On the Lighter Side of Business – A visit to Peru!
I mostly post articles about lighting related topics; Sylvania’s latest energy saving light bulbs, high effeciency electronic ballasts or helping companies reduce their energy bills, but I recently had the opportunity to visit the country of Peru on a family vacation and I felt it was interesting enough to add to our site. Most of our vacations in the past several years have been the usual visits to the Florida attractions in Orlando, a week at Ft Myers Beach, or a few days visiting relatives in the northeast. About a year ago our neighbor Jorge, a native Peruvian, and his wife were considering taking a family
trip to Peru to show their 2 teenage children some of the family heritage, the small beach town, Pisco, where Jorge grew up and the surrounding areas. Since our children are similar in ages to Jorge’s children, they spend a lot of time at each of the neighborhood houses and we started talking about the possibility of our family joining the neighbors on their trip to Peru. After some planning and coordinating, our trip plans started to take shape. Jorge contacted a childhood friend, Cesar, who still lives in Peru, and does planning for tour groups and vacationers visiting the sites in Peru. As time went on, two more neighborhood teen friends were added to our group in addition to 2 more relatives meeting up with us in Peru to bring our group total to 13 people (6 adults and 7 teenagers).
I pulled out a small sample of the hundreds of photos that I took to give you a flavor of some of the interesting sites and beauty in Peru. Our 10 day trip gave us time to experience the native culture and meet many local Peruvians. I would encourage you to consider adding Peru to your future vacation plans.
While Machu Picchu is probably Peru’s best know archaeological site, Peru also is home to the Sechura Desert, part of the Amazon Rain Forest, and the Nasca Lines. The potato originated in the region of southern Peru. Potatoes were first domesticated in Peru between 8000 BC and 5000 BC. In the Altiplano, potatoes provided the principal energy source for the Inca Empire, its predecessors, and its Spanish successor.Peru still farms over 2000 types of potatoes.
There are several large churches in Cusco, in addition to many small stores, shopping markets, hotels and restaurants.
A small restaurant that we stopped at in the Paracas reserve, allowed us to tour their kitchen area, they do not use many modern kitchen appliances or have modern equipment.
The Tacama Winery is near Ica, Peru. Tacama makes many types of wine in addition to a drink called Pisco, which is used to make “Pisco Sour”, the national drink. Many local restaurants offered us free Pisco Sour drinks to stop at their restaurants. The wine press above was used in the late 1800′s. The press on the underside of the long horizontal log was slowly lowered (by the vertical wooden screws on the left), to press the grapes contained in round wooden tubs.
These three wheeled taxis called Tut Tuts are all over the area. Since most locals don’t own cars, the Tutus dart in and out of traffic carrying passangers to their destinations. We found fuel to be very expensive. The two Hyundai H1 vans we rented were diesel.
On the last evening on our trip, we were in the desert doing sand boarding and dune buggy rides. After the sand boarding, we enjoyed a barbaque cookout in the desert at a small camp setup by the staff with the dune buggies. At 9:00pm in the darkness, the dune buggy drivers took us back to our vans, through the desert without their headlights on. Even though this was a little scary, they seemed to be very confident of where they were going. We had a blast on this event. Click on the following link to watch the video of us sand boarding donw the dunes in the Sechura Desert.
The Koricancha Temple in Cusco, is reported to have had the walls lined with gold, gold statues, and a huge golden sun disc. The outside terraces are said to have had life size gold and silver statues of plants and animals.
Guinea pig is considered a delicacy in Peru. While the taste was ok, there is not much there to eat, which is probably why it is a “delicacy” and not a meal. Potatoes are served with most meals in Peru. We also tried alpaca which tasted similar to beef. We all had a great opportunity to try many different types of food.
In August 2007, Peru suffered a 8.0 magnitude earthquake which destroyed or seriously damaged more than 16,000 homes and businesses. The earthquake was centered near the towns of Paracas and Pisco, small beach towns. Even though it has been 4 years since the earthquake, much progress have been made but, many of the buildings still show signs significant damage. Building, electrical and plumbing inspections seem to be lax, but Peru seems to be recovering.
The Sechura Desert actually comes up to the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the Paracas Reserve in southern Peru. Much of the coast line has very steep rocky cliffs
Our group of 13 neighbors and relatives standing in front of the “Candelabra” . The Candelabra on the northern face of the Paracas reserve, faces the Pacific Ocean and is 595′ high, large enough to be seen 12 miles into the Pacific Ocean. The age of Candelabra is unknown for sure, but experts put the age anywhere from 500 to 2000+ years old. Archaeologists have found pottery around the site dating back to around 200 B.C. Some experts say that the Candelabra was a directional marker that points ancient visitors to the “Nasca Lines”, other suspect it may have been a lighthouse of sorts, to guide the local fisherman into a safe harbor.
Back in the USA:
Visiting another country can be exciting and great fun and takes some planning, exchanging currency, maybe solving a language barrier, etc, but it is always great to get home. Even though this is not my first trip out of the USA, I am thankful for our freedoms and all that we have in this country. Yes the USA has it’s share of problems, but they pale in comparison to some of the struggles and problems that are faced by other nations.
Happy Travels !
A Special Thanks:
Cesar Escalante and his company, Periodo de aventure, were a great help is the planning of our trip. Cesar cordinated the guides, the shuttles buses, entrance tickets, dune buggys and more. If you are going to Peru and would like some help planning your trip. Cesar would be a great help! Visit their website for contact information:
(Their website converts from a Spanish to English)