Monday, November 8, 2010

Agra

Yes, I made it to the Taj Mahal.

We left Delhi by the early morning train on AC Second class, which is a very comfortable (if perhaps a bit chilly) way to travel the 3.5 hours. We didn't have our return journey booked, which lead to a bit of hassle as I'll explain later.

Agra is one of the most touristy cities in India, and especially after the Commonwealth Games, has institutionalized the tourism. That being said, you can only expect one thing from being so obviously a tourist- you're gonna be ripped off.

Our Breakfast Nook.

We took breakfast in a cozy rooftop cafe (where I had my first peanut butter toast) before heading off to the Taj Mahal around noon. The Archaeological Survey of India controls most of the cultural heritage sites around the country and they institute a differentiated price for all attractions based on nationality. For example, at the bottom of the heirarchy of culturally considered sites, to get into the Buddist caves at Lonavala, nationals pay 5 rupies. Non-national (aka international tourists) pay 50. As one of the biggest international attractions, the Taj Mahal is almost 7 times what all the other attractions are at an entry price of 750 rupies for non-nationals. Which, granted, is $17 dollars and totally worth it, but it's a bit frustrating being so obviously labeled as a "rich foreign tourist".
ताज महल

That being said, I don't really know how to describe actually visiting the Taj Mahal. It was beautiful. यह बहुत सुंदर था। (Sorry, I just have learned to type in Devanagri and may occasionally repeat myself in Hindi just to prove that I can.) It was unbelievable- the symmetry is REALLY that perfect. The cool, white marble screams of a luxury that I can not even process and the eloquent grief remains forever poignant. Although the mausoleum was finished in 1652, the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was shortly thereafter confined to Agra Fort across the river after his son Aurangzeb took power. I don't have many pictures from Agra Fort because my camera battery pooped out on me, but I was awed by the majesty of this grandiose palace and fortification. The intricate detailing and excessive white marble evoked a heartbreaking romanticism that was only emphasized by the view of the Taj Mahal across the river.
View from Agra Fort

I couldn't help but imagine Shah Jahan trapped in this marble palace as his love lay across the river, never to be forged until after his own death.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tour Inside Qala-i-Kuhna Masjid

video

Sight-Seeing in Delhi: Part II

We started our day by heading over to the Raj Ghat, which is a memorial to Mohandas Gandhi, the Mahatama, at the place where he was cremated. The place was very busy and it was almost disconcerting to see a vast manicured lawn after so much of the urban landscape.


I was fascinated by the Old Fort (Purana Qala), a huge complex of monumental architecture, mosques, and fortification. Since my knowledge of the site is limited by the various plaques around the grounds, let me quote.

"Popularly known as Pandavon-ka Kila, the Purana Qala stands on a mound which may possibly mark the site of the town of Indraprastha of the Mahabharata story. The standing ramparts and other buildings were, however, built by Sher Shah Sur (AD 1538-45). After demolishing and remodelling Dinpanah, a city founded here in AD 1533 after his return from Persia in AD 1555. Humayun resided here until his death in AD 1556 and is believed to have repaired and constructed some portions of the citadel.

Purana Qala is irregularly oblong on plan with bastions on corners and along the western ramparts. Its principal gateways on the North, West, and South are crowned with chhatris and are known respectively as Talaqi, Bara, and Humayun Darwazas. Among existing buikdings inside are Sher Shah's mosque and a tower known as Sher Manual. Originally a moat surrounded the ramparts and was connected on the east with the river Yamuna.

The Qala-I-Kahna Masjid, or the mosque withing the Old Fort, was constructed by Sher Shah Sur in AD 1541. Architecturally, it exemplifies the transition from the earlier mosques of the Lodi period to those of the Mughal period, characterised by a well. The tank in the courtyard was intended for ablution before the prayers.

The Sher Mandal is believed to have been built in about AD 1541. Possibly raised by Sher Shah as a pleasure resort, the pavilion is said to have been used by Humayun as his library and he is believed to have died in 1556 after a mortal fall from its steps."

