Although it was once the imperial capital of the Incas, today the city center of Cusco harbors a diverse international community. This includes expatriates from countries ranging from France to South Africa, as well as thrill-seeking travelers stopping off on their way to Machu Picchu. This Saturday, a holiday dinner we attended underlined this international vibe.
Our New Yorker friend Sheethal was the host of the party. She’s living in Cuzco for 3 months working as a fellow for the microfinance organization Kiva, where Kim is also a volunteer. Sheethal threw a potluck at her colorfully painted apartment and asked all invitees to bring a dish from their home country. She herself is of Indian descent and made a delicious curry and rice from Southern India.
The guests brought a variety of international dishes. The dinner table included a tortilla española, a spicy Chinese lettuce wrap, homemade guacamole, and a French chocolate torte. There were, of course, also a variety of typical Peruvian dishes such as rocoto relleno and ají de gallina. A friend from Lima made potent pisco and passion fruit sours (typical Peruvian cocktails), and there were a variety of wines from Chile and Argentina. In true American fashion, we decided to make a lattice-topped apple pie.
The pockets of conversations in the room flipped from Spanish to English to French and back again. Many talked about recent travels or volunteer work that they’re doing for NGOs here in Cuzco. Guests stayed late into the night laughing and sharing stories.
Although it’s well into December and the rainy season is in full swing, Cuzco is still an exciting place to be. We’ve played great games of ultimate Frisbee in the pouring rain, as the girls often refuse to stop their matches because of the common afternoon showers here. We have just begun our last week of classes for the semester and thus are treating the girls to their favorite games and sports and a goodbye gift of colorful toothbrushes. For ten-year olds, they have been surprisingly enthusiastic about receiving them. We wrap up classes in mid-December for the schools’ summer vacation, but are looking forward to beginning a new semester on March 1st.
Enjoy the holiday season!
Kim and Lauren