April 25. Hypocrisy and Santiago Mataindios.

Up 10am. Check out. Breakfast: real espresso I showed the girl from the hostel how to make it and a sandwich with a fried egg. Read bilingual Gideon bible I found in the hostel to improve my Spanish and have a glance at Jesus’ words once again. After all, they are the weightiest words in our history. So I read the mountain sermon where Jesus takes on the commandments of the Old, and improving them. Love your enemies, turn your other cheek towards them, mind the beam in your own eye – it’s all very neat. Yes, he has been doing a great job there. Yet at one point, I’d like to help good ol’ Jesus a bit since I think he overlooked something. In Matthew 6 he talks about hypocrisy. You should pray and fast in silence, so that your neighbours don’t know what you’re doing. Otherwise, it is as if you are boasting about what you’re doing. If you pray and fast in silence, only God will see and hear you, and he will reward you in public. So after all it is the public reward we’re after. After all, the distinction between private and public does matter. So the old hyocrisy Jesus warns us for, that we are being pious just to show off, is replaced by a new hypocrisy I warn us for. Why? By saying we have to pray and fast in silence to be rewarded in public, Jesus justifies the distinction between private and public, and hence the structure of the old hypocrites. There is no structural change of thinking. And that means that the element of showing off can’t be eliminated by keeping prayer private. We are still boasting. In other words, the structure of silent pious activity is no other than the hypocrites’ public prayers. By keeping our prayer silent, we keep it between the holy God and ourselves and our devotion is pure. But this very devotion, isn’t it the same devotion the old hypocrites brag about? It cannot be something totally new, only its intention is allegedly purified. Again, the old distinction private-public remains intact, together with the elementary function of boasting which is an essential element of this distinction. Without the possibility of boasting, the distinction is meaningless. Without water touching the coast, we can’t distinguish between sea and land. Justifying the distinction private-public therefore, is accepting boasting. So when we pray and fast in silence, we must be boasting. We have squashed the old structure into the realm of our private relationship with God, that’s all we’ve done. We are proudly showing God our piety. Nothing wrong with that? Indeed, I’d say so. But if you call the scribes hypocrites as Jesus does, you should call yourself a hypocrite as well. A smart hypocrite, that managed to deluge himself about the essence of his own piety. Remember me dressing up the bump in Santa Cruz? I really didn’t care if I was doing it in private or in public. I didn’t want to be part of the moral calculus and that is trying to change the structure. Alas, such a change might be impossible and I will be doomed to bear the reputation of a madman. Still, I might have delivered some clarity about the inevitable structures of the mind, and for what it’s worth, prevented us from being hypocrites as you call it. These things aren’t easy, and I think we should keep thinking about them. It’s so important my friend to be aware of the inevitable structures (or the “grammar”) of our actions, including worshipping God. Let’s be very thoughtful and careful from now on okay? Jesus, my friend, that one goes on the house.

