machu picchu – day4
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the market – part one

We began the day by going to the sprawling Qotowincho Market in central Urubamba, the largest town in the Sacred Valley. The market has everything from gladiolas to guinea-pigs. In Peru, guinea-pigs are a food, not pets. (Yesterday, at the corn-beer tasting, the hosting family served roasted guinea-pigs. I passed. How can I eat an animal that Connie and Danny had as a pet?)

The market is all local products grown in the surrounding cooperatives. There were sacks of fava; potatoes took up all of the northern stalls; squash filled a whole aisle. The market showed how, at the equator, the growing season is year-round; fava, a spring crop, and winter squash, were being sold side-by-side.

The animal vendors had guinea-pigs, ducks, piglets, rabbits, chickens, and sheep. And only the American tourists were oohing and ahhing the baby animals; the locals were dragging piglets and chickens into their trucks. (I asked our tour-guide what the bundles of green reeds that everyone seemed to be carrying were. He explained that they were food for guinea-pigs. Every family keeps guinea-pigs and they fatten them up before cooking them.)