Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Case for Visiting Peru -- Part 1

Reader "Bill who is also married to a Peruvian" was the source of the spark that got me to write this article on visiting Peru.

If you ask anyone who has ever spent time in Peru they will likely tell you that it is one of the most interesting countries in the world.  Peru and Mexico are rivals for their histories.  But, Peru has an awesome beauty, almost anywhere you go in  the country (other than Lima, which is not beautiful, but does have its pluses) that Mexico cannot even touch.

The subject of visiting Peru is actually a very large one.  I will sketch out some of it for you, and will return to Peru with more details on some of the country's wonders.  I promise to put in pretty pictures in the upcoming Peru articles.

I have been to Peru about 20 times now, most of those times on business (see my article on our bearing import company in early June: "Ameru Trading del Peru S.A."), but also to see other parts of the country.

It was in 1981 when I went to Peru for the first time, with two friends who I had gone to college with.  From the start of our trip I knew we had chosen well.  We stayed in very cheap places ($2.00 / person / night) and often traveled on buses to go from city to city, to save money...  It was also on that same trip where I met the girl who later would become my wife.  But, that is another story, for another time.

Peru is not as cheap now as it was then.  But, it is still relatively cheap compared to, say, Argentina.

The Andes of Peru are much bigger than the Rockies of the USA and Canada.  Winding through the mountains along their roads is unforgettable.  The altitudes can be impressive, twice now I have been on buses  crossing passes at 15,600' and 15,800'.  Those altitudes are higher than the summit of Mt. Whitney (California), the highest peak in the "lower 48" states.  Peru's tallest mountain (Huascaran) beats McKinley (Denali) by some 2000'.

The coast of Peru is mostly desert, much of it very barren.  In the south of Peru, the desert sands often make impressive sand dunes, like are seen in Saudi Arabia.

Over 50% of Peru is in the Amazon basin.  The "high jungle" (where the Andes gradually disappear into the rainforests) also is almost indescribably beautiful.  I remember being in the town of Tingo Maria in the 1980s (when Sendero Luminoso was threatening to turn Peru into a New Cambodia...) and seeing La Bella Durmiente (The Sleeping Beauty) mountain visible from the rooftop of the hotel.  The lowland jungle is also of interest, especially to those interested in natural wonder.

Oh!  And the food...  Ay que rico!  Mmm...  I gain weight every time I go to Peru!

My wife has a couple of friends in Denmark.  Last year they went to Peru (they are in their 60s but healthy), and had a great time.


The below two songs from Peru both feature some video as well.  As I am still having problems getting HTML to work right (perhaps one of my readers can show me the HTML anchor code for this, as the version at my TEOTWAWKI article in May does not work here, thanks!), just copy the links below and paste them into your browser.

Many of you will recognize the below melody that Simon & Garfunkel borrowed for one of their hits.  There are nice pictures of Peru.  The 3rd picture (Cuzco's main plaza I believe has the Inca flag to the upper left, it is the rainbow...).


<a href="http://youtu.be/M_gSydN_BYM"/a>
<a href="http://youtu.be/M_gSydN_BYM"/</a>
<a href="http://youtu.be/watch?v=M_gSydN_BYM";>
<a href="http://youtu.be/M_gSydN_BYM";a>

Rats, what am doing wrong here?  I can't get any of the above 4 to work...

Another version of the song, in Quechua, very nice:


Another version, with CHET ATKINS playing guitar, WOW the guy was good!


The below song ("Ananau") was a hit in Peru some two - three years ago, and is sung in Quechua, the language of the Incas (and still a living language spoken by millions in Peru).  It is a wonderful song...  This was the song that was a hit when we took our daughter to Cuzco and Machu Picchu, and is where she acquired her first real pride in being Peruvian as well as American.


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