MattNoonan's Travel Journals

MattNoonan

 
What do you want to do the next time you travel abroad?

learn a language, study abroad, volunteer in a needy community, work with the environment, experience a new culture through studying, experience a new culture through volunteering, go sightseeing, meet new people, change the world [somehow], adventure travel

  • 27 years old
  • From Illinois, United States
  • Currently in Cordoba, Argentina

Peru: para mi & para you

ramblings concerning a four month stay in Cusco, Peru. circa winter/spring or rainy/almostnolongerrainy 2011 depending on your hemisphere/climate zone.

Qosqo: Navel of the Universe

Peru Cusco, Peru  |  Jan 23, 2011
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 ...when I leave this place, it will replenish itself with a fresh set of wandering bodies and go on as if I never came. 

I guess a lot has happened since I’ve been here that I almost neglect to realize, and thus almost neglect to contemplate. So here’s to a stream of consciousness rant about being in an internationally recognized tourist city…

Of the dozens of people that I’ve encountered and shared conversations with—in both English and Spanish, or some hodge-podge of the two—a few experiences are especially poignant. One of the first nights of being here with ProWorld, some compañeros (Erich and Caitlin) and I decided to explore some of the Cusco nightlife. Having heard that the San Blás neighborhood was more or less the bohemian district of Cusco, we decided to dig in. During our jaunt up some the various and numerous and strenuous hills of the city, we found our ears enticed by some familiar yet exotic sounds permeating from the second floor of white-walled building. So we consulted each other about what to do, agreed, jogged up the stairs, caught our breaths, then lost them again once we realized that we were watching a funky Peruvian blues trio play to a room full of Argentines, Peruvians, other Americans, and god knows who else. I mean, the percussionist was playing the cajón. In a blues group. We talked with some guys from California and some girls from Argentina. We ended up leaving that bar to go to another one with Eli and David, the guys from California. There, we all played a traditional Peruvian game called “Sapito” with some Peruvians and the Egyptian bartender, Jalim, who spoke Arabic, Russian, English, and Spanish. I could expound on the kind of elaborate twists and turns in our lives that might have put us all there together that night, but I’m sure it’s manifest enough in all of the words in this paragraph that begin with a capital letter/the ones not in English.

Another encounter was in a tattoo parlor as my compañera Caitlin got her first tattoo. (breathe, Mom) As we were sitting there, a girl walked in who was obviously of some sort of Latin descent and obviously a friend of the shop owner. When she asked “How come you guys aren’t getting tattoos?”, I responded by saying “Ya lo tengo”, thinking that she was a Peruvian or maybe some visiting Argentine. She kind of gave me a funny look and I later found out that she was actually born in the US, currently lives in Canada, is of Argentine descent, and is taking a year off of school to travel, volunteer, and learn Spanish—thus the funny look. For whatever reason, I happened to bring up that I was at the Sasquatch music festival in Washington this past May, and she said she was there too. After listing off all the bands we saw and what we thought of them, it sort of hit me how strange it was that we were meeting thousands of miles and a bunch of months away from that space-time; the magic with which people’s lives unknowingly intertwine is profound. I could have never met Natasha and still we would have been in two places completely out of our ordinary day-to-day at the same time and we never would have known it. Just the possibility that that can happen to anyone, at any given time, without their knowledge of it, makes the world seem a lot more tight-knit, a lot more shared, and a lot more magic.

So here I am, in Cusco—Qosqo, the navel of the universe—an American, with representatives from all over the world, living, eating, drinking, and dancing together, and when I leave this place, it will replenish itself with a fresh set of wandering bodies and go on as if I never came. This place is timeless; it lives in the world, but more aptly, the world lives in it.

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