The medieval architecture was unbelievably impressive and surprisingly uncrowded in relation to the rest of the city. If I could, I would have picnicked there all day. I wandered around the outer ramparts for a while, and some older gentleman asked me how many times I had excavating! I could only mumble that I WISHED I could excavate there, but I was so confusedly happy to be recognized as an archaeologist even in a skirt.


I then made a 180 degree turn around in terms of architecture to go and see the famed Lotus Temple. Completed in 1986, this Baha'i temple gets unbelievable traffic. The line to enter the temple reached to where this photo was taken and the combination of heat and crowd dissuaded us from actually going in the building.

I traveled back in time once more to see the Qutb (Qutab) complex of medieval structures which highlights the Qutb Minar. This wonderfully phallic symbol was first initiated in AD 1199 and remains the world's tallest brick minar! Isn't that nifty?! The whole complex seemed very odd because it had been added to and changed over many centuries and by every conquerer. I really enjoyed how many pieces of earlier structures were being recycled into the newer structures, creating this tapestry of old and older in a jumbled patchwork.

































To end the crazy day of sight seeing, I ended the day in the Lodi Gardens, which is a collection of monuments and tombs surrounded by...well.. gardens. It was beautiful and peaceful in the later afternoon after a long day of sight seeing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flowers

I don't have the patience to yet do my post for my second day of sight seeing in Delhi, so enjoy these pictures in the meantime!













































Sight-Seeing in Delhi: Day I

As Delhi stood as the beginning and end of my travels outside of Pune, I was able to see may of the attractions (as well as much of the realities) in one of the oldest cities on the sub-continent. Delhi has had 7 historical occupations and is a swarming megatropolis by anyone's standards.

Day I: I started my sight-seeing in New Delhi, at the Arch of India, a true monument honoring India's military in World War I. Many monuments and governm
ental buildings lie on this central promenade called Rajput, in a style very similar to the Mall in Washington, D.C. I walked from the Gate of India all the way to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President's House, enjoying the sunset, instituted waterways, and the National Museum (see the sunset photo). Although we could only see in through the gates under constant military survalliance, monkeys wandered freely around the grounds, leaving a very romantic sentiment under the setting sun. This was the only place in Delhi that wasn't exhaustively over-crowded. The streets were so quiet and no one yelled at us "Hey madam, what country are you from?"

From there I went to my first Sikh temple at the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib. The temple marks the spot where the headless body of Guru Tegh Bahadur was, to the opposition of the Mughal Imperialists, cremated (and by that, I mean that one of his followers stole the body back to his house after his execution and lit his own house on fire so that the body could be faithfully respected without detection from the Mughals). Before entering the temple, we took off our shoes (if you didn't know, this is a common practice across South Asia to take your shoes off at a sacred place), washed our hands and feet, and borrowed scarves outside the temple proper to cover our heads. Inside, three young priests held vigil 24 hours a day, constantly singing and playing classical instruments. Our guide, who was also our rickshaw driver for the day, said that they work on shifts so that the temple is always staffed. We ended the day in a much less picturesque way, wandering in Old Delhi after dinner (an experience, let me tell you).







Monday, October 25, 2010

IndiGo

This will be the first in a series about my 10-day trip across and around Delhi, Agra, and Jaisalmer. Whhhhooooooo!


We flew from Pune to Delhi which was a nice little flight. Security is tight all across India, with passports and photos needed even for phones, and the airport is no exception. The procedure was pretty familiar, with women in one que and men in the other. I traveled, as usual, with only carry-on and my bag was stopped both times. Although I had my metal knitting needles sitting in my bag, they were more concerned with my twissers! When the security officer took out a tampon, looking quizzical, I couldn't help but smile and hide my giggles. It was evident that she had no idea what it was used for, and I had no words in Hindi to try and explain it to her. But she was satisfied to open the small package and see that it was just plastic.

