Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Last Days

A twenty four hour delay in Lima created chaos for our family.
Being Peru, there was very little signs of organisation of the 300 grumpy passengers that after two hours of waiting were told to leave the plane. Our passports were taken from us to be photocopied, which no one was happy with and when coaches finally arrived to whisk us away, stampedes broke out towards their welcoming doors.
Four hours after we left the plane however, we were all safely checked into Lima's five star Sheraton hotel.
The flight left the next evening and after a bit more muddle in Madrid, we, and the group of passengers that we had made friends with by now, made it back to Britain.
In the back of our minds throughout our time in Peru was the two days at home before we moved on to the next thing: a weeks camping in Scotland. The delay meant that we have had just a single day to complete washing from Peru, ready for Scotland. Five washes in one day has been quite an achievement.
Thank you for reading along with me, I'm off to Scotland now! x

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Days Twenty Two and Twenty Three

Yesterday we flew out of Cusco, and today we fly out of Lima and Peru. The three weeks have passed so quickly.

Our last night in Lima was spent at a fountain park. We watched the water dance in time to the music, making towers as tall as 80 feet. Lasers shone on to the screens of water, showing many of the traditional dances of Peru being performed.

This morning we visited Margaret's church in a part of Lima that we haven't visited before. The church was very lively and enjoyed clapping away to the songs. This was lovely to see in this poorer area of town.

We are now leaving for the airport, hoping that everything goes to plan with the flights and the luggage. I will not miss the mating dogs at the sides of the street, having to throw toilet paper in the bin rather than flushing it and the grey skies of Lima, but there is also a lot that I'm sorry to leave behind, the people that I've met being a major thing.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Day Twenty One

Today was our last day with the Williamson family in Cusco. We spent it dashing between market stalls, buying brightly coloured Peruvian hats, handfuls of earrings and shining beads, thick knitted cardigans and colourful paintings. We want to take some of the vibrancy of Peru home with us.

Tim enjoyed spending his evening running backwards and forwards over a concrete football pitch with some of the local boys who are of a similar age to him.

We have really enjoyed our time in the picturesque region of Cusco, this being all the more evident by the sadness that we feel of the thought of flying back over the mountains tomorrow.

A last night in the capital city of Lima awaits us however, before the long journey back to Britain.

Day Twenty

As we drove to more of the great Incan ruins (Pisac and Ollantaytambo), the devastation of the floods that struck earlier in the year was evident.

Sections of the road had been washed away, turning relatively main roads into single tracks with deathly drops.

The height that the river must have risen is amazing. This photo shows the river at its current height; dozens of feet below the remains of a bridge that it swept away.
The water at the ruins was much gentler. It trickles out of the huge, grey rocks, seemingly from nowhere. It runs down the mountains in bubbling springs, smoothing the stones that get in its way. It races through the cobbled streets of the towns, sweeping away the dust in its path.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Day Eighteen and Nineteen

Cusco is the land of ruins. Old Inca fortresses and villages scatter the green mountainsides.

Over the past couple of days we've visited a couple of what used to be Inca water systems. It's amazing how they have survived and still make their mark on Peru and it's tourists. Travelling to the site that we visited today was a bit edgy, the incline being steep and narrow and the small, dusty car park at the top being crammed full.

I have enjoyed seeing some of Peru's famous Lamas (although my dad has had a taste of Alpaca). We've also seen dozens of different butterfly species drifting around, but only when we visit these ruins, not in the dusty cities.

Trips into the centre of Cusco have been regular too. I have taken my first real Peruvian taxi ride, although the roads here are not quite as hectic and hard to read as they are in Lima. As it is The Day of Peru today, the town is covered in the flags of Peru and Cusco. People line the streets to watch processions of dancers skip past, dressed in traditional Peruvian and Inca dress.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Day Seventeen

Every year Cusco is hit by the rainy season in around January and February. This year the small town of Yucay and its neighbouring villages were hit with more rain than usual. The rain that had been gathering in the mountains streamed down into the valley, and the ever-rising river burst its banks. This led to tragedy for the mud huts belonging to the people of Yucay.

This is another natural disaster that I do not remember hitting the news.
Many of the people living here were left with nothing: no homes, no food, no crops, no livestock and sometimes even fewer family members than before the floods struck.
The Williamsons have travelled to Yucay every week, providing food for the many families who have been living cramped together in tents. The people have now left their tents and are adapting to living in what used to be good homes for them.

To help them along their way, today we gave out maize seeds to almost 400 families. This will help them to become self-sustainable again, instead of relying on food from organisations like BMS, as they grow, harvest and sell the maize.
It was tough work in the heat of the sun, and meant getting up early again, but these people have been forced to go through so much worse.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Day Sixteen

A tale of two buildings: The Inca fortress Sacsayhuaman and the Williamson's church, El Peunte.
After wandering around the ruins in the heat of the sun for a while, we moved onto a natural rock area which have been smoothed down into slides. The ruins also provided great views of the city of Cusco.

This afternoon was the Inauguration of the new church building. It was opened officially by the red ribbon being cut by my dad who also went onto preach, being translated by Anjanette into Spanish. The children enjoyed playing with balloons and eating banana cookies after the service.