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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

I am very thankful for a weekend at home. I have been out of town six times in the last six weeks. I am also thankful that I am not a long distance truck driver or regional salesman. My back and mind would die a quick death in a vehicle seat. Last weekend I drove 32 hours in 4 1/2 days to see my fourth-born graduate from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. Not only was the graduation worth the trip but the Christian fellowship I experienced while there seemed like a spiritual retreat.

The couple whose house my son has lived at the last two semester was where my fourth son and I also stayed. They opened their home and their hearts. The man is an emergency transport helicopter pilot who once flew in Papua New Guinea for Wycliffe Bible Translators. He uses his technical expertise as a witness to how believers in Jesus serve people. His wife homeschooled their eight children. She explained how inadequate and fretful about teaching she felt at first until she remembered her Christian college president’s saying,”Walk with the King, and be a blessing.” That is what she wanted to teach her children and that was all that was required of her. She could relax and live the life of grace before them.

I met my son’s Senior Design Project Professor. He has an encouraging testimony of how God saved a wild red-neck and put him into service to teacher young men and women to make good use of God’s gifts while giving God the glory. 

The commencement speaker was Edmund C. Moy, one time Director of the US Mint in Washington, D.C. With stories from his own experience he urged graduates to be competent and caring Christians. Following are my quick notes on the seven pieces of advice he gave: 

  1. Seek a Mentor.

  2. Find or form a like-minded group with whom to pray and fellowship and witness.

  3. Be trustworthy with the small things; integrity matters.

  4. Do good work; it praises God.

  5. Make a “to be list” to become spiritually mature.

  6. Consider public service.

  7.  Many resumes have a zig-zag path. That’s OK: God is behind it.

Both at the dinner on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon the hosts, other parents, and graduates talked freely of spiritual matters. Several of the graduates led singing of spiritual songs. Another father and I were grateful for the friendship forged between our sons and the hosts’ son-in-law over the last four years, encouraging each other to live godly lives and be good students imparted life-long lessons and habits in all three of these young men. On this Mother’s Day, several mothers told stories of God’s work in their children’s lives and the graduates responded with other stories and thanks for godly mothers and fun times with Christian brothers.

In the Sunday School my son has attended the last 3 1/2 years the teacher reminded us by a survey of examples that the stories of the Bible they had been learning are examples of God’s grace and sovereign plan worked without fail in believers’ lives. The sermon following was given as a series of five sermonettes by the five elders on aspects of God’s love:

1. God is love because He is a Father in a triune relationship.

2. God’s love is expressed in the Old Testament as ‘hesed’, steadfast love.

3. God’s love is best expressed in the gift of Jesus.

4. God’s love never fails.

5. It is difficult for us to comprehend how much God loves us.

I had abundant time to think about all of these lessons as I drove 5 hours on Sunday and 10 1/2 hours on Monday by myself back to North Carolina. My back ached by the time I arrived home and my mind was dull and exhausted but my spirit was refreshed, ready to begin again at the mundane and stressful job of teaching high school science with excellence and care.

Paraphrase of the Great and Secondary Commandments

Paraphrase of the Great and Secondary Commandments

One Time "Richest Acre in the World", Kilgore, TX

One Time “Richest Acre in the World”, Kilgore, TX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior Design Project and Senior Designer

Senior Design Project and Senior Designer

An Inventor, Entrepreneur, Industrialist, Philanthropist, Evangelist Christian

An Inventor, Entrepreneur, Industrialist, Philanthropist,
Evangelist Christian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

!---!---!---!

!—!—!—!

Dad, Grad, and Sib

Dad, Grad, and Sib

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Aim Matters

Good Aim Matters on The Big Muddy

Waiting in Line for the upstream passage

Waiting in Line for the upstream passage

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Sandblast

I having been blogging since July of 2007. Until the past year I have been very regular, blogging between 1 and 4 times a month with the most being 12 times in one month (need to go back and see what that was about). I have missed a month or two now and then. For 8 years and 2 months I missed blogging 8 months, more than I realized. September is my most missed month; I’m a teacher and life gets busy about then. Since last September I have missed 4 more months. I do not desire to slow down or quit but opportunities and responsibilities seem to keep increasing. So I find myself in a quandry. I don’t want to be so busy naval gazing that I don’t live life, but neither do I want to rush through all of the events of life without reflecting on them which allows me to live more deeply. 

