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Monday, May 22, 2023: Headed South on the Pan American Highway

Our hotel is in the heart of Miraflores which is the second richest community in Lima and therefore in Peru.

The official flag has an emblem in the center which has a vicuña on it. This is related to the llama. This flag can only be used by governments. Regular flags that people can fly cannot have the emblem.

Here are a few random facts about Peru. The sol is the currency. The Andes are the longest and youngest mountain range. It is still growing and starts in the ocean. Peru has 74 reserves and parks. There are a lot of vultures in the city. They control the pigeons.

The Pan American Highway is the longest road in the world running from Alaska to Chile. Much of the road runs near ocean. It is very important for import and export. Chile is a rich stable country which attracts more Europeans and Venezuelans than Perú.

Perú is a big exporter of blueberries. They were introduced from North America. Now Perú grows them and exports them to North America. They produce very big blueberries.

Quinoa originated in Bolivia and Peru. Today most varieties are grown here.  They grow other cereals as well. Avocados are exported.

Peruvians don’t eat asparagus and artichokes because they don’t know how to prepare them. These products are grown exclusively for export.

Civilizations developed by the coast because food is plentiful and climate mild. The same occurs today with most people living on the coast. It is hard to live in the rain forest. There are less people.

In 1532 the Spanish arrived. That is when all the trouble began.

A headline at the newspaper stand.

Peruvians don’t fly much. The main mode of transportation is by bus. Most of the buses travel at night. Trucks must be off the road by 8pm. There is a Pacific to Atlantic Road that runs through Brazil. It is only 10 years old. There are few trains. Tuktuks are used in the countryside but not allowed in Lima.

Perú has a population of 32 million. The population of Lima is almost 12 million. It rarely rains in Lima, but it is mostly overcast. They call Lima The Grey. Three million people in Lima have no running water. It is carried to them by truck.

Five million people in Perú speak Quechua, the second official language of Peru after Spanish. There are 47 other languages in Peru. Most of these indigenous languages are handed down orally and exist in the jungle. The most ex patriots from Perú live in Patterson, NJ followed by Miami, FL.

One never knows what to wear in Peru. Our guide says that there are 84 different microclimates in Perú and around 125 in the world. This country is very biodiverse.

One main sport in Lima is surfing. The beaches are very pebbly.

One of their most anticipated holidays is Día de Pollo a la Brasa. They celebrate chicken. It occurs on the third Sunday of July. This is close to July 28, 1821, which is Perú’s independence day.

Perú uses hydroelectric power. They do not have any nuclear power plants.

Squatters can build on government land in the desert in order to secure free land. They build one room houses and maybe a fence. It takes many years to get papers of ownership, but one can go ahead and build. They might be denied if they have built on private lands.

There are a lot of people with disabilities especially blind people. The government doesn’t help with disability or retirement. Peruvians must work to survive and save.

Peru has many deserts. Pampa is the name for desert.  The pampas are a continuation of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, but Peruvians don’t call it that.

At one time, there was blue and brown colored cotton. The Chinese came to work in the cotton and sugar fields. Sugar is grown north of Lima. Slavery was abolished in 1854. Two percent of Peruvians are of African descent.

Perú has many mines, and mining companies. They are known for their gold and silver. The mine owners get VERY rich. There is a lot of corruption. Isn’t that the case throughout the world and historically?!

Corn is also grown here. There are 200 varieties of corn. Inca golden berry is what we call the gooseberry.

Peruvian black whiskey won a contest in NYC and is considered the best whiskey in the world.

Paracas National Reserve

We arrived in Paracas which means sand storm. We are encouraged to eat fresh seafood. Our guide explains typical Peruvian dishes. Peruvian food is getting very popular throughout the world.

It’s time to go on a tour.

These people were renting motorcycles and this stray dog decided to go along and jumped right on.

We drove through the massive nature reserve. The ride was bumpy. Our guide was very passionate about the reserve and translated that excitement to us even when we didn’t speak the same language.

Birds that we see are Peruvian boobies, American red head vultures, guano cormorants, Inca terns, and the elusive black oyster catcher.

Peruvian boobies. Hang on sloopy!!
Black oyster catcher. Birders come to Peru just to get a glimpse of this rare bird.
Gray Gull. I see lots of Herring gulls and Laughing gulls at Virginia Beach but they are mostly white.

The islands are not formed by volcanos but rather by earthquakes. Often land will fall down and leave a cliff. Birds live on these islands. Guano covers these islands and was removed by the English for highly prized fertilizer.

And look what I found here. A one of a kind Muy Guapo.
Barnacles are also living here. Whenever you see a hole on a rock on the seashore, it was made by a barnacle.
When the sun hit these cliffs, it reminded me of the white cliffs of Dover.
Red cliffs with two guano cormorants standing by. Volcanic rock contains iron oxide which produces seed color.

We saw so many dead cormorants and sea lions washed up on the shore. When we inquired to guide Angel, he said that the rough waves smashed them against the rocks. A word of warning to humans who don’t swim as well as these guys!!!

Fun Fact: Peninsula is a Latin word that means almost an island.

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