Saturday, April 30, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con trencito?

Yeah, that's right. There was a train driving down the street today. The main street by my house that is usually filled with micros. Because strange things happen in Peru.
In other news, I learned how to make tequeños. Which are basically fried cheese wontons, served with guacamole. Delicious.
Hasta la proxima

Friday, April 29, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con instrucciones

How to drive like a Limeño:


First, make sure your car alarm works. This is very important. You should set it off lots of times to check on it.

When you're driving down the street, ignore all signs or paint on the road that tell you to stop. Honking loudly before going through an intersection should be take care of that. Don't worry about pedestrians either.

Lane lines are also to be ignored. You should endeavor to squeeze through wherever possible, especially if it inconveniences other drivers.

If you want to turn left you should do it from the farthest right lane possible although any will do. If someone is turning ahead of you, don't wait for them to turn, pull around them and try to turn first.

You only need to tap the brakes for speed bumps and potholes.

Honking at anyone and everyone is always good.

Other cars ahead of you are for playing slalom with.

Sometimes you should stop randomly on the side of the road, especially if you're a taxi but also if you want to buy fruit or a newspaper. Don't worry about the honking people behind you.

Javier Prado and Arequipa at rush hour are especially good places to practice your driving.


Look out Massachusetts, I'm going to come back and drive like a Limeña. ;)

Aqui estoy ... con misterio solucionado

Background: As micros go through the streets, once in a while they stop for a datero, who marks the time on their paper and yells out three numbers. I knew these numbers had something to do with counting micros and the time between them, but today I got the official answer from an ex-micro-chofer:

The numbers are the number of minutes passed since a micro of the same route has gone by, so for example 3! 8! 4! would mean 3 minutes had passed since the last one had gone by, 8 before that and 4 before that. A bigger number means more time which means more chance of potential passengers waiting.

Bonus solved mystery:
Sitting at my computer working on an outline for my parcial essay, every few minutes I hear a faint beeping, which sounds like a phone but my phone is in my pocket. Then I also hear vibrating which I heard this morning as well and thought it was construction outside. Turns out it's my US phone, which I use as an alarm. The alarm which I got up before and didn't turn off this morning. Poor little phone has been going off every five minutes for ten and a half hours. It was beeping because it was dying. Woops.

Hasta la proxima

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con danza

Tonight was another program cultural activity; we went to a restaurant called La Dama Juana where there is a a Peruvian dance show. (It's in Larcomar if you ever want to go) They did a variety of Peruvian dances, the names of most of which I didn't catch. Speaker audio + noisy room = still don't understand the Spanish very well. The dancers were very talented and I enjoyed watching. The buffet dinner was also excellent. (Tres leches cake is delicioso)


This was my favorite dance, the tijeras, which means scissors. The dancers are actually holding scissors which they use as instruments. They danced all together for a while, then had a sort of dance-off, solo part with some acrobatics. Very impressive. (Also a little painful to watch. Some of those things hurt to do on gymnastics mats, I can only imagine on a hard wood stage)



A couple short videos to give you an idea:


video video

Aqui estoy ... prestando atencion

Today I decided to write down all the random things that made me laugh/smile/smirk/look again. Lima is full of such things. I don't think I've ever ridden a micro the whole way to or from school without something interesting happening.
So, little glimpses of today:

- My micro hit another micro. Always a nice way to start the day. A combination of large busses, impatience, people stopping in the middle of the road and potholes I think. From what I could see, there didn't appear to be damage to either bus though.

- As I sat on a bench to read a little before class, I heard what I think was movie audio coming from a window. But it was in English. A conversation between an adult and a child in which the child said "I only like you when you give me cookies!"

- Also seen from the bench: a guy carrying a large, carved wooden chair wrapped in bubble wrap

- Security guards at la Cato sometimes ride Segways. Which is amusing in itself. But today, I noticed that they wear elbow pads. I haven't seen elbow pads since learning to ride a bike.

- Walked out of my class building to discover that the fotocopiadora had moved. And by moved I mean the whole trailer-sized building with the multiple copy machines inside was about 30 yards away from where it had always been before. Why?!

- I picked a spot on the grass to read, intentionally away from any sprinklers. (They turn on randomly and I have no desire to be wet. Side note - la Cato is obsessed with watering the grass) A worker proceeds to move a sprinkler and ask me to move. Irony strikes again.

- Some guy was standing around holding a giant globe balloon with stickers all over it. And by giant I mean probably 4 ft diameter.

