Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 2012 - ending in Peru and returning to San Miguel de Allende

 I am writing now from San Miguel de Allende but not wanting to leave out two outstanding events in Peru. We joined with thousands in the Plaza in Cusco to bring in the year. Yes, some were wearing yellow underwear (we presume). I found out that the tradition is that someone has to give them to you and that it brings good luck. Since I bought them for Richard I guess he will have the luck for both of us. We began to walk around the Plaza as the tradition is to run or walk around 12 times to bring luck for travels in the next year. We stopped halfway around as we felt like we would be trampled by many who seemingly had more than necessary to drink.
Thousands in the Plaza de Armas at midnight
The Cusco Flag
On New Years Day we had our goodbye lunch with Telma and Jean-Jacques which was a bit sad but we promised to see each other again in the future. It was the hardest part about leaving...saying goodbye to good friends, even though we were heading back to many equally great friends. I guess that is the life of the gypsies and I can see why many folks stay in one place with their friends so this does not have to keep happening. Later that day we took a 13 hour bus from Cusco to Nasca overnight and arrived early the next day.
Nasca was an incredible place, not for the town which was nothing to see at all, but for the Nasca Lines. Here is information from Wikipedia about the lines. No one really knows to this date why they were made. Again in Peru...a connection to the past in ways that we had never known about before.

The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. They were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 kilometres (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana about 400 km south of Lima. Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD.[1] The hundreds of individual figures range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds,spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas, llamas, and lizards.
The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the ubiquitous reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish ground beneath. Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy are zoomorphic designs of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguar, monkey, or human figures. Other designs include phytomorphic shapes such as trees and flowers. The largest figures are over 200 metres (660 ft) across. Scholars differ in interpreting the purpose of the designs, but in general they ascribe religious significance to them.
The geometric ones could indicate the flow of water or be connected to rituals to summon water. The spiders, birds, and plants could be fertility symbols. Other possible explanations include: irrigation schemes or giant astronomical calendars.[2]
Due to the dry, windless, and stable climate of the plateau and its isolation, for the most part the lines have been preserved. Extremely rare changes in weather may temporarily alter the general designs.

The flight over the lines in a small Cessna seated 7 people. Several (including Ricardo) did not feel well during the flight as the banking from left to right to allow for photos made it very uncomfortable. It was also really hot and we had not really slept well the night before on our long bus ride. However, putting that aside, it was one of the most interesting half hours of our lives. Here you can see the astronaut and the hummingbird (93 meters).

 The next day we went to Lima and spent two nights. Also a chance to catch up with our friends Tess and Cathy and Pavel. We went Gaston y Astrid - a fancy restaurant in Lima serving fusion Peruvian food - they have several restaurants in South America and are working hard to bring Peruvian food to the world, with much success.
It was the warmest time we had during our 4 months and walked along the beach in Lima and as it was their summer vacation - many were enjoying the beach.

And now, we are back in San Miguel with our friends and our full lives. We felt great coming "home" and also so grateful for this last 4 months.
Thanks for coming on this trip with us and you will hear from us again but surely not as often as our lives here are more "regular". Happy New Year to all.

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