The flight was rather standard, although somewhat modified.
The flight attendants were all very pretty I noticed, which is intentional according to the advertisement put in the on-board magazine. They all sported short bobs, two out of the three of which were artificial. Yes, as in wigs.


In the end, I was very thankful for our air travel, as it was clean, safe, and fairly cheap.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A New Obsession

Today, for the first time, I experienced a truly Indian sensation. And it even included chai break.

I'm talking about cricket. The game seems highly unusual on TV to the American viewer, with all of the players wearing white (I'll never understand those silly hats) and this obsession with the word "wicket". But underneath the seemingly slow game play and vague similarities to American baseball, cricket supports a vary complex series of mental complications that keeps the game in balance.

We played in the back of the hotel parking lot, in between buildings. It was raining, and there wasn't that much room, so we played without runners and shorter rules. Although our professor (and cricket-master) brought a ... bat? Stick? ... we only had one tennis ball, so when that went over the wall, a rescue party had to be arranged in short order to continue game play. A couple of us had played softball/baseball, so we had a slight advantage, but at this stage of competition the most useful skill was quick reflexes/ We all had a lot of fun and, although we may not quite understand all of the rules for scoring yet, have come with a refreshed interest in learning the intricacies of the game.

And it goes without saying that my team won. TEAM DOMINATION!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hindi Movies

Today we went to the National Film Archives to see the film "मन्थन" or "The Churning". We sat on stiff red velvet chairs to see the projection, transporting us back to 1976 when the film was released. The film was funded by the Dairy Farmers of Gujrat about the founding of a dairy cooperative in the 1950s, based mostly on the Amul cooperative. This phenomenon, also called the "White Revolution", brought about a huge increase in the availability of milk and other foodstuffs in the 1970s. (See the Wikipedia page about the film here.) The film touched on issues of caste, poverty, gender, and the feudal holdovers of rural India. Although very distant from the "Bollywood" Hindi movies I've seen, Manthan definatly protrayed some very sensitive issues with graceful acting and cinematography.

For a lighter movie, I highly suggest "Three Idiots" (IMDb here). It's everything you could ever hope in a movie- drama, humor, song and dance, romance, plot twists, births and deaths. It fully acknowledges its Bollywood heritage and the joys of bromance. Although the three hour commitment can seem daunting, the film mixes humor and serious issues in unbelievably quick turns, keeping the audience on its toes.

Ok. Time to study for my Hindi test. :P

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Updates

I have no patience to write this update gracefully, so I shall resort to the wonderful organization of numbers.

--

1. I've officially been in India for two weeks! Zomg!

2. Saturday Adventures:
After a lot of debate, I decided to stay the weekend in Pune rather than attempt to go to the famed Ellora/Ajanta caves (see this blog for a preview). But no worries, I will go! Because Saturday was the Mahatama's birthday (Gandhi, that is) we went to one of his memorials within the city at the Aga Khan palace. The palace had a small museum which contained affects of Gandhiji and his wife and beautiful grounds. (I apologize for no pictures; this will be explained below.) Interestingly, admittance for foreigners is Rs. 100 while only Rs. 5 for Indian citizens. There was a book launch going on when we got there in the afternoon, but it was surprisingly empty for being a National Holiday. A couple of young boys (aged 8-10) came up to us, asking for our autographs! We all exchanged names (in broken Hindi and English) signed in their notebook (in English and Devanagri) and took photos. From there, we took a rickshaw further into the heart of the city to visit the Shaniwar wada, a fort built in the 1700s. Most all of the interior structures have been destroyed through various processes, but the fortification still remains. From there we walked among Lakshmi Road, which hosts one of the busiest shopping areas in Pune.