- There was loud discoteca music playing on campus today. I'm not sure exactly where it was actually coming from but I could hear it from one end of campus to the other.

- My chocolate melted in the sun so I ate it with a fork. Can't let it go to waste, right?

- There were two people in full costume walking down the middle of the street on stilts on my way home today.

- The man next to me on the micro was falling asleep and had the head-bob as well as the shoulder-slide going.

- Car alarm count for the day: 7. Airplane/helicopter-so-loud-I-can't-hear-the-professor-and-I'm-in-the-second-row count: 3

So there's tidbits of life in Lima for you.
Hasta la proxima

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con dato divertido


Mango is not only a fruit, it also means handle.
And lupa means magnifying glass (with a handle).
Lupa went on my little list of words on the kids' homework today that I didn't know. When I first looked it up in a Spanish dictionary, the definition it gave was "lente de aumento con un mango". Now I got the magnifying lenses part, but I didn't understand the mango part...why does the lens have a mango? (Why not an apple or a strawberry? Or better yet, a lucuma?) It makes for a funny mental picture. It makes much more sense now that I have learned that it also means handle, but I kind of like the idea of the mango.

Aqui estoy ... con ninos!!

One of the things I've missed most in Peru has been working with kids. Usually at school I'm teaching Sunday School or observing or teaching in a school and after working full-time over break it was quite a transition for this Ed-major-at-heart to take. But today I went for a second time to Deporte y Vida, an after-school homework help sort of program in one of the poorer districts of Lima, Villa El Salvador. We sit with the kids and help them with whatever homework they have, from math to English to coloring. I love being around the kids and never knowing quite what to expect to do with them. Always a challenge.

It's an interesting and occasionally frustrating view into the Peruvian educational system. It seems to me that there's a lot of assignments that the kids are expected to know how to do without sufficient explanation as well as a fair amount of busy work or copying. Much of the time they want us to just do the work for them or say their parents will do it for them. This goes against every fiber of my teacher-self but it's tough to keep them focused and try to actually help them learn rather than just finish it to be done.
Today I had some success and some not. I felt like the girl I worked with one place value and figuring out values for drawing of squares, rods and units really got it and was doing it by herself at the end. The girl I was trying to help translate from English into Spanish...not so much.

Things I have discovered:
- The kids are way more interested in the lives of the
gringos than they are in their homework. Love lives in particular.
- Mechanical pencils are novelty. Especially if they have an eraser on top. Erasers attached to pencils are an unknown phenomenon.
- Kids don't air kiss. They go right for the cheek. Which results in some nice jelly/dirt/unknown kisses. ;)
- Math seems like it should be straightforward and language-less but it is not. Especially when they use different symbols for division and multiplication and use commas for decimal points. And expect second graders to work with things like the negative square root of 6. Or assign things like below with no instructions:

Major brownie points for anyone who figures those out. The circular ones we got eventually but these remained mysterious.

Hasta la proxima

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Aqui estoy ... deseandoles felices pascuas

Happy Easter to all!

Lima Easter has been different than others I have experienced. Overall I would say it is a more low-key holiday than in the US. Despite being a fairly Catholic country, for many Peruvians Semana Santa seems to be more about days off than about religion. Many Limenos travel outside of Lima. But many places were still closed some combination of days, almost everything was on Friday.

This morning I went to a non-denominational service with a friend and really enjoyed it, even without the usual trappings I associate with Easter festivity. There were no lilies or brass group or everyone dressed up extra special. Although I did miss those things, I enjoyed Lima Easter. I do appreciate the lack of commercialism of Easter here. Plastic eggs, easter bunnies, Hallmark cards and Peeps are nowhere to be found. It's not that those things are bad, I just don't miss them. (My host mom did get me some chocolate eggs, which is exciting)

I'm not as eloquent or reflective about these things as I'd like to be so I will just close with some words from a new song I learned this morning:
Poderoso ----------------------Powerful
Me libraste--------------------You freed me
Me salvaste-------------------You saved me
Esta escrito, has vencido-----It is written, you have won
Cristo, tu eres Senor-----------Jesus, you are Lord

Feliz Pascua,
Hasta la proxima

(PS: In other news, car alarm total for yesterday: 7, today: 4)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con desmuerzo


Desmuerzo means brunch in Spanish, or it does now, at least according to me. I hosted a breakfast party for a bunch of us in the program not traveling this Semana Santa. We made some delicious chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs. I love making pancakes, listening to music in the background and making people happy. It was a good day.


Hasta la proxima

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en catacumbas


Today I went with some friends to Centro de Lima to see the Iglesia San Francisco which has catacombs underneath. Did you know Lima didn't have a regular cementary until 1808? And when it first started people didn't want to be buried in it, they still wanted to use the catacombs. I didn't bring my camera so photo credits go to Melissa (outside) and google (insides) since photos were not allowed inside the church or the catacombs.

The church of San Francisco
The library inside, those big books were used for the choir to read the chants


The ceiling of the cathedral in the plaza. I just learned about cathedrals in my history of art class...those arcs on the ceiling are called ogivas. They began in gothic cathedrals and supported more weight, allowing thinner, more decorative walls and taller cathedrals.


In the catacombs (you can go look up pictures of the bones yourself. Let me just saw that we saw a lot of femurs)


The Plaza de Armas
The changing of the guard outside the goverment palace in the plaza


Hasta la proxima!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con misterio bonus

One more mystery:
Why my most confusing reading so far is the one in English.
(Each student in my Amazonian Ethnography class has to read two ethnographies assigned from a long list. Some were in English, some in Spanish, assigned without regard to the student's first language. A lot of anthropology work is done in English so upper level students are expected to read it.) This one just happens to be extremely technical:

"The unilateral cross-cousin categories complete a set based on the common Exogamous Group membership of ego's and alter's parents. If alter's mother is ego's father's Exogamous Group 'brother', then in choosing a unilateral term, the patrilateral link takes precedence just as it does in the case of bilateral parallel cousins."
What?

(Perhaps the problem boils down to the fact that I don't understand how mother's children are considered not siblings or how a cousin can be called unrelated)

Aqui estoy ... con misterios

Mysteries of Peru:


- Taxi drivers who put the parking brake on at every traffic light (but ignore stop signs in favor of honking before going through every intersection)


- Matching people. On campus, all the security guards match and all other non-faculty staff match. All the cashiers at the grocery match down to their earrings and hair scrunchies. Sometimes there are randomly groups of people on the sidewalk all in identical attire.


- The numbers the guys on the street call out to the micro cobradors. 334! 656! Are they counting the micros? I don’t know


- Women who can put on mascara on a moving micro without stabbing themselves in the eye


- Why micro 26 got new tickets with no quotes immediately after I wrote about them


- How things appear and disappear on campus within days. Book fair, tents, signs, d’onafria ice cream booth, sidewalk stickers, a tent with 20 chess sets set up.


- Why some micros have ‘se vende’ signs in the back. Who wants to buy a 20 year old micro? Is there a secret market for dirty old buses I’m unaware of?


- Car alarms. I still don't understand how they can possibly manage to go off so often. (Count in the last hour: 4)



- The same TV show that is always playing in the bank with the exact same Candid Camera-style pranks.




Hasta la proxima

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con bioagricultura


Today I had the awesome chance to go with Karen, a peruvian friend from the university, and some programmates to Karen's godmother's house a little outside of Lima. Her godparents are organic farmers, better called bioagriculturists, who give tours and teach about what they do. Both are highly educated in things like plant physiology. Normally I am not super-interested in that sort of thing but their presentation was really interesting. I learned a lot and, as always, enjoyed the company. I even learned some things that connect nicely with my readings from class. Awesome.

The basis of the farm is the cuy, guinea pigs, of which they may have up to 1000 at a time. They do sell them for cooking, as it's a Peruvian delicacy, but mainly they collect the guano. They use it to compost into fertilizer and to ferment into gas that they use for cooking and electricity.













They use that compost to fertilize their wide variety of crops. Their knowledge of which plants can grow together and how to rotate them to keep the soil fresh and the various medicinal and other uses of plants is astounding. We used some homemade, plant-based bug repellent. Above are bananas and lucuma, a fruit whose flavor is ubiquitous in Peru, and below is yuca.



They also have some gorgeous flowers including bird-of-paradise (left) and one called el baston del emperador, the emperor's walking stick (right)













We had lunch as well and got to try their homemade lucuma ice cream, as well as cuy! I liked the cuy; it was actually very good and a little sweet, although a lot of work for a little meat.





Hasta la proxima!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en la cocina

How to make chicha morada: 1) Boil purple corn to make the base 2) Add limon and lots of sugar

Tada! Delicious. Today we had our taller de cocina, a cooking workshop. It was very fun and very well done. We were at D'Gallia, a very good culinary school. (And I successfully took a new micro to get there) We received the recipes so I will be trying them again at home for sure :) My group learned to make aji de gallina, which is exciting because it is one of my two favorite dishes in Peru. The yellow is the aji sauce - it's made from yellow peppers and not too spicy when prepared well. (It reminds me a little of chicken curry, but that could be because of the color more than the taste)
The final products of all the groups, from far left and clockwise: Papas a la huancaina (potatoes in a special sauce), lomo saltado (stir-fried beef), tiradito (in the middle - similar to ceviche but thinly sliced), causa de pulpo (octopus), ceviche, aji de gallina and vegetarian causa.

The strange thing in all of this is that there is no rice to be found. I think this might be the most food I've seen in Peru unaccompanied by rice.


Hasta la proxima

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con caracoles



There are snails on the tree. Why are there snails on the tree? I have not the foggiest idea. Not only does la Catolica have wild deer, it has mysterious tree snails. Who knew?

Hasta la proxima

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en clases

Just in case you thought I spend all my time gallivanting around Peru, here's some things I'm doing and learning in my classes:

- Studying racial categorization and definition in Peru and how that had affected the history and current state of the country. Did you know that up until about the 40s and the aftermath of WWII it was generally acceptable to suggest things like killing off the indigenous population to get rid of the 'problem' and replacing them with white Europeans who were inteligent and hard workers?

- Learning vocabulary words like consuetudinaro (customary/unwritten law), gremio (guild, not gremlin which would've been more fun), trigo (wheat), cebada (barley), robafocos (joking nickname for tall person, literally lightbulb-robber)

- Discovering that if you ask a question in the Ashaninca language you must suggest a response or the question is considered absurd. For example, "Who did it?" wouldn't work, it would have to be "Who did it? Your grandmother?" This is especially interesting to me because we were talking about bilingual education and how this language feature affects it. Imagine writing test questions in the Ashaninca language. Or being a primarily-Ashaninca-speaking student trying to take a test in Spanish.

- Learning the 3 different types of columns of Greek architecture in history of art, which leads to a new micro past-time...identifying columns on buildings we pass. (They're mostly jonico if you want to know. Which means they have little spirals called volutas on top. The Arequipa plaza cathedral columns were jonico too)

- Writing a paper on the reasons for the indigenous rebellion in 1742 led by Juan Santos Atahualpa against the Spanish. (It was mostly because of the horrible behavior of the Spanish toward the natives. Juan Santos was the perfect leader because he had both Ashaninca and Inca blood)

- Seeing the andenes that were mentioned in 3 of my 4 classes. Andenes are terraces used for agriculture on the sides of mountains (or canyons). Many from the Inca period and before still exist but are no longer in use. I saw a LOT on the way to Colca Canyon and even walked on some that were being used for corn.

And now I'm off to study for my control de lectura tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Hasta la proxima

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con recomendaciones - Arequipa

We met a lot of wonderful and helpful people on our trip to Arequipa this weekend and saw lots of awesome things. So if you ever go to Arequipa, you should check out:

Bothy Hostel - They told us they just moved to a new location. I really liked it and they were very helpful and accomodating. (Please note, this is a hostel, not a hotel. Good for college students, perhaps not everyone.)

Pablo Tours - We found them in the LonelyPlanet travel guide and they were awesome. We even met Pablo himself and he led us down the canyon and through the crazy rain and darkness. Both the Oasis and the Valle de Fuego hostal had good food. If you want a planned tour of the Arequipa/Colca Canyon area, they can do it.

Inkawasi - A little restaurant in the Arequipa Plaza de Armas with delicious sandwiches and huge, delicious beverages. (Including lemonade that tastes like actual lemon, not lime)

Ice Palace - A little ice cream/dessert place around the corner from the plaza, across from the Iglesia de la Compania. Peruvian Airlines - They don't charge foreigners more than Peruvians. And they feed you tasty sandwiches on a 1 hour flight.

Monasterio Santa Catalina - It's worth the entrance fee. The inside is really neat and pretty. I don't know about the tour because we decided to wander around ourselves.

Plaza de Armas and nearby churches in the morning - I enjoyed walking around at 7 in the morning more than at 9. Less things open meant less people around.

Hopefully some day you do get to go to Arequipa. It's worth it!

