I was sitting in the Plaza de Armas, Cusco's main square, resting my dogs. A young boy, maybe nine or ten years old, sat down next to me and asked me in English, "Where are you from?"
"United States," I said. "New York. Nueva York."
"Ah, the statue of liberty. And Washington is your capital. And your President is Bush--no, Obama!"
"Si," I replied. "Obama es mejor que Bush."
"Yes," the kid said. "Obama is black."
We chatted for a while in a mix of English and Spanish. He told me his name was Miguel. I told him mine was Peter, but I preferred Pete. The kid was very smart, cute and outgoing--just like I was at his age! I asked him if he was learning English in school. "Yes," he said. He told me a few things he knew about other places around the world. "Paris it has the Eiffel Tower."
Then I thought he was asking me a very odd question for a kid his age, especially in a second language. "Have you seen the sexy woman?"
Should I turn around, I wondered? "Sexy woman?" I asked.
," he said, and pointed north. Ah, he was talking about the Inca ruin just on the outskirts of the city.
"Yes, I've been there," I said.
Then he said, "Can I have two soles for something to eat?" The sol is the Peruvian currency, three to a dollar. Of course I gave him two soles. We talked a bit more. He told me where he lived, and pointed southward. I didn't recognize the name. "Is that a barrio in Cusco?" I asked. "Yes." Then he said, "Can I have one more sol to take a taxi home to my mother." Of course he could.
The statue near Sacsayhuaman is the White Christ, not a sexy woman. Modeled after the Cristo Redentor of Rio de Janeiro, it was presented to Cusco in 1945 by the Palestinian Arabs who had been resettled there during WWII, as a token of their gratitude for the hospitality shown by the city.