Today, I tour around Cusco from 2pm to 6pm, and feel happy when the kind tourguide Vladimir explains the immense Cathedral of Cusco, the Qoricancha, Saqsayuaman, Q’enqo, and Tambomachay. The Cathedral of Cusco is enormous. They built it here to show the superiority of Christian religion over the pagan Inca believes. They have converted the saint Santiago Matamoros (killer of the moors) into Santiago Mataindios (killer of the indians) and paintings of this pious butcher are omnipresent under the vault of this Church. One of the side churches is called Iglesia de Trionfo, that is the Catholicism’s victory over the Incas of course. Vladimir the guide told us a lot more, but I can’t remember it all. What I want to communicate to you is the abundancy of the Cathedral. The largest retable on the south American continent, decorated with gold and silver from nearby mines, a large collection of valuable oil paintings of the saints, a beautifully decorated cedarwood choir with a rotatable centerpiece to hold the score, an organ that contains over 1000 kg of silver, and much more. In a large painting, Judas was depicted as a darkskinned indigenous man, looking at the spectator, whereas the other eleven apostles were white and looked piously up to Jesus. This was the way to scare and convert the indigenous.
We walk a few blocks and arrive at the Qoricancha. Qoricancha means retreat of gold in Quechua. It used to be a very important religious site. Part of the structure is originally from the Incas. The other part is from the inca-paz (inca-pable), Vladimir jokes. The techniques applied to lay the bricks of this and other fortifications is impressive.
A small bus takes us uphill to Qench’o, literally labyrinth in Quechua. It’s a place where Inca mummifications took place on a rock. After a short stay we continue to Sacsayuaman (not “sexy woman”, Vladimir jokes), a huge fortification in the form of a head. A head? Well, from the air, Cusco looks like a puma and Sacsayuaman forms the tail. Unfortunately, many stones have been torn out by the conquistadores and reused to build the Cathedral. We go further up to about 3700 meters, to the sacred springs of Tambomachay. I am content with the tour as the bus takes us down to Cusco again, stopping on the way for a short instruction about how to tell real Alpaca wool from syntetic or mixed fabric. We get to feel different sweaters and the baby Alpaca feels the best because it doesn’t prickle.

We take the 20:30 bus to Lima, everything goes according to the plan. The “buscama” seats can be folded 150 degrees, but it was not enough for me to sleep on it. There are a couple of movies, “Mr. Deeds” and “Pirates of the Caribbean – the curse of the black pearl” that should entertain the passengers while the bus rolls through the moon landscape of central Peru, somewhere here are the famous Nasca-lines. They amaze because the Incas who made them couldn’t see the result. The tourist now can from a comfortable airplane. The lines form a hummingbird or a parrot, for example, and are likely drawn to please the raingods. The German Maria Reiche has devoted her life to those lines. There is a museum named after her. Anyway, I didn’t see the lines with my own eyes. These busrides are not really interesting, and I should stop writing about them. I will be very tired and have a sore neck tomorrow.

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April 24. Cusco Sewing.

Cusco. Arrived here at six in the morning, went to a hostel with a German woman called Alexandra. We had breakfast in the central Mercado, coffee and an egg sandwich. Bought our busticket to Lima, walked around the Plaza de Armas until about nine.
After that I lied down for a couple of hours to make up for the uncomfortable busride. Later, I walked around again and had my trousers repaired by an old man with an ancient sewing machine for ten Soles. There is now German, Bolivian and Peruvian sewing work in these trousers. While I waited for the old man with a breadcrumb in his eyebrow to fix my jeans, I took a photo of a wall that looked like an abstract painting of a road towards an horizon. Isn’t that a nice idea, taking pictures of dilapidated walls with stains of paint and chunks of chalk that are nothing less than abstract ready-mades? Isn’t this a highly efficient way to turn into works of art what the esthetic eye perceives? I’d love to take a series of these wall-pictures with professional equipment and exhibit them some day. Those kind of ideas, that are distinguished and obvious enough, will have an easy life.
Returning to the Plaza de Armas, I walk into a traditional costumed dancing parade with fast Peruvian panflute music that got a little bit on my nerves. Flee into a café where I write at least some lines looking out over the Plaza. That night, I go back to the Plaza and dance in several bars to old disco hits. A French girl who dances hyperactively says she lives freedom, too.

I will skip Machu Picchu, by the way.

April 24. Cusco Sewing. was originally published on Meandering home

April 24. Cusco Sewing.

