Saturday, January 17, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

Today I finished my Spanish class. It was fun and I learned a lot during the class.  I’m continuing with meeting my tandem partner so I will still be able to practice in a controlled environment. Of course, there is always daily life that requires speaking the language. I’m gaining some confidence with speaking, although verbs are still tough for me.

Hilario Mendivil Museum
This afternoon we went on a Museum tour. We visited the Hilario Mendivil Museum. Mendivil was one of the most important artisans of the twentieth century. He and his family make sculptures of virgins, saints, and angels represented with long necks in reference to the alpaca and the culture of Peru.

We also visited the Museo Maximo Laura.  Maximo Laura specializes in hand-woven Andean tapestries of very brightly colored yarns. He uses the yarn almost as a painter does, weaving multiple colors at once, line by line. It was amazing to watch one of the apprentices weaving and to see all of the beautiful tapestries in the museum.

The neighborhood where these museums are located is called San Blas and it is noted for the high concentration of artists in the city. As you walk around the neighborhood, the streets are narrow cobblestones often with stairs for sidewalks to make it easier to climb the hills. Needless to say, I had a bit of a time getting up to San Blas Plaza.  Coming down wasn’t as bad, but still had to be careful of the irregularities in the streets.

The last museum we visited on our tour was the Coca Museum.  I learned a lot about coca leaves and how they were used in ceremonies throughout the Incan empire.  It was only when the European’s got hold of it that it became misused and abused.  Did you know that it takes approximately 32 kilos of leaves to make 1 kilo of cocaine?  And in order to make it, they add in gasoline, acetone and a bunch of other nasty chemicals? Yuck!  I did get to try chewing on coca leaves. No I didn’t get a buzz, and it was quite nasty tasting. 

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