Here I am with a few moments only to record part of a privileged event from April. I went to a seminar in Clearwater, Florida. It was very worthwhile and may open more opportunity and I may comment on it later. But in the midst of 10 1/2 hours of driving there and 12 hours back (There is something surrealistic about miles of stopped traffic for construction in the middle of the night on what would otherwise be a lonely stretch of interstate.), 20 hours of class in 2 1/2 days, and a 45 minute commute before and after each day of seminar, 2 hours on a beach just before sunset was glorious. I ran 3 1/2 miles barefoot to the north end of Honeymoon Island and walked through surf, collected shells, and took pictures on the way back. Such mini-vacations are what I find to be the balm for frenetic schedules. Many people I am around seem to take their comfort in interacting with people and food. As a teacher who happily interacts with people every day (OK, some people are annoying but I like to converse and teach and help.) and sits or stands far too much, I prefer to go “away” when break time comes. I hope that you may enjoy the thought of the break I took in these pictures and find ways to take breaks yourself.

American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher

Honeymoon Island State Park Beach facing south toward Clearwater

Honeymoon Island State Park Beach facing south toward Clearwater

Tide coming in

Tide coming in

Plover or Least Sandpiper in its Winter Plumage?

Plover or Least Sandpiper in its Winter Plumage?

Got one!

Got one!

Working Late

Working Late

Wind in you hair; sand between your toes

Wind in you hair; sand between your toes

Evening Glint

Evening Glint

Day's End

Day’s End

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Culture is an odd and interesting phenomenon. Though the word has now been co-opted to refer to interaction in a business office, the more traditional definition looks more like the http://www.merriam-webster.com first entry: “the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time”. Therein is the oddity and interest. That is a very broad definition trying to capture all that goes into a culture. You can mix and match the first three terms (and the “etc’s” for that matter) with any combination of the “particular” last four terms. Try for instances this combination that helps to explore a situation our tour explored in Peru: ‘art of a particular society in transition through time‘.

Pressing out the air bubbles

Pressing out the air bubbles

Painted, glazed, kiln dried, sun drying

Glazed and painted and drying in the sun in readiness for the second firing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We toured the Seminario Ceramicas in Urubamba of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The head potter, Pablo Seminario, along with his wife the head painter, Merilu Behar, developed a style of glazed and decorated pottery that has elements of ancient Peruvian cultures and modern stylistic exploration. The style was further developed by the isolation necessary for survival during the Shining Path insurgence of the 1980’s. One motif that the potter declared to me that he finds ever new is the shape of the arrowhead. As he said, “It was a tool for gathering food…is similar to the water drop or a leaf”. So Pablo continues to explore splashes of modern creativity mixed with hints of ancient continuity.

Moderno-ancient mix

Moderno-paleo creations

   I was temporarily separated from my tour    group because I was taking some pictures in this gallery of creations of the artist. When I exited the room outdoors I didn’t see anyone. I assumed a whole group could not have gone far in a minute so I went to the nearest doorway. When I entered, there was Pablo wielding a small carving tool on a large arrowhead. Realizing I had entered his private studio, I began to back out but he waved me forward, not even slowing the pace of his work. 

Pablo manifesting a new vision of the arrowhead

Pablo manifesting a new vision of the arrowhead

 

  For the next 10-12 minutes we amicably discussed the creative process. He seemed to be quite interested in talking with me because I had brought students to tour Peru and because I talked intelligently about art and science. I asked several questions about how he begins a concept and carries it out. One question involved the arrowhead, “You obviously like to make arrowheads. Why did you start with it and why do you continue with it now?” He related the request from an art exhibit many years ago that he combine modern and ancient elements of design. This request caused him to reflect on the usefulness and ubiquitousness of the arrowhead shape he noticed in nature as quoted above. He continues to see new things in the shape and strives to continue to grow and so pursues more content in the arrowhead. This discussion led to me commenting on how one should be thankful to the Creator for instilling the gift of creativity. He retorted that it was far more work than creativity. I countered that the work is necessary but without merit if the person lacks the creative ability; each of us should work to develop the gift we have. The waste of potential that he sees as an artist and I see as a science teacher consumed some of our interaction. We also interacted over the similarities in science and art, how each involves elements of the other, and how both center around the abilities to think and work hard. It was one of those moments when we both knew that we had connected in a meaningful way even though before that moment we had been total strangers from different cultures pursuing different vocations and avocations, separated by different worldviews. Our connection was musing on life, its processes, and its meaning.

