Friday, June 12, 2015

These Wonderful Weaving Women

The Indigenous people of Peru are renowned and wonderful weavers, producing beautiful textiles of all types.

We are in Cuzco, staying at a monastery that has been re-purposed into a wonderful hotel.

The exterior, the lobby, and the courtyard have been well-preserved in their original form, and have a stately old feel to them.

We are resting up a bit today from previous adventures, sort of taking a break in our room before heading back out for further explorations.

Since I'm the only one who's hungry, I go in search of a light lunch.

I'm particularly interested in spending a little time in the courtyard, as I've spotted the weaving women and want to check out what they're doing.

It was time well-spent.  I order a bit of lunch from the bar, since that's the only thing open this time of day, and head out into the sunshine and the relaxing sound of the fountain in the center of the courtyard.

I want a patio like this!   Lots of sets of relaxed seating, a few tables; a few flowers, a fountain.  All kinds of ways to enjoy being outside.

I make friends with the weaving women ~ even though we speak different languages -- English only for me, and Quechua (not Spanish) for them.  They know a bit of English, though, 'cause they can tell me how much their items cost.  Well, sort of.   

I'm interested in a little bag, which says it's $35 Sol's  (just $11 US) but she says it's just S/20.  I repeat it, 20 Sol's?  The answer is Si.   I need to go get change from the front desk, and when I return and hand her S/20, she is all in a panic. She needs ten more soles, as it turns out her English is not great.  So she meant to tell me it was S/30 instead of S/35.  Ahhh, makes sense now.  So I pay her what she asks, and then I "tip" both her and her friend far above what her asking price was.  Because I'm buying a bag, but what I'm really purchasing is an experience.

So now I ask if I can watch them work, and is it OK if I take some photos.  They are delighted, and immediately don their "traditional" hats.  

Which, sadly hides their beautiful, beautiful, sincerely beautiful faces.  

But I'm so happy I did this, because by doing so I was completely drawn into their creation, and their contented peaceful experience.   In other words, I paid attention.  I paused.   I participated.  I became a traveler instead of just being a tourist.  I was hypnotized, actually. It was captivating and educational and oh-so-peaceful.  I can't tell you just how much time I spent, because time was suspended by pausing to immerse myself in their weaving.  Just lovely. And so are they.  

And what I came to realize was, this is their existence. This is what they do.  This is how they make their living, and they are content in this.  I touched on that spirit of contentment, just watching them work.  

We, from the outside want to take pity on "poverty".  We wish for them "better lives".  But tell me, in all of that, how is it so terrible to be skilled in what you do, to produce something wonderful and valuable, and to be content in doing so.  Are they miserable?   I say not.

So I must say a heartfelt "thank you" to these beautiful souls for sharing their trade and their talent and their lives with me.  

I'm sad that lunch is calling me.  
I could have stayed for hours, otherwise.

To share time with these wonderful weaving women.   
A happy Peruvian memory for me! 


  1. I absolutely love your pictures of these talented women! I can just picture you noticing them, admiring them, soaking in the moment. You write about it in such great detail that I feel like I am there watching you

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! That's the fun of the travel blog, for me. It was a very special afternoon, enjoying the hushed atmosphere, their contentment in what they are doing. Very skilled. I watched them making the exact pattern of the bag I bought -- they pull the threads for the pattern from underneath, one at a time.......they have very nimble, quick fingers. I always thought they pulled them across, but no. I was truly enchanted by them and their trade.


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