3. Sunday Adventures:
Not going to the Ajanta/Ellora caves left a hole in my heart for some early Buddist religious architecture. To fill this hole, we decided to start on an adventure to the Karla caves, built before 200 B.C. This adventure required a 1.5 hour public train ride, a 10 minute rickshaw, and a good 30 minutes of stairs. One way. But it was totally worth it. When we arrived near the caves, the local town was having a celebration with a small crowd of young men clearly inebriated, covered in pink powder. We hiked up the stairs, braving the stares that accompany being so clearly foreign. We just made it up the stone pathway to be granted entrance to the site- the caves shut at 6 pm. Running back to the station, we ended up meeting a couple of exchange students from Germany, and shared some chai and English before getting back on the train. (And on that note, may I express my pleasure with the woman's compartment on trains. We sat on the floor in front of the open door, letting the air fill the mostly empty compartment.) And we made it back in time for dinner.

4. Photography
Over the weekend I, and everyone else in my foreign-exchange group, were asked to pose in pictures at least 6 times. Apparently it's a common expression of curiosity and happens to foreigners all the time. Complete strangers would come up to me, and ask me to be in a photo with them, their wives, friends, and family; once the photo was over, everyone was happy to go back to sight-seeing with their respective parties. It was in one of these instances, however, that I got distracted, showing a stranger the photo that was just taken, and got shuffled along to my own party. It wasn't until I got to the train station that I even realized that I no longer had my camera. *Sigh* But it's just a thing, and I'll get another one before my trip.

5. My trip!
In about a week I'll be going on an epic journey. I'll keep the details a secret, but let's just say that I'm gonna be able to see much more of India.

6. This weekend
In Bombay/Mumbai. I don't know if I'll have access to internet, but I'll at least have some stories and hopefully a camera when I get back.




Ok. So that's all I can force myself to do now. I'll leave social commentary and pictures for later. (^-*)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Thesis

Today was the first day of classes and as part of the introductions, my professor asked us each about our first impressions, expectations, and surprises about India. As we have only been here for 4 days now, it's hardly enough to even understand what's going on. Yet there seemed to be a similarity in responses- we were hardly shocked. There were no epiphanies, no earth-shattering culture shock. There was perhaps even a vague similarity to some of the students, and even I have to admit the walking down these battered streets I am reminded of my experiences contending with street shops and unbelievable traffic in Peru.

To be fair, in the closeted program we are in and as foreign students in general, we have and will be sheltered from the most desperate of situations, just as we are sheltered in the United States. Coming from America/the "West" (however you want to characterize it), India has come to represent a dueling monster, a strange mystical dirty rising star in the international scene. Something (as I unabashedly steal an image from Rusdie's "Midnight's Children") that can only been seen in glimpses, elements as seen in holes of the fabric of global reality. In many ways, the nation has been characterized in three ways: as the magical, colorfully exotic nation that the British fell hard and fast for; as holding one of the poorest populations on the earth, along with the dirt and crime that follows such poverty; and as the "rising star" on the global scene along with Brazil and China as new producers of technology and medicine. With these contrasting beasts of Indian portrayal, we could only expect the best and the worst out of our experiences. Yet reality, as in all things notes Aristotle, lies somewhere in the middle.

I choose not to feed into the characterization of this multi-cultural nation as any of these three beasts, the Cerberus with three heads. Because, as true as these stereotypes may be in parts, it would be unfair to confuse my experience with the assumed and expected. I expect to have unexpected revelations, to be tested in my preconceptions about time, place, and people. I expect my own sheltering and education to remove me from certain understandings and as a young, American female there are shared experiences I will never know. I hope to show you (my invisible readers) my experiences and my thoughts. This will not be a treatise about how to truly "See the Real India". Because no such thing exists. Instead, I hope to be the hole in the sheet; to be a window, though tinted, into this whirlwind of places and peoples. And through these glimpses, I hope to obtain a wider view of the world, and myself.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jet-lag

Hello again!

The past month has been a whirlwind of travel for me, staying no more than one week in one location at a time. I feel like I've barely had time to prepare all I needed for my latest foreign adventure. While my MacBook (and my brain) tells me that it is 9:11 am, my watch (and stomach) tells me that it is actually 7:45 pm. I lost a day somewhere in transit; it must have slipped away from me in that barely-conscious airplane delusions, trapped by the seatside television and drowsiness.

