"Being together is like catching a sunbeam; each new memory we make reflects light hinting there is more to see and know."

March 29, 2015

WEEK 6 ~ “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”

It’s hard to believe tomorrow will mark the 6th week anniversary of our arrival in Peru.  Even though we have basically been doing the same thing for the past 6 weeks, time is passing quickly as we settle into a routine.  We continue to walk to work each day, the five minute route, and to walk home.  I counted the other day and counted from my office cubicle to the front door of our apartment and it was exactly 600 steps.  I suppose if I lengthen my stride a little the number will be less.  Maybe that is true in most things we do.  As we lengthen our stride, the days become shorter, the work becomes more understandable, our purpose for being where we are at a given time becomes clearer and the distance between us and God is shortened.  This week we did lengthen our strides in a number of ways

Yesterday we decided to do something very different.  Up till then we had only ridden the bus one time.  We decided that we wanted to take a bus and go east as far as we could or wanted to.  We ended up catching a bus to Cieneguilla, a very nice little resort town (to the Peruvians in Lima) that sits in a little valley with a river running through it.  There is some tubing down the river, horseback riding, swimming, volleyball and football, and, of course, lots of eating.

The bus ride was another adventure.  We knew that the smaller buses (like 1½ size of a large van) were usually very packed with people.  We thought Saturday would be different…. We were wrong. We waited across the street from our apartment, waited and waited and waited for a bus to take us east.  (There are no bus schedules.) The first one that came by we flagged down and then crowded into a bus already packed, and I mean packed like sardines and then some.  If you have an issue with invasion of personal space, then the buses that travel to the little pueblos outside the big cities are not for you.  But we were prepared and we got on and shoved and pushed and wiggled our way into a place we could barely stand in by ourselves, let alone with three others, 1 square foot,  holding onto a bar running the length of the bus and smiling along with everyone else. Diane mentioned she felt like everyone was looking at us, probably because we were white and looked like tourists, me in my baseball cap and Di with a sun visor.

 It was an exhilarating thrill ride for about 30 minutes.  Let me give you a verbal picture of the system itself.  There is one driver and one attendant that stands at the one door.  I call him a “herdsman” because that’s what he does, he herds people on and off the bus.  As soon as the bus stops, if there are any to exit they will, all the time while the herdsman yelling "adelante, adelante!! Baja Baja Baja!!"  Then he yells for the people getting on to do the same and for the others to push their way back even if there is no place to go.  At that point we just lean all the same way.  It’s an amazing experience.

The trip to Cieneguilla was about 45 minutes.  It would have been shorter but as we were descending down into the valley, we came up behind a truck filled with tons of bricks.  He was geared down to the lowest gear and riding the brakes and only going about 1 mile an hour, no kidding.  The road is very crooked and treacherous there so the driver wisely did not pass ….. Until he could see at least 30 feet in front.  I always close my eyes and pray when that happens.  We finally passed the truck and made our way down into the little green valley.

It was such a refreshing experience to be out of Lima in a place that actually had some green plants and trees and a river.  We ended up at a restaurant and resort called “Mesa de Piedra” or table of rock.  It was a day of diversion for many families who were there on a weekend getaway.  There were soccer games (like five on five on a half field, and volleyball teams.  People had come from all over, especially Lima, for the day.

We just sat and watched the activities for a while and then decided to go see the ruins that are close by. We walked down the street and asked several how to get to the ruins of Huancan.  We walked up a little path and then up a road to where the ruins were.  When we got there the gate was closed but a woman (Ana) who works for the Peruvian Tourist and Culture department was at the gate.  We learned they were preparing for a celebration of family heritage of the two societies that had been there since 1000, the Ichma and then the Inca.  She literally gave us a personal tour because I told her we would be in Bolivia the day of the multi-country celebration..  She took us up and we walked around the amazing site, seeing the holes where the tombs where and the fresas of the calendar system the Incas used.  It was really an amazing thing to see and to be high enough to look from a place above down on the ruins and then down into the valley of Cieneguilla.

Just a little fun trivia about the above pictures:  the bottom left with the two holes. It was the custom to bury their family members right there in their home; their dead lived with them. In the middle picture, the circles represent the months of the year. In the right picture second from the bottom, can you pick out the city plaza? Well, maybe if it was a bigger picture.

We then went back to the Mesa de Piedra Resort and had lunch.  Our waitress was a little LDS young single adult, Cecilia. I decided to order something different, Guinea Pig.  Not again!  Tasty but no meat. I’ve never had to dig through so many little bones and flesh.  This was not a fat guinea pig and was cooked with its little legs poking out.  Well, it was tasty, the two small bites I was able to pick out. .  I had a slice of what I thought was a red pepper.  It must have been a jalapeño because I ate it and it kept getting hotter and hotter until my tongue and lips were burning.  It finally cooled down.

We saw Peruvian dancers and a Peruvian band and ate on a table made with a slab of rock.  What a day!

We caught a bus  back to La Molina, this time with room to sit down.  Our experience coming home was watching from the back of the bus the people being packed in one at a time.  There was never a time the driver passed up a stop because the bus was too full, amazing.  We also saw that many of the people on the bus lived in the little shacks built on up the barren hillside without a tree or bush in site.  In fact the only trees we saw along the way were a few at the bus stop.  Even though the countryside around Cieneguilla was stark, barren, hot, dusty and barren, the people are kind, gentle, courteous and just thankful for what they have.  What a lesson we can and should all learn from them.

1 comment:

  1. Om my goodness! You rode the combi all the way up to Cieneguilla! Awesome! Sardines on wheels, huh? And you tried the cuy. One more boney time for us...maybe. Why do they love that little rodent so much? Great place to visit. Good photos. Con amor, Los Hansen