There are, according to unofficial statistics, a million taxis taking two million tourists daily to ten million hotels, hospedajes, and hostels wedged between so many clip joints that my eyes blur as I walk down the streets. If you have limited time and nearly unlimited money, this is your place for organised ... I don't know what to call a tour bus full of people moving from place to place at the direction of others telling them trivia about the people and culture and place they are at this day. I miss a lot being an independent traveller, but I don't miss the hustle of professionals offering package deals. For those who don't have time to adjust, this is a good place. For me, no, it's no good at all. I have the time to be lost and sick and hungry and nervous. I have time to look at potatoes.
I like the market. In the mornings I go for baked custard in a fountain glass, costing me about $0.50 or less. When I finish eating and flirting with the old lady behind the stand I go flirt with another old lady where I get two big mugs of coffee syrup and hot water (which I call coffee) for under a buck. Sometimes I get hot milk and chocolate syrup that I have to add a lot of sugar to, the chocolate being pretty bitter. Almost as good as the best, I sit with my coffee and look across the aisle at stalls #740-726, all of them selling exotic potatoes in bulk.
Once in a while I see an unhappy looking tourist wandering through, lost and hoping to buy some trinkets to take home as a keep-sake of being in Cuzco. They mill around gazing at so much gaudy stuff it would make most people nauseous, and they smile at vendors and speak to them like kindergarten teachers interviewed for their first job. You don't want a verbatim dialogue here. They are trying to be nice and to buy something memorable. I have bought stuff in Peru. I bought a sweater, a flag patch of the great nation-state of Georgia, a pair of scissors, an electric plug adaptor, and enough fabric to make a bag to replace the one I have that's ripping out at the bottom. I bought shoe laces and a spare pair of eyeglasses. I've probably bought other stuff that I can't remember. I ain't no purist. I buy lots of stuff, but I have to carry it with me wherever I go, and the less the better. I have a couple of years on the road this time. I can't carry much for that time. I have to get to Africa, after all. So I sit and have coffee and chat up the vendors and wander around a bit and hate the hustle. I go outside the market and chat up people sitting in the sun. I look at things.