His life had been one sufficiently isolated from the insanity of the violent culture around him in order to survive and thrive, and yet not isolated from creative interaction, as his collaboration with his wife and 50 potters and painters in training attests. 

Decorating the forms

Decorating the forms with Inca symbols

Main Gallery

Main Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think that in this discussion and on this trip I discovered a more complete reason for why I like to travel. It extends my musing on life through observation of diversity in nature, culture, thinking, history, distance, science, people, God’s work in the world, and a host of other providential allowances given by a good Creator. We want to see beauty and substance and understand its meaning and purpose. But many are not willing to wade through the meaning of ugliness and triviality to reach the beauty and substance that does not lend to their preconceived ideas of what it should mean. I agree with Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. Don’t be afraid to examine yours and others and risk having to change what you hold dear for what is true and good and beautiful and full of substance.

Contrasts of Hues and Properties

Contrasts of Hues and Properties

Courtyard Beauty

Courtyard Beauty of Seminario

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Peru 4

From Ollantaytamba the train winds down the ever narrowing and deepening gorge toward Machu Picchu. The trip takes 1:45 including a few short pauses on siding for passing trains. The gorge only has room for the river and the cut for the train in many places where an extended arm would literally touch the jagged rocks of the cut. Some of the rapids are intense looking and the vegetation slowly increases in density, height, and variety from semi-desert to cloudland rainforest. Students in their uniforms and farmers in their work clothes were headed to school and field. Terraces still hold corn and grazing animals.

I spent most of my time looking out of the windows.

I spent most of my time looking out of the windows.

The Whole Tour Group at the first good view of the city

The Whole Tour Group at the first good view of the city

The Narrowing Urabamba River Gorge

The Narrowing Urubamba River Gorge

Terraces still used

Terraces still used

 

The village of Machu Picchu is not more than 100 m wide and is cut in two by the Urubamba River and the railroad. Densely vegetated cliffs rise easily 1500 feet on either side. I find the topography the most amazing characteristic of the village and the ancient site. Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site visited by over one million people each year. Many details about the construction, location, and history of the site are amazing. Being in a rainforest, the Inca engineers provided it with a subterranean drainage system without which it would have long since eroded away. The temple and Inca rulers’ structures are built of the smooth, fitted stones that are earthquake resistant and yet the Temple of the Sun is slowly splitting apart due to a minor fault line that extends across the concave city green. A wire stretched across the green from one side to the other and made taut by a weight and measured by an instrument indicates that the green is expanding by a few millimeters per year. A quarry on the brow of the ridge was the source of the building stone.

Inca Trail

Inca Trail (25 miles to the Capitol Cusco)

Main Gate to the City

Main Gate to the City

Temple of the Sun has a fault

Temple of the Sun has a fault

Living and Working Spaces

Living and Working Spaces

Llamas wander throughout the site

Llamas wander throughout the site

Steep Real Estate (note the archaeologists in blue)

Steep Real Estate (note the archaeologists in blue)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinchilla Chillin'

Chinchilla Chillin’

Huayna Picchu overlooks the ridgetop city

Huayna Picchu overlooks the ridgetop city

Hiram Bingham, the Yale historian who revealed Machu Picchu to the world in 1911, was not the first person of European descent to explore the terraces and temples. It was not the Spanish who saw it though, for they never found it. Why? It had been abandoned before they came and conquered the Inca. The actual reason for its abandonment is unknown but the well worn theories about religious, political, or military causes are not very convincing. Our trained Peruvian guide seemed to think that the evidence of syphilis in the bones of some buried at the Temple of the Condor suggests that an epidemic caused the inhabitants and would be inhabitants to forsake the city. It seems most plausible to me since the Spanish never seemed to have even heard about it. Their writings make no mention of its existence. Also, syphilis was a new world endemic disease before Europeans arrived. Epidemic levels of syphilis result from a sexually debased society. A mere 10 years of abandonment would have been sufficient for the jungle to cover all evidence of its existence. Hiram Bingham would not have found it if farmers had not shown him exactly where it was and had several terraces cleared for farming. The Europeans who discovered it before the American were treasure hunters who did not want Peruvians or anyone else to know they had come and gone.

