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the words to describe

Cuzco. The city lies in a green valley nearly 12,000 feet above the Peruvian seacoast 300 miles to the west. Here, probably around AD 1200, Macon Capac founded his Inca Empire. Here, Francisco Pizarro in 1533 conquered in the name of Spain. And here, now, a provincial capital of Peru. The mix of cultures and remnants of cultures pulls the visitor into many levles of time. church bells and Cuzco's red tile roofs in dawnmist

The air is thin. The sun burns hot when the sky is clear, but often the clouds gather and mist becomes a cold rain. a street musician shelters his harp with pink plastic and goes on playing a single coca leaf in the frayed red coca bag bought at the market

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Inca stones are in the streets, in the buildings of Cuzco. And outside the city, not far, are Inca ruins. Tambomachair or the Inca's Bath, Puca Oucara and Kenko. Even more ancient than these are the vast gray stones of the angled fortress wall, Sacsahuaman. Pre-Inca, says the guide. the little Indian girl herding her llamas never stops spinning

Sunday is market day in the small Indian village of Pisac. in the crumbling church a little more dust filters down: conch shell trumpets hearing . . . not hearing when Sunday mass is said in Quechua! as her mother kneels a bright-eyed baby pulls at flowers beside the saint's statute

Going by train through the Urubamba Valley toward Machu Picchud blossoming orchids on rocks near the rapids, vine bamboo and flowering trees. on the steep hillsides up from the roaring Urubamba River still . . . the old, old terraces

At last, after small buses climb the almost vertical side of the mountain by means of thirteen hairpin curves, the ruins of the Inca never found by the Spanish. here at Machu Picchu a begonia growing in the stone wall and blossoming dried alpaca dung beside the sacred condor stone; clouds cover the higher peaks an ancient silence in this plaza of the Inca -- but no! crickets

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