Monday, September 12, 2016

Only One Situation Justifies Domestic Violence

The Inca-berry-slathered alpaca filet on my plate and the narcotic coca leaves in my teacup can only mean one thing: I'm in Cusco. Sitting cross-legged on a llama pelt at the Blue Alpaca cafe. The steep cobblestone lane outside has Quechua women in bowler hats coming in for the market while tourists head out for nearby Machu Picchu. This recalls local history.

Cusco was the capital of the Incan Empire when conquistador Francisco Pizarro showed up. The Spaniard sequestered Incan ruler Atahualpa for ransom. The Incans had thousands of miles of Andean trails with fleet-footed messengers sprinting between mountain strongholds, plus accounting devices with ropes of different colors and knots of different sizes to keep track of whatever treasures they possessed.

In the blink of an eye, they gave Pizarro 24 tons of gold and silver. This did not exactly squelch the Spanish wet dream that the natives were hiding the mother of all mother lodes. Quite the contrary! As late as 1600, missionary Andreas Lopez wrote the Vatican that his Incan friends knew the exact location of their ancestral stash called Paititi.

Countless gold-laden ships have already sailed from Peru. Our global economy owes a debt to how Peruvian gold led to the modern concept of money. Yet, the myth remains. Recent groups have searched the jungles on the Peru/Bolivia border, where some of the Americas' least-contacted native tribes continue. These expeditions vanished without a trace. No shit! Still, as I watch the poor dignified Quechua women trudging into town under a mountain of handicraft wares, the possibility that they are knowingly sitting on the Incan Fort Knox seems a tad far fetched. Don't you think?

This reminds me of the heartfelt talk I've had with all my Titanic-watching Mexican girlfriends: "If we get married, raise children, endure life's struggles, and grow old together, then I discover you're hoarding a 20-million-dollar diamond from your ex, I'll strangle you with my bare hands." (This site never condones violence against women, except in this one specific circumstance. Are ya feelin' me, pretty boy DiCaprio?) Any Incan babe inclined to date this kinder, gentler conquistador with a longer, more-durable lance must be prepared to cough up the location of any lost cities you know of. It will be in the pre-nup!

After dinner, I stumble into Chuchu Wasi (House of Breasts). The name of the bar is no stranger than the reality. Next to my table is a sculpture of a short, bearded, Peruvian forest monster with a dwarf face, elfin ears, long phallus, and walking/planting stick like a Mexican fertility god. Across the rock-walled, low-raftered room is a blue-lit niche with metallic sillouette of three women in a tangled sex act that seems odd for a place without any strippers. Up the stairs to the loft stretches a wall mural of a nude red-haired woman with serpent eyes and a serpent tail where a mermaid devolves into a fish. Amazonian pub mythology.

I start with Cusqueña Cerveza Trigo. This Peruvian wheat beer is light but still manages a little bitterness - not my favorite. Move on to Cusqueña Cerveza Negra. This 5% brew is like a fizzy beer soda - just tolerable with high marks for originality. Owner and resident hottie Yohana Gutierrez Barrientos struts over and gives me a freebie ... I mean a drink that I don't have to pay for. This complementary shot is a liquor from the roots of a medicinal rainforest plant found between Peru and Ecuador. It has an effect I want (sweet, strong, belly-warming) and the effect she wants (orders for several more). She claims this potion cures virtually all human ills.

Waiter Jhon Eduardo Medina Suarez proudly shows me his US Army jacket with the name patch of David Coleman, who gifted it to Jhon when he was only a boy in an impoverished barrio. Little acts of kindness change the world. I decide to do the world a favor too. Halting the deployment of a barrage of lame jokes and drunken babble, I terminate this episode in our continuing saga and stagger back to my hotel. You're welcome.

1 comment: