Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Mountains and jungles and mudslides- oh my!
In Tarma we retraced part of the Incan trail, our footsteps impacting the same earth that the Incans did. We walked alongside medicinal herbs that were supposed to bring good luck or love, used in tequila, and said to cure cancer. Our guide, Jose Louis, was a curandero and Andean priest. He explained the significance of everything we passed, having an ancient connection to the place. I really admire his perspective on life.
Jose Louis was also the night guard for the Hacienda Santa Maria, the beautiful hotel where we stayed. Our room once housed a Peruvian general (and later president) who was on the run from Chilean invaders. The Hacienda had a gorgeous flower farm, adorable dogs, a cat, and a vicuna, and beautiful, colonial architecture.
Later we went to the Sunday market. Women sold fruits, vegetables, and potatoes of all varieties. Some vendors sold live chicks and others giant snails. The streets were inundated with people and goods. It was a colorful chaos. We spent the rest of the day driving to Pichanaki, a newly established town in the jungle (aka Amazon Rainforest). For the two nights we were there we ate pizza at a German restuarant... something I was not expecting.
The next day in Pichanaki, we visited a secondary school whose library was named after the Professor. There was a big reception for our group because of their respect for him and because he brought more books for the library. We were interviewed for a radio show and were said to be on the cover of the local newspaper the next day. Mira- gringas! We later talked to some of the 12th graders there, though most of them weren't interested. The younger kids were more fascinated by our visit and our American look. Indeed, everywhere we have gone we stand out like white polar bears in the jungle (Lost reference!). In fact, I'm actually tall here.
On the way back to town, we saw two rainbows in the sky- perfectly fitting, as the rainbow was the symbol of the Incans.
We woke up at 4am the next day to leave for Lima. Even the trip back was an adventure. A mudslide in the road cost us 2 hours, though some were waiting for it to be cleared for 9 hours. We finally arrived back in Lima around 4pm yesterday. Now it's time to start a new day and a new adventure!