But I arrived! Have arrived! Twice! First in Bombay/Mumbai, then onto Pune/Poona. Yes, that's right, India.

(More to come...)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Profile of a Place: Galena, IL


Galena, Illinois, is a picturesque place serving tourists searching for a taste of clean fun and nostalgia. The town boasts of its historic ties to the thriving trade on the Mississippi, well before Chicago became the gateway to the West, with lovely streets filled with lovely stores selling lovely things. Tourists thrive in Galena, where nostalgia rules pocketbooks. Unlike many tourist traps, however, Galena does not rely on the young and reckless to fund their service economy. Families, groups of mature women, and motorcyclists make up the majority of the visitors. Confectioneries, wineries, house tours, jewelery stores, antique houses, museums, parks, art galleries, and restaurants cater to the well to do searching for a taste of Midwestern refined living. Grant's Home is a mandatory stop on the Galena circuit and is the cheapest find of all as it is run by the State of Illinois. A mere $3 donation gets you to see quite a few original pieces of the Grant family, including one of the most famous portraits of our 18th president. The tour was small, but the historical associations of the house made it well worth the trip. This is in contrast to another historical house and tourist attraction, the Belvedere House. The impressive mansion has seen a variety of owners and uses, and the current owners have opened the House to the public to showcase their impressive collection of period furniture, art, and MGM salehouse finds such as The Curtains from the famous film "Gone with the Wind". Although the history of the house has been recorded quite well, only the largest pieces of furniture are original to the house. The pieces are incredible, however, including a priceless Tiffany chandelier (no pictures in the house, unfortunately) with matching sconces.

I cannot speak to the quality of the food and spirits this jewel of Jo Daviess County as I am too poor to indulge in such things. Food and housing is quite expansive in the area; we ended up staying in Dubuque, Iowa to defray the cost of our own get-away. But to put things in perspective, the Belvedere Tour puts you back $9 a person and a milkshake is $4 a pop (and you can get a real float in traditional flavors such as Green River for $5).

Galena brings some rustic charm to the weekend vacation however constructed for the vacationer.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Post-Peru

Well, I promised another post before leaving the country, something that I failed to do. *isorryface* I spent the last few days in Arequipa picking up gifts and relishing the availability of cake slices for $1. I'll probably bore y'all with the details of the archaeological investigations at the site in another post.

I intend to keep this blog up, with some more useful posts on travel and (possibly) my cooking adventures. I'll be travelling to Washington D.C. (OMG THE SMITHSONIAN) before heading over to India, so there will be more stories (probably mostly about the food). With these assurances, here are some more pictures for your perusing (full pun intended) of the wonderful country of Peru. I am sad that I did not get to do more travelling, especially to see some of the great archaeological sites of the country- Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Caral and the cultural ones- Lima and Puno for instance. But I am young still, and much of this world is left to be explored. I will get to it one day. Hopefully while the exchange rate is so amenable. Again, for your viewing pleasure...


View of the Vitor Valley, taken from a Middle Horizon site in Millo II. The mountain set called Chichani is in the distance on the left, and the single volcano in the center is Misti. Architectural rubble covers the site in what used to be structures and terracing.

Palta Rellena con Pollo- one of my favorite Peruano dishes. It's basically a chicken salad over avocado. Simple and delicious!

View from our lab in Vitor.

This is a video taken from a scenic point in the district of Sachaca, and if you turn your head you can get the full view of Arequipa, however sun-washed and fuzzy. This was my first attempt at using the video function on my camera, and apparently I thought the only way to make it function was by verbally willing it to "Panorama". My apologies.
video

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Meet my new best friend, Pepto

The bathrooms at the field house.


