For the last year or two, I have started running. I love it, partly as it provides vaulable thinking and praying space. In Enfield, I loved running in the nearby woods, but in Cusco the scenery near the house is somewhat different. Here is a taster of what I see on an average run:
As I leave the house, I turn the corner and run past the shrine of the Virgin Mary, one of many in the area. It is opposite the ramshackle hut that is also a bakery, producing typical Andean flat bread - smells good. Then, I run past the sports court, where often a group of men are playing football. I don't know whether it is the rare sight of a Gringa running, or the machisimo culture, but often the men are not subtle as they stare - or shout comments. I don't stop to investigate why they do this so blatantly, and I run on.
There is a slight incline, which after 6 months of being in still takes away my breath - running at 3,300 metres is a challenge! Of course, the view of the surrounding mountains takes my breath as well. And then I take a welcome break, walking past the pack of stray dogs that hang around here, not wanting to antagonise them. Unfortunately, this coincides with 2 men that are very publicly and unashamedly urinating against the tyres of a car. Averting my eyes, I run on.
I run on past countless construction and de-construction projects, on rocky ground and decent pavement, past 2 more sports courts, past Daniel's school, past the Watch Men chatting on the corner and not seeming to be watching much. I run on past various corner shops and cafes, past the shop where you can actually buy fresh milk, past the restaurant offering a decent 3 course meal for £2.50.
And then I am home - desperate for a shower and hoping the gas bottle powering the hot water doesn't run out.