May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Peru to you: First Lima

Tube of lit water
Our room

January 25-26—After a long trip north to Lima, Les, Suzie and Augusto picked us up at the airport.  They brought us to their exquisite home—an apartment in a secure building with lots of light, spacious rooms and lots of beautiful things from the country as décor.  Their maid had cooked something for dinner, so we sat and got to know each other.   

Walk and work in the ancient olives
The next morning we walked through the ancient olive tree park where we saw dogs, and kids and city workers while feeling the hot equatorial sun on our skin.   
Jewelry!  OW!
Sensational collection of pottery

Also we went to view a stunning private collection of pre-Columbian pottery, weavings and jewelry at Museo Larco (; pots from the area ranged every era available.  The most unusual part was the separate erotic pottery gallery where clearly they thought that wasting your seed would make you die, evidenced by the skeletons in the act. 

Famous hairless dog; no fleas no shedding!
Also, the famous Peruvian Hairless Dog was there to greet us.  I thought it had mange until I was set straight.  Apparently they are diminishing in numbers due to breeding with other dogs.
Chicha, from dark purple corn
The best cebiche in the world, plus...

Lunch was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long while.  It was at Sr. Limon’s and was a buffet filled with ceviche of all kinds, salads, raviolis with sauces and other delights.  Augusto ordered “chi-cha,” a local drink made with dark purple corn.  It looks like dark Concord grape juice, but I like it better. 

Choreographed fountain
Images in the water

The evening was a treat!  I saw choreographed water.  We went to a fountain park and saw a little river with big colored holes and a bright white fountain that shot up water like Old Faithful.  We stood and watched a linear fountain make all kinds of designs with water: fan-like spray, little tornados, varying jet streams that went on and off and changed angle, and all this with lights that could change colors and intensity.  Then, on came the laser show with video!  There was a ballerina dancing to Swan Lake music, images of flowers during Waltz of the Flowers, and a big sampling of dances from the different parts of Peru with traditional music along with neon-colored lights making abstract waves or spinning squares.  I was impressed.  On our way out, we went through a tube of shooting colored water.
With Suzie at the ruins
January 27—Suzie took the morning off so that she could go with us to the ruins (Huaca Pucllana) and enjoy a delicious, fancy lunch there right in the middle of the site.  She moved to Lima in the late ‘60’s so she saw the transformation of a hill that was used for motocross to digging out a pyramid that dates back centuries.  The mud bricks are vertical and are stacked in units that are trapezoidal.  When the earthquakes came, the new bricks they used in reconstruction all fell, and the ancient ones stayed put.  Now, how did those guys know way back then how to make a structure that would withstand huge earthquakes?  Or better yet, why haven’t we learned from them or why wasn’t the knowledge passed down?  These delicate bricks have lasted all this time (Lima culture AD200-500) in part because Lima does not get any rain—only runoff from the mountains and fog.
Museo Amano
That afternoon Augusto took us to the Fundacion Museo Amano where we saw more amazing samples of pottery from many eras of peoples (Chimu, Chancay and Nazca) of the greater Peru, and also really delicate and fabulous weavings.  My favorites were the shrouds that they made to cover the faces of the dead.  They were like lace.  Suzie’s favorites were the ones that sampled several designs, like a quilt, thinking that a rich woman could choose a pattern for her new dress. 
Les in the Lobby of the Apartment Complex
The Selva.  The Jungle
That night while Suzie and Augusto got gussied up and out to a party, Les and I watched TV!  Such a normal thing has become a special thing to us.  Then, up the next morning to catch the taxi to the airport.  We’re going to the AMAZON!

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