 

Inca Bridge-a secure gate against an enemy who never came.

Inca Bridge-a secure gate against an enemy who never came.

Farmers were in good shape

Farmers were in good shape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Built in about 1450 and abandoned before 1520, the 140 stone buildings of a construction project in progress testify to both the semi-permanence and futility of all that we do apart from God. Syphilis, war, superstition, drought, or whatever caused the peoples of Machu Picchu to leave give testimony to the ultimate powerlessness of an empire to perpetuate control and forego God’s judgment on evil practices. If we assume that empires and culture are simply short-lived because that is the way it must be, then we fail to remember that this world is fallen and it did not have to be that way. God did not create life for death; man chose death. The enemy is not outside the gate but inside the heart.

 

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In the late afternoon the bus labored up the steep, windy streets out of Cusco onto a highway and through a gap into a increasingly rural setting. The highway wound from there ever down through a steep-sided valley with occasional leveler spots where villages cling to the side of hills. Chencheros is one such village with walled adobe courtyards along both sides of its streets and no appearance of significant prosperity or poverty. The bus stopped at an open gate in one of the 7 to 8 feet walls. Here is a tourist market for the woven goods of the village, a village where the real things are made. A short distance beyond the gate are pens for llama and Guinea Pigs, the latter having come over from Africa many centuries ago are now a food delicacy and a source for fine wool. Further in young and old Quechua women were weaving various textiles and a pavilion was setup for the demonstration of cutting, washing, carding, spinning, dying, and drying yarn. Leaves and roots provide for many colors but the most fascinating is the Cochineal insect that inhabits cacti of Latin America that provides deep, crimson red colors. The woman demonstrating crushed the white remains of one she had dug out of a prickly pear cactus fruit between her thumb and forefinger. Swirling the contents into her palm revealed the deepest, purplish red. Boiled in water with the yarn these produce a very permanent dye.

Leaving Cusco

Leaving Cusco

Moving Upward

Moving Upward

Wool on Hoof

Wool on Hoof

Cutting, washing, carding, spinning, dying, drying

Cutting, washing, carding, spinning, dying, drying

Weaving Alpaca Wool

Weaving Alpaca Wool

Sacred Valley Downstream of Temple Site above Ollantaytamba

Sacred Valley Downstream of Temple Site above Ollantaytamba

  Dusk was upon us as we left Chencheros.

   It was time to head down to Urubamba.

I saw a most beautiful sight as the bus cruised across the upper reaches of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. A high, rugged peak to the west combed the rays of the setting Sun into golden strands while a sliver of the Moon looked on from the deeply violet background. A picture would have trouble doing the scene justice even if I could have stopped and attempted a time exposure, much less my words, for it was profoundly beautiful. By upper reaches of the valley I mean that it is much higher than the part down by the Urubamba River. As the twilight dimmed we came to a set of switchbacks 1000 feet above the provincial capital of Urubamba, shining by electric lights in the dark valley below, while the snow capped peaks loomed darkly above pressing down on the small village below.

Peaks 'feel heavy' on the small valley below

Peaks ‘feel heavy’ on the small valley below

Peaks to Comb the Sun's Rays

Peaks to Comb the Sun’s Rays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning we headed further downstream to the village and temple site at Ollantaytamba. The temple site has pottery and stonework evidence of pre-Inca terraces and temples. The Incas never finished their temple site here because the Spanish interrupted their 100 year empire and building spree. This fact actually left abundant evidence for how it was being built. Boulders of the acceptable type to the builders (gray basalt) were quarried several thousand feet upslope on the other side of the valley and rolled down. The Urubamba River was divided into two channels by a central levee and half at a time blocked off so the blocks could be pulled across half the river at a time. A ramp on the near side of the valley provided the route up to the temple site. It was perhaps a 9% (~5 degree) slope. We were told that experiments with a 1 ton block required 180 men to drag across smooth, rounded stones lubricated with wet clay up such an incline. The estimate was that 2000 men would have been needed to pull some of the blocks resident to the site!