As all travelers must, I did too. I fell sick on Tuesday and stayed back from the field. Luckily (unfortunately?) another one of my peers was also sick, so I had a buddy to stay back with. Somehow I had gotten through this much of my life without taking Pepto or Immodium or Tums, so this week has been experiments in the three. I am feeling much better today and hopefully it all will have passed. I only have one more week in Peru, so my next post will be my last from the country. I forgot my camera in Vitor this weekend, so I don´t have any more recent pictures, though I will probably post more with pictures once I´m back in the States and don´t have to pay for my internet.

We are coming up to the end of our trench as we are preparing to excavate the most exciting features, hopefully some in-situ burials. We have already opened one that has been heavily looted, but much of the human remains are intact.

Today I will try ceviche and do a bit of shopping (and send those postcards like I´ve been meaning to). I´ll be back again with more updates later. :D

PS- One word in Spanish that I´ve comfortably learned while here- galletas...cookies. :D

Ketchup

Hello All !

So it´s been awhile since a real substantial post, so I´ll try and include some details that I left out before. Two weekends ago we had a splendid time in Moquegua where we all climbed Cerro Baul and ate cuy (yum yum guinea pig). Cerro Baul is a ridge on which the Wari elite lived and ruled from in the Moquegua basin. There have been more than 10 field seasons at the site, to varying degrees and results. One of the most interesting aspects of Cerro Baul to me is that it remains an Apu- a sacred place- of the region that local people still pay their respects to in accordance to the agricultural season. These ¨Pagos¨ or ¨payments¨fuse Catholic and local traditions and supply the site with a steady stream of visitors to construct little houses of stones with burning tobacco and fake money payment. There was a pago going on even as our tour of the site blistered on.

Me on top of Cerro Baul.

And, secondly, the other big thing for the past weekends- Cuy. Yes, that´s a whole, deep-fried guinea pig. You can still see the claws and the hair is stuck on in many places still. Overall, it tasted...well...like chicken. But, to me, it just took wayy too much effort to actually get a substantial amount of meat off for it to be worth getting over the strange sensation that you are actively dissecting a pet.

So, that´s it for the past weekends. More recent update to follow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Field Season Starts

I only have a short time, so this will be a short post.

In short:
The field season has started at Millo 2, a probable Middle Horizon site in the Vitor Valley. I am working on the Mortuary Team, hoping to find a cemetary. Our accomodations are rustic, no hot water, 3 room house, ect. But the food is quite excellent and I´ve been keeping healthy thus far. The preservation is excellent at the site and in this climate in general; we found the hyoid of one subadult- a tiny bone that almost never survives in the archaeological context. I´ll post pictures soon. :D

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I´m not Dead Part III

In Moquegua. Still alive after climbing Cerro Baul and eating guinea pig and buying new memory card. Will update more completely later. Field wonderful. On Mortuary team! No hot water in field. Showers not fun. Ect.

<3!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Little Late

So I will be out of touch for the next two weeks, but I can´t believe that I have forgotten to share another piece of information: Alpaca Steak = Yummy.

Yes, I love alpacas in a multitude of ways. The meat is very tender, with a texture like beef but has a taste more like a white meat like pork. I managed to get a combination meal of beef, lamb, and alpaca selections, and you could really taste the difference. I have yet to try Qui (guinea pig) but I´m hoping that staying in the field will afford a greater chance for such an interaction to occur. :P

Friday, June 25, 2010

Arequipa Tour

Passionfruit flower.

Sorry for the delay; yesterday we had a long bus tour of the city and the oulying areas. The ¨White City ¨ is so diverse. All the buildings are low to the ground because the area is prone to earthquakes and all of the buildings have multiple signs pointing to areas of safety. Today is our last day in Arequipa before we head to the field for 2 weeks, stopping in Moqugua for the following weekend. I´ll keep posting as much as possible, especially once we get into the field!! I can´t wait!
Apu (sacred mountain) Misti

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Santa Catalina Monastery

Fun Fact: Arequipañan garbage trucks will blast a steel-drum version of ¨Under the Sea¨from the Little Mermaid.

