Sunday, August 19, 2012

Peru and Shut Up No I Didn't Go to Machu Picchu (Part 1)

So for the next two or three posts I am going to be putting up photos from Peru.  I spent the last two weeks there with ol' Teddo.  I do not have time just now to caption each photo with a paragraph.  These photos are from Cajamarca in the north highlands of Peru.  The weather is kind of like the high planes in the Western United States, sunny and dry, warm during the day, cool at night.  Please enjoy the pics for now and I will write about the experience later.  It was a great trip.

Ok here is some writing about my awesome trip to Peru.  I went with my workmate O'le Teddo whose family on his mother's side is from Peru.  So for nearly the entire trip we stayed at his family's houses.  Cajamarca is a town at about 2,700 meters that is famous for being the place in which the Spanish conquistadors killed the last Inca king way back in the past.

As demonstrated by the photo below the town is nestled in a mountain valley and contains many houses built perched on a mountainside.  The town has steep roads, narrow streets, and lots of alleys.  There are a lot of taxis zipping around ready to take you anywhere.  I found the taxi drivers in all of Peru to be more honest and more affordable than the taxi drivers in Paraguay, even though gas in Peru is more expensive than gas in Paraguay.  I think it's because in Paraguay there are a lot of buses leaving all the time.  In Peru it is much more common for regular people to take taxis while in Paraguay taxis are for people with money.  For instance in Paraguay during the night and on the weekends taxis charge a 30% surcharge on top of the fare.  I used to think this was just the special gringo price, but after talking to many locals I determined this is normal practice in Paraguay. 

This is a neat cathedral alongside the central plaza in Cajamarca.  I only went in briefly.  When the doors were open there was a church service for a recently deceased youth and I did not think it appropriate to linger as a tourist.  To the side of this is the place where the last Inca king reputedly was killed by the Spaniards way back in history. 

This is Ole' Teddo enjoying a classic Cajamarca view from a church/museum.  Cajamarca is sunny most of the year and does not generally have snow.  The topography reminded me a lot of the high plains in the Western United States.

Morbid?  Maybe a little.  This is a mummified baby in a jar in a museum in Cajamarca.  I just had to take a picture, it's not often you see mummified babies. 

This is a photo from nearly 3,050 meters on the road from Cajamarca to Ciudad del Dios.  It was hard to breathe when we got up a little higher on the pass, but we descended quickly to sea level on the other side on narrow, steep, and curving roads.  If you know how South Americans drive you can understand this drive was quite an adventure. 

A shot from the drive.  If you look on the left side of the photo you can see the winding road.  It is not steep here just curvy.  Up higher it was equally curvy but on one side was a 1,000 meter drop.  The views were spectacular especially through the fog of a high dose of adrenaline.

The lake behind the dam at the end of the mountains.  The dam is called dam "Gallito", or little rooster.  From here on out it turned into hot flat desert.  This dam is used to irrigate land that was previously not arable.  In the last twenty years dams like this have changed Peru from a former third world nation into an emerging commercial agricultural power.    

I will update part two in a bit.  For now please enjoy.  I am going to spend a few days in the Paraguayan Chaco and then head down to Carapegua to visit some other workmates in their place of residence.  I'm sure seeing a lot of South America and loving every second. 

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