From my vantage point above the city I sit and contemplate the red tile roofed city, and all the people and happenings below. As a traveler I pass through many places but every so often I stop for a while and test my patience with a sedentary life. It has been three months since I first landed in Cusco, the Imperial City of the Incas, and even after such a long while, by traveler’s standards, I find myself going back and forth with mixed and wide spectrum feelings towards it.
Sometimes I love it: the street activity and the unconstrained "festivales de San Alguien", purposely getting lost in the winding cobble stone lanes of the San Blas neighborhood, climbing up to one of the many vantage points, witnessing the epic clash of cultures, erect catholic cathedrals build on Incan lain stone foundations. The history is here and lives into modernity, in this, the cultural heart of Peru.
Sometimes I’m tried of it: the dirty trash riddled streets, the choking smog of the lower city, the constant harassment of street hawkers, the dubiousness of the tourism industry and the blatant and outright commodification of culture.
But most of the time it is a compromise between these two realities. It depends where in the city and what frame of mind I find myself in. As the barrios of Cusco are remarkably diverse with their variance and as I venture around on various mini missions I find that there are several cities contained within one greater urbanize valley. Cusco is certainly not unique in this aspect but being aware and looking out with fresh observant eyes at its stark and divided configuration into this interweaving tale of many cities.
Coming back into the moment and into myself, high above the city I continue to look, continue to ponder and draw only temporal conclusions about the contents below. Everything indeed looks beautiful from far away and as day turns to night, and the red roofs turn slowly into twinkling constellations of city lights I am still at a loss of what to think about this place, maybe only time and rumination in retrospect can tell.