We arrived outside Machu Picchu today on the train from Cusco. The town ("Aguas Calientes" translates to "Hot Waters") looks somewhat like a ski town for hippies and tourists. No skiing of course. It sits at the feet of several tremendous mountains, almost in a deep and narrow ravine really. Breathtaking. Tomorrow we will visit the Machu Picchu ruins themselves.
I’d like to describe our time here in the sierra in detail later, but I wanted to mention two things today. One is that I had the spiciest food of my life for lunch today. I could barely eat any of it and certainly didn’t want to after the first explosion hit my tongue. Tim had a bite and let loose more than one tear. I think that was two hours ago and my lips are still tingling. At the time there was no “tingling” about it. It was just pain. We tried everything on the table to satisfy it- beer, sparkling water (the worst), lemonade (the best), guacamole, steamed vegetables. Nothing really worked. I was considering drinking the garlic sauce that went with the bread (already eaten) but decided against it.
Second, yesterday Tim found something he has been searching for since we arrived: artisan pottery for dishes in our new Puerto Supe home. In a whirlwind tour we picked out 8 dinner plates, 8 little plates, and 8 bowls from this beautiful and charming ceramics shop/ studio in the Sacred Valley. It came recommended by Lonely Planet and for good reason. The dishes really are works of art, coordinating but not matching, colorful in an earthy Peruvian way. I know we will love them always, and that if and when we leave Peru, they will be a lifelong reminder of the joy we have found here.