View inside the Santa Catalina Monastery.

After class we headed to the Santa Catalina Monastery, a nunnery from the Spanish Conquest. Once initiated into the nunnery, the junior nuns, some as young as 12, were locked in their holdings all day, every day. They were let out twice a day, and a small window was opened to allow for the exchange of food and chamberpots. As many as 500 nuns lived in this mini-city at one time, and the monestary was opèned to the public in 1970. Now only 20 nuns occupy a newly renovated space, and they do not practice the fasting, self-flagellation, or such complete isolation as in the past.

The women had slaves until 1878, at which time the Popè outlawed individual rooms, at which time all of the nuns slept and worked communally. The laundary would be hung from the roof, which affords a wonderful view of the mountains.

The whole complex is in great condition although the reality of the conditions underwhich these girls lived under seems quite alien to my American conceptions of happiness.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day in Arequipa

Today I fell in love. With an alpaca. Photo to come later.

After a stimulating morning discussion of the political and theoretical influences over Peruvian archaeology, we headed out to lunch of avocado salad and an interesting interpretation of spagetti with a tomato-skin rose. After lunch, we took a small break before heading to a museum to see Juanita. Juanita was a 12-14 year old girl discovered in 2005, frozen for 550 years on a Peruvian mountaintop. As part of the Inka tradition of sacrafice, many luxery items were associated with these sacrifices, of which it is impossible to take photos of. Inside her glass and ice box, Juanita has a strange aura to us spectators, part of which is because the insane preservation of her body.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day of Classes

My plane from Lima to Arequipa.

View of the Andes from the Municipal Park just two blocks from my hotel.


Last night our project director took us out to dinner and started out with an ïce breaker¨of Pîsco-Sours. The national drink is made from pisco, a liquor made from grapes, limon, egg whites, and is both smooth and refreshing. We enjoyed Turkish fare and getting to know each other before our classes started proper.

Our classes are held at the Universidad Catolica de Santa Maria, but today we just went over procedure and regulations. #5: Don´t drink too many Pisca-Sours in the first week. Lol. We took the time to also get all of the necessities of living abroad as well a really delicious meal of Peruvian fare. All of the people seem really great and I can´t wait to get to know everyone better. Well, I had better get going!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I´m not Dead : Part I

Greetings from Arequipa!

After an exhausting 20 hours of travelling, I landed in the city with the Andes in view. I was surprised by how easily I was able to navigate between 3 flights and 3 new airports with my limited Spanish. I´ve already walked in the Municipal Park and gotten my first Peruvian fare. The exchange rate is great here- 3 soles for 1 American dollar. I was able to exchange my American cash at the airport as well as get a calling card (but I´m still figuring how to work it).

I´ve met up with the others from the Field School and we are slowly but surely getting past the awkward ¨getting to know you¨phase. The view is gorgeous and Arequipa seems to be a pretty clean city. I just can´t wait to watch some of the World Cup going round. :D

I´ll have access to internet every day, so I´ll try and post something interesting each time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Preparations

Hey All!

My Amazon.con suggestions yesterday were 3 plays and a Marshalltown trowel, so I know field season is just around the corner. I leave on Saturday (the 19th) and after that point will make a point to blog each weekend to let my parents and loved ones know that I'm not dead. As my mom has pointed out, however, this leaves me the possibility of being dead during the week.

Still trying to figure that one out.

Anyways, I have a lot of packing and little errands to run before I leave. I doubt that I will be able to post pictures as I go, as I'm choosing to leave my beloved Mac at home. I will, however, be able to post pictures (or maybe just a link to facebook photos) once I'm back.

I'll keep you updated on the packing process!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Introductions

Hello All!

I'm starting this blog in anticipation of a fun and travel-filled 6 months. As an archaeologist-in-training and budding traveler, I hope to share a little bit of my experience with family and friends.

Countdown: 6 days until my flight to Peru!