Peru via Ecuador

[ 1 ] November 8, 2010 |

Local “Mamita” with her alpaca

My really close friends are so used to my crazy schedule, so this won’t come as a surprise to them.. but I’m now in Cuzco, Peru. When I left the states a couple weeks ago, I was returning to

Getting into the local culture

Vilcabamba, Ecaudor, a place I’ve called home for this year. When I arrived however, my living arrangements were changed drastically. I had been staying at my biz parnter’s guest house and looking after her land, creating a huge organic garden for her and supervising construction. However Jan backed out of our business Raw Trips. She had told me I could stay at her place till January. When I arrived, she asked me to move out. WTF!!! Yes, that was my first reaction. She’s been going through some trying times and I have a feeling she’s projecting whatever on me. We had no big fight, no disagreement, she just said she wanted me out. This really came as no surprise when I thought about how business partner’s go. In fact, I guess I’m nieve to think that friends who go into biz, then one backs out, can still be friends. I had absolutely no hard feelings about the business, got over that really quickly when I saw it was a silver lining for me, the universe was taking care of me – I needed to have faith in that!

the city of Cuzco

Anyhow, long story short, the next morning I had this strong urge, like my gut was yelling GO TO CUZCO, PERU. Now, I’m just learning to really listen to my intuition. It is something that is becoming stronger and stronger the more raw food I eat, the cleaner I get inside and the more I pay attention to HOW I treat my body and soul. If you know anything about Cuzco (which I didn’t except that it was close to Machu Picchu, South Americas most

Cuzco’s famous 12 angle rock

spectacular archaeological site) you know it was the center of the Incan Empire, a city formed and planned out thousands of years ago. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city of the Americas. This city is also known for its spirituality and magical energy. It is the hub of South American travel , similar to Nepal, Tibet. Both cities attract thousands because of their unique destination and age-old cultures. I already had plans to come here in mid-November to do the raw food for a tour group. My great friend Matt Samuelson, master raw food chef, asked me to help him with David Wolfe’s retreat over Thanksgiving, and I of course said yes. I mean, what an experience! First I love “cooking” for people and spreading my love through food. Second, I got to do it on the run – which is becoming one of my specialties as I teach all over the world. Third, I got to hang with a bunch of like-minded Americans in a wonderfully old and sacred spot!


So I spent a week in Vilcabamba visiting friends, soaking up the slow-paced life, hiking the hills and attending Nutopia – a conference my friend put together about conscious living these days. I spoke the first nigh about raw foods and it was super well received. Of course, by now the community knows what I can do and are always excited to try my food. Basically I spent a week talking myself out of Cuzco. This has nothing to do with Vilcabamba. I simply love it and will

The market in downtown Cuzco, Peru

return. I left all my stuff at a friends house because I WILL be holding a raw food retreat there in 2011. It is a gorgeous place that everyone should visit, the sacred valley holds its own unique energy and the community is meshing well with the locals – there’s a huge ex-pat community which I love! No, this has nothing to do with Vilcabamba. This urge and pull to Cuzco is from some place entirely different. So I packed a couple bins full of food and kitchen items I need for raw on the road, and a suitcase full of clothes and hopped a bus. Actually two amazingly long bus rides, the first 10 hours, the second 18 hours. They really flew by, I had so much on my mind to think about, reflect and some internal talking to do with myself. I have to do that a lot as I follow this journey of mine to places I would have never guessed. BUT, by the time I arrived in Lima, I just couldn’t bare to hop on another 24 hour bus ride to Cuzco.. so I grabbed a cab to the airport.

A chef’s dream, huge variety at the market

Thankfully, there was a flight to Cuzco in about 2 hours.. which is truly amazing because the afternoon flights usually get cancelled because of weather. Cuzco and the energy around it really wanted me to get here!! It could not have gone smoother. I had found a great hosteria beforehand to land for the first couple of days.

Cuzco, is not the prettiest city I must admit. I had the whole “what the hell have I just done” moment when I saw the barren mountains and all the brown, when I was so used to the green in Ecuador. It is a huge city which sits in a pocket between 12 mountains. The city continues to grow up the sides of the  mountains and you can see adobe houses everywhere. We are at 11-thousand feet so not many trees to be found and lots and lots of rock. Hmmmmm, I’m really supposed to be here??? Why am I drawn to this place? Vilca was such a small

The narrow streets of Cuzco, Peru

community, this is a huge city, I want city life again? I was thoroughly confused. Until, I started walking around the steep cobblestone streets, climbing the thousands of old stone steps which weave up each mountainsides, gulping the fresh mountain air and exploring the ruins. The Cathedrals, the ruins, the elevation, it all works so perfectly here. Lots and lots of tourists, as to be expected.. but lots of locals as well. I’ve really gotten to see the REAL Cuzco, what normal life is like here.. and I dig it. My Spanish has improved immensely and I find that since I can speak some, I’m welcomed a lot more than any average tourist. Oh but then not everyone here speaks Spanish. Many of the indigenous people speak the ancient old tongue of Quechua.. which is very difficult to catch. I love these little “mamitas” and “papitas” in

Gorgeous Indigenous couple

their traditional wear – 3 or 4 sweaters on top, 4 to 6 skirts on bottom, along with leg warmers, super simple sandals (I still don’t understand how they climb in them), long braids tied together in the back and their beautiful hats. These are NOT just for tourists, although it is how some make their living, posing for pictures. This is a realy working city and the indigenous people are a large part. I love their smiling, twinkling eyes.. and damn if some of the older ladies haven’t kicked my ass climbing up steep streets.

Ahhhhh, it IS good to be here. I’m still not sure why but I’m waking up every morning with an open heart, a clear mind and a playful soul ready to explore and just BE. Maybe this is my lesson, to be, to experience. Of course isn’t that what my entire live has been? It will be a wonderful day when I realized why I’ve had so many blessed and incredible moments and experiences in this life. This is the life I’ve been given and I will live it to its fullest!!!

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Category: Blog, Conscious Living, Travel & Adventure, Yoga & Fitness

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