Monday, July 17, 2017

Fun facts about Peru and the sites that we visited

We flew into Lima after dark, on July 5th, it was roughly 9:30 pm when we loaded into our tour bus to head to the hotel, and while our tour guide was able to give us some wonderful facts about the city, it was not until the next morning on the way back to the airport at 7 am, that we were able to see the city for ourselves!

  • Lima is the largest city in Peru home to over 10 million of Peru's 30 million people and the 5th largest city in all of South America.
  • Because Lima is a coastal city (the Pacific Ocean) not only is it a famous destination for surfers, but it is also a city with very little rain fall.  1-2 inches a year falls.
  • Summer is considered December - March.
  • The city is almost always (except for about one month) overcast and dreary.  The people of Lima are okay with the cloudy skies because they believe in the myth, that there is a large donkey standing over them and protecting them, and thus when they look up they are looking at the grey belly of the donkey.
  • There are only three places that Coca Cola is not the leading soft drink and Peru is one of them (along with Scotland and India) Inca Cola is the beverage of choice in Peru.  It is neon yellow in color and is said to be bubble gum flavored, although many on the team thought that it was banana flavored. But that does not stop Coca Cola from advertising in a big way! 

We left Lima at 9:45am and headed to the city of Cusco.  Cusco is 11,200 feet above sea level.  We were all instructed in advance about what the potential change in altitude could do to us, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, stomach issues etc.   It is highly thought that the Coca leaf if brewed in a tea or chewed the medicinal benefits would help offset the altitude change.  While a few members of the team suffered mildly from these maladies, most of the team were able to adjust well to the altitude.  Two team members did get to experience great care in the Cusco hospitals on two different days due to altitude sickness and dehydration.  

  • Cusco is the home to many amazing sights.  The Nevado Salkantay or Sakantay (sacred mountain) is 20, 575 feet above sea level and is ice capped and covered in glaciers.  
  • The above mentioned mountain sits close to the former Inca capital and is located directly south of Machu Picchu.    
  • The airport is centrally located, and is literally surrounded by the mountains and the city.  
  • We toured the Imperial City, which included Saqsayhuaman, which is 12,142 feet above sea level
  • The walls of the city and were hand carved to fit against the previous stone with such precision that no mortar type substance was ever needed.
  • These stones were dragged with a rope by 100's of men at a time to get them to their location for carving or scribing.  
  • Today many women dress in traditional clothing and pose for "fotos" for Sol's.  If they "catch" you taking their photos they demand payment.

Machu Picchu is an absolute highlight of this trip and this city,  and demands it's own write up! I will mention it here as it is part of Cusco but will try to pay it honor with it's own photos and historical information.  It is note worthy, that we did not reach elevations as high as this location (12,142 feet) at Machu Picchu as our highest elevation there was only 8,240 feet.  (thanks Blake for use of your technology!) 

In my first post I mentioned many facts about Pucallpa, which was the other city that we visited in Peru.  While I will not rename those items here in this post, I am sure that I will cover additional facts in other posts when I share about our work projects and our time in Pucallpa.

Other interesting facts about Cusco...

  • They grow over 55 varieties of corn in many colors, yellow, black and purple
  • 6th largest producer of gold 162 tons a year approximately
  • They grow over 3,000 types of potatoes
  • Two thirds of Peru is covered by rain forests
  • In Peru it is traditional to give friends yellow underpants for New Years Eve
  • Peru is the 8th largest producer of coffee in the world
  • Cuy or Guinea Pig is a traditional dish served as a celebration meal, complete with its head and legs and eyes.

And with this visual in mind... You really, really can't make this stuff up!! 

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