Aqui estoy ... sabado y domingo

So, Saturday morning, after our late finish, we got up early to hike back up again. We left a bit before 8 and made it to the lookout at the top around 11, which is actually very good time. It was the hardest hike I've ever done for sure. (Think climbing stairs for three hours on end) The altitude did affect me toward the end as we got higher but overall, it was worth it. At the lookout we listened to the spiels of some other guides leading groups going down the canyon. (We nodded knowingly at the parts about going down and down and down)




We ate lunch in Cabanaconde while waiting for the bus. It was alpaca! It was pretty good. (It doesn't taste like chicken but we decided it is vaguely like pork)


This bus turned out to be the micro of the sierra. Every few minutes on our way through little towns we would stop to pick up or drop off some locals. Many of the women had intricately embroidered and very colorful hats. At the hostal that night we enjoyed showers and pizza and a few hours of sleep before the rest of the group came in. From 4:15 or so I stayed up to talk to them then to see the sunrise and to walk around Arequipa. It's a beautiful city and we got to see some really neat architecture in the main plaza and various churches. We went looking for the museum with the 500-year-old ice mummy but after wandering around several blocks, knocking on several doors, asking a police officer and some equally lost, only-french-speaking tourists, we found it ... closed for election day. (Fun fact: Arequipa must be where french-speaking tourists go because there were an awful lot of them) We did get to go to the Santa Catalina Monastery which was well worth the 35 sol entrance fee. It is known as the city within the city and indeed it was. (More fun facts: it was open despite signs outside given two different reasons why it was closed. And it's called both a monastery and a convent. I thought one was monks and one was nuns. This one apparently houses nuns so I don't know why it's a monastery. Strange.) After the convent we had a delicious lunch and then headed for the airport for home.


You can see all of my pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=348185&id=526235521&l=60642548ee (Fair warning, there's a lot of landscape. Gorgeous landscape, but still a lot of canyon. :) But you should definitely look at the Arequipa part)


Hasta la proxima

Monday, April 11, 2011

Aqui estoy ... jueves y viernes

These feet climbed this canyon




So, Thursday after my last class I took a cab to the airport with some programmates and we flew to Arequipa on Peruvian Airlines. Fun fact: even though the flight was barely over an hour, we got food. (And it was better food than I got on my 8 hour flight from the States) When we arrived we went to hostal and checked in. Like many buildings in Peru it was very open. All the rooms opened onto a terrace.

On Friday we were up early for a simple breakfast of some delicious Arequipa-style bread. (Fun fact: we probably all ate more carbs this weekend than the last week. It was pan and more pan, which was fine with me) We took a 9 am bus to Cabanaconde at the other end of the canyon. Along the way we went way up in the sierra (to snow-covered ground) and had some beautiful views into the canyon.


We arrived around 3. After buying our bus tickets back and fixing a little hostal mix-up, we started down around 4, led by Pablo, the owner of the Oasis hostal at the bottom. (Fun fact: 4 is very late to start down. We ended our hike in the rain and pitch black. Not recommended) Once we got to the hostal we attempted to dry out a little and had a delicious dinner of soup and spaghetti then bedtime in our little bungalows.



Hasta la proxima!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Aqui estoy ... regresada

I am safely and successfully returned from my weekend excursion to Arequipa and Colca Canyon. It was an awesome weekend with some firsts for me. All the people I went with are wonderful and I really enjoyed hanging out with them. However, I have been up since 4 am so tonight, here's the basics; pictures to come.
Thursday: We flew from Lima to Arequipa Thursday night and stayed in a hostal that night. (My first!)
Friday: Got up early and took a 6 hour bus ride to Cabanaconde with gorgeous views of the countryside, mountains and canyons on the way. We arrived in the afternoon and hiked down to the bottom of Colca Canyon. (Which, by the way, is the second deepest canyon in the world. The deepest is nearby in Peru as well. I'm told Colca is about twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.) We actually finished our hike in the dark which, although crazy and not something I ever need to do again, was actually an amazing example of how my programmates are awesome.
Saturday: Up early again to hike back up. Again, amazing views and great company but a very difficult hike. High altitude just makes everything harder. We hung around in Cabanaconde for a bit then took a bus back to Arequipa.
Sunday: Up at 4 when the rest of the group got in. (They took a 9pm bus. Yikes.) Walked around Arequipa and saw the Plaza de Armas and the Santa Catalina convent. Arequipa is a beautiful city. Had a delicious lunch then flew back to Lima. Hasta la proxima

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Aqui estoy … con campana electoral





This Sunday is presidential election day in Peru. The whole time I’ve been here the news have been full of coverage of the candidates and the streets are full of posters, billboards, murals and stickers advertising them. (I tried counting them on my way to school today. I stopped after I got to 50 in less than 2 blocks) The campaign is somewhat different from that of the U.S., starting with the number of candidates. More than 10 took part in the debate I watched with my host mom, of which 5 are considered to have a good shot. In Peru, voting is obligatory and the two candidates with the highest percentages will go on the the segunda vuelta, second round, of voting in a run-off. Political parties are not as entrenched here but are more based around personalities, a particular candidate. In fact, many candidates use their initials in their party’s symbol.



