Monday, January 26, 2015
Catch-up post #5 Jan 13 - we arrive in Cusco
President and Hermana Harbertson met us at the Cusco airport. By this time, we had been up and in the same clothes for over 40 hours. It was so wonderful to see familiar faces. If we gave them a hug for everyone who asked us to, we would have been hugging for 3 hours, so we just gave them one big hug for everyone.
We arrived with 13 young missionaries from the Lima Peru MTC (Missionary Training Center). About half the bags you see are ours. We loaded into the van, and went for a brief tour of Cusco. It is one crazy city. The only other place I've seen with so many near-misses in traffic is Manila, Philippines. There are no mission cars for the elders to drive here, which is a good thing, and they are not allowed to ride bicycles - they would only last about 30 minutes in this traffic before being splatted.
President Harbertson greeting the new missionaries. It was strange to hear him speaking Spanish, but he is very fluent, and speaks very clearly. Curiously, I can understand about half of what he says, but when listening to a native speaker, I can hardly make out a word or two.
A view of Cusco from one of the many high points surrounding the city. The main square, the Plaza de Armas, which is quite famous, is in the center of the picture.
This is the Cristo Blanco (White Christ), a very downsized version of the one overlooking Rio de Janiero.
The obligatory photo with alpacas and some Quechua in their native dress. Note their size, they are small, even for Quechua. They are there for tourists and expect a few Sols (local currency, about $0.33) for their picture. There are some who dress like this in Cusco, but in the outlying small towns, it is daily wear for the women.
With President and Hermana Harbertson. It was windy and chilly up there, and the Harbertsons were so patient posing for a picture with every new missionary. Hna Harbertson's neckwear is a standard accessory for women during the colder times. I even brought one for myself, though in a more manly color. We are already learning the art of "layering" our clothing, and have learned to keep an umbrella handy. Our choice of high-tech raingear is already proving to be a wise decision.
Below is the Mission Home, where the President and Hna Harbertson live. It is every elegant and functional, with security walls and gate, about 2 years old and very good quality with tasteful furnishings throughout. After our arrival, we had some orientation meetings, and a very light dinner (delicious soup and rolls), as we were still adjusting to the altitude. We spent our 1st night here (we were so grateful) - we both just took showers to rid ourselves of the travel grit, then hit the bed and crashed for a very good night's sleep. The next morning President and Hna drove us and all our gear to our furnished apartment, where we will live for the next year. Will describe our (very nice) apartment in another post.