museum of large religious oil painting which were used to teach the Incas the ways of Christianity. The gardens were also lovely and the inside of the church - where photography was not involved - was filled with wonderful paintings and statues. On the way to the church we paid to take pictures with two women with farm animals.


After leaving the church we walked down another typical Incan stone wall street and came across a small. This is where I made my first purchase of beads. The saleswoman's little girl was cute but a bit shy.


Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich with fries and a beer with coco leaf flavoring. I would never have it again but I am glad I tried it. Note the funny color of the ketchup.

We spent our last night in Cusco at a big handicraft market. We saw a lot of the same stuff we had seen at other markets but I did buy some gifts. Dana helped me get the best price. After the market we ate some pretty decent Mexican food


Friday, June 6

Good news: my altitude sickness is gone and we are all in the same hotel - the good one.

We went to the theater Saturday morning to continue the technical setup for the show (which is Sunday). The technical crew at the theater Josse, Fidel, Luco, William - are all lots of fun even with the language barrier. Two of the MIT group speak spanish fairly well so we are managing. After the tech setup we all went out for pizza and beer.

In the afternoon we all went to a travel agency and paid for our tickets to Machu Picchu, did a little shopping, went to the market that is very near the theater to buy baskets (we could not transport the props for one of the dance pieces so bought substitutes here).

Later in the hotel lobby we worked on the music for the new piece with the various audio/video software we had. We needed to incorporate some poem readings by one of the dancers Shu-Chen into the music, timing it with video and adjusting the levels of the music so she could be heard. While working we ate our dinner - beef and chicken jerky, nuts and fruit, Twix bars, starbursts, beer and coco tea..



On Sesame Street there was a cool little cartoon and song about finding your way back home by noting the landmarks. I have thought about that a lot as I go back and forth from hotel to theater. The above pictures are sight on the way to the theater up the hill, through the Santa Clara arch, past the sewing shop to the Kusikay Theater. On the way there are many people who approach me with flyers for restaurants, entertainment, etc. We have started collecting ones for massages.

In the last picture in front of the theater you see Dana, dancers Kelly, Miyako, Florian, Ricardo, then Sara and Richard from MIT, Enrique the lighting designer from Lima, Susan from MIT, Luco the sound guy from Cusco

Dana buying baskets at the market and the group working on sound and eating junk food

Tomorrow, Machu Picchu!

Cusco - first day

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

The Washington contingent left around 8:15pm June 3 (almost 2 hours late due to storms) and now four planes later we're finally here. We almost did not make the last flight due to some customs issues involving a $10,000 projector (bought at a discount for $5000) but we did make it with Dana being the last person on just before the doors were shut. There are 16 of us total - 5 technical people (that includes me, a lighting designer from Lima and 3 video and sound experts from MIT, Boston), 10 dancers and one girlfriend. When we arrived in Cusco there was a band of Andean musicians playing for us and lots of people trying to sell us something.

Cusco, (11,000ft above sea level) is a beautiful town nestled in the Andes mountains. There are narrow steep stone streets, big plazas, and again lots of locals trying to sell us something. We are split into two hotels and the techies and one of the dancers, Ricardo, are the lucky ones. We are in Casa Andina, a modern hotel with hot water, internet access, free breakfast and a good location. The other hotel has only occasional hot water.

I am suffering from altitude sickness - head ache and a little nausea. It probably did not help that we ate some absolutely delicious but rich food and drank local beer at a place called the Inca Grill and then walked up to the theatre 10 blocks away and then made the round to trip again to get DVDs and other equipment for a tech run through. I went to sleep at 9:00pm and missed a nice meal at a tea shop. I have been drinking coco leaf tea which is supposed to help but although it is differently delicious I am not sure it is having any effect.

peru2009_airport_t peru2009_techies_t
The Cusco airport and the tech crew - Richard, me, Sara, Susan, Enrique (AKA Batman)

Our hotel room/internet cafe (Sara and Susan)

The views from our hotel room. The main plaza is to the right where the churches are.
The stone foundations you see here and which are all over the city are from the Incan era.
The Spaniards built on top of them.

The main plaza and my Andean trout/potato dinner - our hotel is off to the right of this church