I arrived at the Plaza de Armas early and visited Starbucks for a coffee. Opposite the U.S., it is deserted in the mornings and really only gets crowded past 4 p.m. I take a seat on the steps in front of the main church and look around. A man walks up to me and offers to shine my shoes. I kindly refuse, though he lingers nearby for a while to see if I would have a sudden change of heart despite the fact that my shoes aren’t even made out of material that can be shined.
A little further in the plaza, some school children begin to dance dressed in traditional garb. The dance involves some rope and a crowd gathers around to watch. It is part of the post Corpus Christi celebrations that will continue long after. By this time, others have joined me on the steps, some to rest and eat, others to socialize and chat. Someone chats loudly in Quechua on my right, and I have trouble making out much Spanish from the people around me.
A new group of children begin to dance, this time seemingly jumping up and down in a sort of freestyle fashion. I finish my coffee and get up, as someone eagerly takes my place on the steps. The walk back from the Plaza includes many offers of “massaches” and a woman nearly places a baby llama in my hands as she wants money for me to take a picture. I weave in and out of people selling hats and artwork on little blankets and buy a water for 1.5 soles on the way back to Casa Elena. It was another morning and the start to another day in Cusco.