Ollantaytamba Temple site, terraces, and village

Ollantaytamba Temple site, terraces, and village

Temple of the Sun at Ollantaytamba with quarry site in the background

Temple of the Sun at Ollantaytamba with quarry site in the background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we were at the temple site the local tour guide was telling us about the various foci of Inca worship: sun, moon, stars, earth, water, the underworld, fertility of land, animals, and wives, and more. Solstices, equinoxes, planetary conjunctions, and the like were times for worship. In their pantheon of gods and means of worship they recognized the invisible god who created all things. At this temple site they believed that this god had left them a representation of himself in the rock formations across the valley. They built a small, four parapet structure on top of this formation as a crown. Why with all of their worship of created things did they recognize an invisible god, utterly different from all of their other objects of worship? But remember what Paul said to the men at Lystra who tried to worship Barnabas and him: “We…preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:15-17) What was this witness that He left? What the text lists is the very things that the Inca culture worshipped, physical sources of life. And God left further witness: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” (Psalm 19:1-6) All that those priests were worshipping in the ridge top temples were witnesses to the very God they acknowledged exists but did not worship. How could they have known of His existence? Was it a long forgotten tradition? Perhaps it was but it need not be. They may have figured out the evidence: “…that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” (Romans 1:19-23) Wow! The object of their worship became the snare that prevented them from worshipping the true God that all of those things clearly pointed to. This perspective on their knowledge and lack of worshipful acknowledgement of God helped to inform my understanding of all that I saw of Inca culture in Peru.

Unfinished Entryway

Unfinished Entryway

A Block left just short of its destination

A Block left just short of its destination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ancient way still practiced

The ancient way still practiced

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No cement, no gaps, highly earthquake resistant, not eternal

No cement, no gaps, highly earthquake resistant, not eternal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you care to come along I will explore another strand of this thought in the next Peru entry on Machu Picchu. Until then, blessed truth hunting.

 

 

 

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Peru 2

An American educated Peruvian named Rafael Larco Hoyle opened a museum of Pre-Columbian pottery in 1925 after his father gifted him 600 ancient pieces of pottery and his uncle suggested a museum should be set up. For the rest of his life Larco added to his collection which is now the Museo Larco tesoros del antiguo Peru. [tesoros- “treasure”] There is evidence of 43 Pre-Incan cultures who were sophisticated metalworkers and weavers and farmed and hunted arid and semi-arid landscapes successfully.

Earrings

Earrings

Weaving

Weaving

Royal Decorations

Royal Decorations

Amazingly Lifelike

Amazingly Lifelike

A Small Part of the 'tesoros'

A Small Part of the ‘tesoros’

Possibly Cerro de Salantay west of Cusco

Possibly Cerro de Salantay west of Cusco

Flight from Cusco to Lima

Flight from Cusco to Lima

 

 

 

The Andes Mountains beyond Patagonia are little considered as significant mountains by most North Americans and yet Peru features 9 peaks over 20,000 feet.

Salantay, which is west of Cusco standing 6271 m (20,574 ft.), waters much of the area of the Sacred Valley of the Incas by its melting glaciers. Without these glaciers a large part of Peru would be barren. Flying into Cusco, the one time capital of the Incas (kings of the Quechua), is impressive. The airplane has to snake its way in between high mountain peaks all around and drop fast to land at 11,000 feet. The air is crisp and dry. A certain smell persisted the first half an hour until I was used to it. I finally figured out it must be the smell of ozone that forms at higher elevations. You quickly learn that the sunny side of the street is just barely uncomfortably warm while the shady side of the street requires a sweater if you are not active. Sunscreen or a covering hat is advisable.

