Peru, The Energy of Space
Peru, the Wonderland
I would have never thought that near the equator, on the shore of the ocean, in the summer you can freeze so much! When we left for Peru, we were afraid of heat and mosquitoes, and in fact, we’d better brought warm sweaters with us. The only thing that could save us was that we could buy sweaters at any corner, or rather at any stop of our bus. As soon as you go into the streets you are surrounded by a flock of women in national attire: colorful skirts and shawls and, of course, hats. And, on the Peruvian hats one can write a special study (although, who knows, maybe someone has already defended his thesis on this subject). In each province they have their own models, somewhere just bowlers of Chicago type (it is possible that fellow members of some mafia were hiding there from justice or from their colleagues); somewhere there are wide-brimmed sombreros, on the islands of Lake Titicaca there is a variety of knitted caps of most amusing kinds. Vendors offer you their products, but do that with great dignity, without the obsession, from which one gets so tired in some countries. Although you can trade, it is accepted with understanding.
Our trip was very well organized: a comfortable bus, tidy hotels in beautiful places, delicious food. I remember stopping to have a snack during the day: it always happened in picturesque places with exotic views; the tables stood in the flowering gardens surrounded by trees with fragrant flowers, musicians were playing local motifs, and before each meal we were served a glass of the local drink, Pisco, a mixture of sugarcane vodka and juice. In Peru this drink was a great success, of course, we brought home a bottle of the picturesque, but at the first party exotics could not compete with the national tranquilizer, and it is still on the shelf…
Peru is really a country of exotic wonders. We drove from Lima along the coast with bird colonies, seal rookeries and thickets of cactuses, rose into the mountains above 4000 m, stayed on Lake Titicaca, the largest alpine lake in the world, inspected Cuzco, the capital of the Incas Empire, and across the valley of Urubamba reached the Holy City Machu Picchu. And every day we visited some interesting places, remnants of ancient civilizations, well enough preserved; every hour through the bus window we admired new landscapes.
I was immensely impressed by flying on a small plane over the Nazca Lines. What I saw did not correspond to any expectations. We flew for an hour, everyone was given a map showing the location of the giant figures, and the pilot flew up to each of them and warned us what we should look at, and then made a circle above the figure. Meanwhile it was not easy to spot the figure. The whole plateau had traces of erosion, a lot of traces from cars which had been driven there before it was declared a national reserve. To see a picture in the midst of this confusion of lines you need to stare very intently. But once you have noticed it, it is impossible to lose. It is like in the mysterious figures for children where you need to look for a figure among the tangled lines.
The images spread at big distances from each other, so that it takes quite a long time to walk from one to another. Their targeting is also arbitrary; they somehow do not quite give an impression of creativity of extraterrestrial intelligence, and, in any case, they hardly represent the navigation guidance for air travelers. You can, of course, dream that aliens once landed for repairs, taught local people to draw the gigantic pictures, and flew away on business, realizing that in another couple of thousand years there was nothing to do here, but this hypothesis has no evidence as, however, the rest of them.
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