Cusco. Arrived here at six in the morning, went to a hostel with a German woman called Alexandra. We had breakfast in the central Mercado, coffee and an egg sandwich. Bought our busticket to Lima, walked around the Plaza de Armas until about nine.
After that I lied down for a couple of hours to make up for the uncomfortable busride. Later, I walked around again and had my trousers repaired by an old man with an ancient sewing machine for ten Soles. There is now German, Bolivian and Peruvian sewing work in these trousers. While I waited for the old man with a breadcrumb in his eyebrow to fix my jeans, I took a photo of a wall that looked like an abstract painting of a road towards an horizon. Isn’t that a nice idea, taking pictures of dilapidated walls with stains of paint and chunks of chalk that are nothing less than abstract ready-mades? Isn’t this a highly efficient way to turn into works of art what the esthetic eye perceives? I’d love to take a series of these wall-pictures with professional equipment and exhibit them some day. Those kind of ideas, that are distinguished and obvious enough, will have an easy life.
Returning to the Plaza de Armas, I walk into a traditional costumed dancing parade with fast Peruvian panflute music that got a little bit on my nerves. Flee into a café where I write at least some lines looking out over the Plaza. That night, I go back to the Plaza and dance in several bars to old disco hits. A French girl who dances hyperactively says she lives freedom, too.

I will skip Machu Picchu, by the way.

April 24. Cusco Sewing.

Cusco. Arrived here at six in the morning, went to a hostel with a German woman called Alexandra. We had breakfast in the central Mercado, coffee and an egg sandwich. Bought our busticket to Lima, walked around the Plaza de Armas until about nine.
After that I lied down for a couple of hours to make up for the uncomfortable busride. Later, I walked around again and had my trousers repaired by an old man with an ancient sewing machine for ten Soles. There is now German, Bolivian and Peruvian sewing work in these trousers. While I waited for the old man with a breadcrumb in his eyebrow to fix my jeans, I took a photo of a wall that looked like an abstract painting of a road towards an horizon. Isn’t that a nice idea, taking pictures of dilapidated walls with stains of paint and chunks of chalk that are nothing less than abstract ready-mades? Isn’t this a highly efficient way to turn into works of art what the esthetic eye perceives? I’d love to take a series of these wall-pictures with professional equipment and exhibit them some day. Those kind of ideas, that are distinguished and obvious enough, will have an easy life.
Returning to the Plaza de Armas, I walk into a traditional costumed dancing parade with fast Peruvian panflute music that got a little bit on my nerves. Flee into a café where I write at least some lines looking out over the Plaza. That night, I go back to the Plaza and dance in several bars to old disco hits. A French girl who dances hyperactively says she lives freedom, too.

I will skip Machu Picchu, by the way.

April 24. Cusco Sewing.

Cusco. Arrived here at six in the morning, went to a hostel with a German woman called Alexandra. We had breakfast in the central Mercado, coffee and an egg sandwich. Bought our busticket to Lima, walked around the Plaza de Armas until about nine.
After that I lied down for a couple of hours to make up for the uncomfortable busride. Later, I walked around again and had my trousers repaired by an old man with an ancient sewing machine for ten Soles. There is now German, Bolivian and Peruvian sewing work in these trousers. While I waited for the old man with a breadcrumb in his eyebrow to fix my jeans, I took a photo of a wall that looked like an abstract painting of a road towards an horizon. Isn’t that a nice idea, taking pictures of dilapidated walls with stains of paint and chunks of chalk that are nothing less than abstract ready-mades? Isn’t this a highly efficient way to turn into works of art what the esthetic eye perceives? I’d love to take a series of these wall-pictures with professional equipment and exhibit them some day. Those kind of ideas, that are distinguished and obvious enough, will have an easy life.
Returning to the Plaza de Armas, I walk into a traditional costumed dancing parade with fast Peruvian panflute music that got a little bit on my nerves. Flee into a café where I write at least some lines looking out over the Plaza. That night, I go back to the Plaza and dance in several bars to old disco hits. A French girl who dances hyperactively says she lives freedom, too.

I will skip Machu Picchu, by the way.

April 23. Lake Titicaca.

The legs are okay again. I can move on today. I want to describe the begging women in the bus station. Her dark skin, how she crouches and moves her hand up and down to indicate what she’s after: a few Bolivianos. The colorfully woven pouch on her back, the noises she makes, her small feet with the dirty sandals, the old hat, the expression on her face. Her whole expression, her entire being is an allegory of need. Say she’s only playing her role as a beggar and skip the only-part.