A Higher Plain (~11,000 ft)

A Higher Plain (~11,000 ft)

Welcome to Cusco, Royal City of the Incas

Welcome to Cusco, Royal City of the Incas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch next time for forays into the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Traveling Buddies

Traveling Buddies

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For 8 days four of my students, a mother, a grandfather, and I learned about culture and history, and observed wonderful beauty of the unique and diverse country of Peru. 

Launch Complex 39 Assembly Building

Launch Complex 39 Assembly Building

   But first we had to get   there. The flight from Charlotte to Miami flew right over Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Looking out the window for a glimpse of the coast now and then, I looked at just the right time to see Launch Pads 39A and B. At 36,000 feet the 10 story Assembly Building and trackway to the launch pads look like diminutive LEGO constructions. I was surprised by the airport code for Miami-Dade International – MIA. That means something else to me, but I must confess that layovers in airports can feel just like what I thought that codes means.

Stain Glass in Lima

Stain Glass in Lima

Because of clouds I did not see land again until we turned to make our approach on Lima. I must confess that big cities are a bit intimidating, stressful, and dirty to me. I like people but not so many at once. Lima has its own differences. At 10 million people, it constitutes a full 1/3 of the population of Peru. One native told me that this proportion was largely a result of people escaping the Shining Path during the 1980’s and 90’s. Because of cold ocean currents offshore Fall and Winter are almost entirely cloudy and rainless. This combination results in a dreary, humid, polluted, pleasantly cool climate with very little variation at night. How so many people have enough water from rivers flowing from the mountains is amazing to me. Downtown Lima has numerous churches. Most of the ones I went into on this trip disallow pictures, but I did get some in a basilica near our hotel.

Statue and Hotel of Bolivar on the Main Square

Statue and Hotel of Bolivar on the Main Square

The two heroes of independence in Peru, Jose de San Martin and Simon Bolivar, figure in numerous statues and place names in Lima. San Martin proffered partial independence in 1821 and Bolivar completed the task in 1824. Two other tumultuous periods figure largely in the abbreviated Peruvian history that I received: The War of the Pacific (1879-1883) and The Shining Path Insurgence (1980-~2000). During the former, Chile seized territory from both Peru and Bolivia over a mining treaty dispute via naval and desert battles. Peru lost three ports and Bolivia lost access to the ocean. A tour guide explained that the most northerly port city was returned after 10 years by referendum. The Communist Party militant arm, The Shining Path, committed many atrocities in an attempt to gain control of the government. Desperate times require desperate measures, so that President Fujimori from 1990 to 2000 committed atrocities of equal if not greater intensity to rid the country of this scourge. He succeeded and failed; he is now in jail in Peru.

Kennedy Park ("Park of the Cats")

Kennedy Park (“Park of the Cats”)

After hostilities calmed down I am told that Peru experienced a period of phenomenal economic growth, the best in South America until a few years ago. One reason may be the large number of government employees. Every park and sidewalk has workers who sweep, wash, plant, water, weed, in a word, beautify, and the same spaces have provincial and national police.

Peruvian National Police

Peruvian National Police

Beautification Committee

Beautification Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction and Prosperity

Construction and Prosperity

Shine and Decline

Shine and Decline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from our hotel window told a variable story of economic stability. Even in the downtown area many building are in decline while others shine.

Franciscan Monastery

Franciscan Monastery

 

A Franciscan Monastery that we toured was more interesting to us for what was under it than what was in it. When the archeologists were allowed to survey the catacombs in the 1990’s they carefully estimated that 25,000 people had been buried there. Bones and skulls in every compartment and such superior structure as has survived several major earthquakes. The tour guide pointed out a “well” said to be 10 meters deep in bones. Everyone wanted to be buried under the church. Believing in the invisible church as the actual body of Christ, many of these bones will not arise at the resurrection, but the magnitude of this scene gave new meaning to the excitement on resurrection day- bring it quickly, Lord Jesus.

Next time I want to discuss the Larco Museum of Archeology in Lima and the flight and first impressions of Cusco. (Note: I find it nearly impossible to orient the text and pictures just as I want them. Oh well, hope you enjoyed my discoveries anyway.)

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