Day 6 Pisac Market

Pisac is a small market town at the entrance to the Sacred Valley.

Before the market, we stopped at a bakery that has an enormous wood-fired oven used to cook empanadas of various types. It smelled so good there.

The Pisac Sunday Market is said to be the place where natives come down from the mountains to purchase goods, but its enormous crafts depot for tourists far overshadows the potatoes and papayas being sold in the food section.

Stall after stall of Chinese imports. Here’s a bag of little alpaca and Tweety Bird keychains. Almost every stall has the same massive quantity of the same crappy stuff.

I searched a long while for something authentic. Finally I came across a shop that sells all kinds of old bone flutes and old textiles on display. Seemingly old anyway. It looked half-way promising, so I went in to look at some woven bands, very thin and primitive. “Are you a shaman?” The owner asked. You know, I have long thought I might be, and wondered whether this man had the vision and power to see my true self.

“Oh no,” I laughed. “Muy practica.”

“Shaman, shaman,” he says, pointing to the bands. After a little questioning, he told me these threads were used by shaman in ceremonies and were muy antico. I liked the look and feel of the fringe, but when he asked $60 or so, I turned a little more practical. What was I going to do with these anyway? I passed, without even giving him an offer. Something told me NO.

It must have been my shaman wisdom, because several blocks of stalls later, I came across very similar bands and fringes. These I knew for sure were old. I asked the woman what they were for, and she demonstrated how the Andean girls would braid the bands into their hair. They are hair decorations. I don’t know what I will do with them, but maybe I’ll use them in my next shaman ceremony.

The real market is tiny, as far as markets go, and there seems to be more tourists than shoppers for necessities.

Still markets are fascinating. This one had its share of potatoes and trout from the river.

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