Fun facts:


Presidential term is 5 years.


Presidents cannot immediately run for reelection but they can 5 years later. The current president, Garcia, is in his second term.


Inauguration day is also independence day: July 28


Corruption is a big issue. Many of the candidates are supposedly corrupt and many have a slogan of some sort that says they aren’t.



Personally, I think it’s good to have various options. However, I think the sheer amount of advertising is overwhelming and unnecessary. I’m looking forward to seeing Lima without billboards every 10 feet. Unfortunately, there is just as much mudslinging and attempting to undermine other candidates here as there is in the States. Which means, as you will see below, I know more about the arguments against each candidate than for them. It just seems to me that choosing the president (of any country) should not come down to the lesser evil but rather their actual plans and merits.



But enough of that, little bios of the 5 top candidates as gathered by me through various conversations and news listening (at risk of wrong information from misunderstanding):


Keiko Fujimori: The daughter of the previous president Fujimori. She is a fairly popular congresswomen I believe. The main argument against her is that her father is in jail for human rights violations during his presidency.


Alejandro Toledo: A previous president who is currently first in the polls. The main argument against him is that while he’s not awful, he didn’t do much the first time.


Pedro Pablo Kucynski aka PPK: The son of a US medical missionary. Popular with the middle class, business people. The main argument against him is that he is too American and not going to be good for Peru’s development.


Ollanta Humala: Popular with lower classes and in the country. The arguments against him are that he’s in the league of Hugo Chavez and would nationalize many industries and arrange to stay in office just as Chavez has done.


Luis Castaneda: a former mayor of Lima who is accused of corruption while mayor



We’ll have to wait to see who goes to the second round.


Hasta la proxima



PS: I’m gone again this weekend. Off to Arequipa!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Aqui estoy ... en Lunahuana

As I mentioned previously, this weekend I went with my program group to Lunahuana, a small town about 3 hours outside of Lima. It was wonderful to get out of the city for a while. I didn't realize how much I missed small-town pace of life until I was heading back to the city. We did a lot of fun things (and new things for me!) so bear with me, this will be a long post. In the main plaza of the town
Entering the Lunahuana valley. The mountains were gorgeous. Rio Canete which we would soon know personally... ...by rafting down it! It was my first time white-water rafting and I really enjoyed it. We paddled when the guide said Adelante and stopped when he said Alto! And no one fell off :)
My delicious lunch: local trout, called trucha in Spanish. Complete with head and fins.
After lunch we went to see some Inca ruins called Inkawasi. We also walked up that hill behind to see some on the other side which were actually a prison and execution area. Nice.
Afterward we went to a winery where they make their wine the old-fashioned way...
...by stomping the grapes by foot. No machines.
Always a sunset :)
Chupe de camarones, aka crayfish. Personally, too much work for too little meat. Plus I mostly like my food without its head.
We went on a hike to see more ruins. (Before breakfast, mind you) This involved crossing a river on a little platform. I thought it was fun. (The river crossing, not the hiking before breakfast)
The ruins were a small town that was wiped out by a flash flood/landslide coming down from the mountain above. Included in the ruins was a mummy. She was a young woman from the 16th or 17th century.
Later we went biking. Truth: this was my second-least favorite part of the weekend (first prize goes to mosquitoes which have made my legs a lovely red polka dot pattern...sarcasm) They were sketchy bikes...brakes questionable and gears unguarded. The gear on mine ate my pants hem. At least it was only my pants, other people's got their legs!
Next up: Cuatrimoto aka Four-wheeling. Also a first for me and very fun. It took a little getting used to (i.e. how not to stall your atv) but overall a good trip, complete with the random appearance of ...
...goats! and cows! This heard was clearly accustomed to loud ATVs because they were not interested in moving for us. On the plus side, going goat speed gives one good practice going 'suavemente' on the ATV.


Overall an excellent trip. Now I have a few days of classes and then I'm off to Arequipa!

If you want to see more pictures, check out facebook. This public link should take you there even if you don't have an account:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=346637&id=526235521&l=3582513520


Hasta la proxima