A few hours later, the bus arrives in the village Copacabana. We have crossed an arm of the Lake Titicaca by boat. The bus was shipped on a different vessel and it was fun to see it moving slowly on the water in the hot afternoon while we had already crossed the water on a smaller motorboat. At the shore of lake Titicaca I had a good lunch of Trucha from the lake and strawberry gelatine, a popular desert in Bolivia. A man came begging and I sent him away with a few coins.
The afternoon program: a boatride to the Isla del Sol. I talk to an older Dutch guy who travels two months every year and “does” Peru and Bolivia this time. I don’t really like the expression. How can you do a country? Like you do a woman? Like you do your job? Never mind, the boat trip was beautiful, and the Isla del Sol is a fine thing too. You can walk up a hill and visit some Inca structures there. I had to go back to Copacabana to take the bus to Puno at the Peruvian side of the lake. In Puno, I missed the famous floating islands, that used to be a retreat for the indigenous while the conquistadores lived the city.

Change the bus in Puno. In the terminal some guys yell “Arequipa Arequipa!” and “Cusco Cusco!” The guy from my bus company had it all organized and provides us with Peruvian tickets. In the bus to Cusco I meet an American guy working on a book with his laptop, which I find interesting. He has a book deal and does some field research. We talk about writing travel blogs or travel literature and he tells me he can’t just write freely what he thinks. I give him the address of mine and hope we exchange ideas some day. He continues writing with the computer on his lap which scares me a little. He writes more pages than I do! But that doesn’t matter, does it? We all do what we do. That goddamn fear of not being recognized is holding up too many fruitful ideas in too many meek minds.

I can’t concentrate on my own work and I can’t sleep either.

April 23. Lake Titicaca. was originally published on Meandering home

April 23. Lake Titicaca.

The legs are okay again. I can move on today. I want to describe the begging women in the bus station. Her dark skin, how she crouches and moves her hand up and down to indicate what she’s after: a few Bolivianos. The colorfully woven pouch on her back, the noises she makes, her small feet with the dirty sandals, the old hat, the expression on her face. Her whole expression, her entire being is an allegory of need. Say she’s only playing her role as a beggar and skip the only-part.

A few hours later, the bus arrives in the village Copacabana. We have crossed an arm of the Lake Titicaca by boat. The bus was shipped on a different vessel and it was fun to see it moving slowly on the water in the hot afternoon while we had already crossed the water on a smaller motorboat. At the shore of lake Titicaca I had a good lunch of Trucha from the lake and strawberry gelatine, a popular desert in Bolivia. A man came begging and I sent him away with a few coins.
The afternoon program: a boatride to the Isla del Sol. I talk to an older Dutch guy who travels two months every year and “does” Peru and Bolivia this time. I don’t really like the expression. How can you do a country? Like you do a woman? Like you do your job? Never mind, the boat trip was beautiful, and the Isla del Sol is a fine thing too. You can walk up a hill and visit some Inca structures there. I had to go back to Copacabana to take the bus to Puno at the Peruvian side of the lake. In Puno, I missed the famous floating islands, that used to be a retreat for the indigenous while the conquistadores lived the city.

Change the bus in Puno. In the terminal some guys yell “Arequipa Arequipa!” and “Cusco Cusco!” The guy from my bus company had it all organized and provides us with Peruvian tickets. In the bus to Cusco I meet an American guy working on a book with his laptop, which I find interesting. He has a book deal and does some field research. We talk about writing travel blogs or travel literature and he tells me he can’t just write freely what he thinks. I give him the address of mine and hope we exchange ideas some day. He continues writing with the computer on his lap which scares me a little. He writes more pages than I do! But that doesn’t matter, does it? We all do what we do. That goddamn fear of not being recognized is holding up too many fruitful ideas in too many meek minds.

I can’t concentrate on my own work and I can’t sleep either.