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So, this year I passed my birthday in Peru, and had quite a good time after all!

On Saturday, the day I celebrated my birthday, several students and professors played a game of futbol (soccer).  Did I play?  Of course not!  I sat with another girl from Germany, as we cheered on the boys,
who seemed to tire quite quickly, and got extremely wet since we had had quite a rainstorm earlier in the day.  The boy who was about 10 years old made the most goals of anybody!

Afterwards, several of us went downtown, to the Plaza de Armas, to meet up with other people, to go out for my birthday.  Jessica (girl from Germany), Eric (one of my professors), Saul (another professor at the
school), John (a student from London), and some of Saul´s friends ended up in a club called Garabato.  The walls and chairs were decorated in animal furs, and was quite full of local Peruvians.  We danced, and we drank, we talked.  The Peruvians were quite impressed with how well I could dance, but of course, I´m from the US!  I got a bit dizzy, though, because they kept passing me around person to person to dance with, because it was my birthday.  Apparently the custom is lots of dancing, lots of hugs, and you get three wishes, how about that!

I also learned another phrase that I must remember not to say!  At one point, it got really quite hot in the club, and I had to go outside to get some air.  In the hallway, a guy said to me "¿Como estas?", and I replied "Bien, pero yo estoy caliente" Meaning to say, fine, but I´m hot.  As soon as I said it, I realized I´d used the wrong form, and replaced it with "calor!  calor!"  But he was already laughing and looking at me
strangely.  When I returned to my friends, I asked Eric what exactly I had said, and apparently "yo estoy caliente" means "I am horny".  Great.  Okay, another phrase to remember not to use!

But the club was a lot of fun.  Towards the end of the evening, there was a Peruvian band, that sang Peruvian songs, and everybody in the club (except for the few gringos like me) sang along.  And they also had
traditional dancing, a man and a woman, in old fashioned clothes, with big hats, and the woman in a big skirt, who danced beautifully.  It was so romantic, they kept coming together to pose like they were about to kiss, and then would dance off again. 

At the end of the night (when I thought I was going to die from the heat), we took off.  Eric, who lives near me, took a taxi home with me, and walked me to the door, which was quite gentelmanly.  I got home at
about 2.30 and crashed. 

I must have eaten something bad, because in the middle of the night, I had chills, and was a bit sick.  I slept until three in the afternoon, and then felt much better.  I think that it was because that I am taking
Acidopholus regularly, that it didn´t hit me any worse than it did. 

At 3, I got up and showered, and came downstairs for my birthday with my family.  They bought me a delicious coffee cake, and sang happy birthday to me in Spanish and English, how about that.  And I had my
3 more wishes!  Afterwards, I went with Sonja to her husband´s family´s house, where I had more cake, and got to meet more people, and struggle through my spanish, since I was too tired/didn´t feel well. 

The next day, I was off at 9 in the morning to meet up with Cassandra, the girl from Canada, who couldn´t make it for my birthday because she had volunteer work that day, and it was 3 hours away by car, so she missed it.  We met up with the barman, Fritz, that we had met at Rosey O´Grady´s Irish pub earlier that week.  We took at taxi to Moray, which is an Incan site for agriculture.  It was great, because there
were only 4 other people there, and it was so quite and beautiful.  It is set up as concentric circles that go higher and higher (am I explaining this right?)  And on each level, they would grow their crops, different crops on different levels, because of different temperatures.  They still grow crops in the lower circles.  And, in the very middle, there is a
small circle where the put some offerings (flowers, products from the plants, etc) for the crops. 

It was beautiful, but all that climbing wore me out.  And I could tell that the romance between Fritz and Cassandra was growing, so I lagged behind a bit,to give them time alone (wink wink). 

Afterwards, we went to the town Urubamba, where Fritz bought us lunch.  The plates were huge!  I had fried chicken, and they ate fish, and we talked more in Spanish.  As customary, we had shots of this anise flavored liquor, which is supposed to help with the
digestion/break up the fat.  The restaurant was quite serene, looking out at the hills of the Sacred Valley, listening to the wind, fighting off the flies, visiting with the dogs.  It was lovely.

We then strolled for a while through the streets of Urubamba, Cassandra and Fritz walking arm and arm.  I was glad I had put on sunblock, because the sun is quite strong, and I`m a little red in the areas that I didn´t get my sunblock on. 

Eventually, we made it to the bus, and I made sure to allow Fritz and Cassandra to sit together, I stared out the window watching the scenery while they made kissey face. 

We got off the bus in Cusco, avoiding the boy who was pissing quite near us, and made our way to a taxi, where I went home and crashed.

Happy birthday to me!!

Jillian
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