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Friday, May 26, 2023: Arequipa

We checked into an unusual room in Arequipa. It was right outside the rooftop bar. It was weird to open the door and see a group sharing a drink together.

I didn’t take a picture of them that night but I took a picture in the morning.

In Arequipa they have tremors often. Older people would say that a tremor means a change in the weather. But who can say when the weather is changing. This is a volcanic area. Perú is one of the most volcanic countries. Every time that a volcano happens, they will rebuild. We were told that being under an arch is the safest place to be during an earthquake.

Misti is the emblem of Arequipo. There is ash along the sides. Nearby there are hot springs which indicate volcanic activity.

In 1600 when Arequipa was 60 years old a major earthquake occurred. They thought that it was the end of the world. Not only was it an earthquake, but a volcano erupted 100 miles away. The skies grew dark. It affected the sun and photosynthesis. The “cloud” traveled across the world, and there was drought and famine in Russia and Korea. They didn’t know why. In fact, they didn’t even know that the new world existed. The grapes and even mining were affected.

A mountain called Potosí had so much silver that it practically melted off the mountain. Of course, tons and tons were removed from this mountain. They still mine there today, but we will never see anything like that again.

A railroad was built to transfer goods around the mountains. This was huge for commercial enterprises since before they needed to go across the mountains. There were many terrace farms which were critical to food production.

We had a cooking class today and it all started with a trip to the market.

We used these tolons to make a delicious fruit juice.
This giant corn is eaten as a meal and is very filling.
This is something that I eat often … quinoa.
Triangular bread is eaten at breakfast. Bread is only for breakfast. They eat potatoes and rice at most every meal … and sometimes they have noodles as well.
The word Charqui is a Quechua word that was taken into the English language. We spell it Jerky.

There were many more items, but these were most interesting.

Here is our group making our lunch. It was delicious.

They have bull fighting here, but it is more fun. It is more like Sumo wrestling but for bulls. Two bulls fight to push the other out of a drawn white ring. The bulls are much cared for and weigh 1.5 tons each. It started in Arequipa probably since there is a big local dairy industry.

Santa Catalina Convent

At the convent, they did not take a vow of poverty, only a vow of silence.

Once one became a nun and entered the cloister, it was not possible to leave.

Here is the room where someone could come and talk with you for one hour, and a nun stood and listened to your conversation. The wooden screens were draped with fabric.

For 2 to 4 years, a novice learned about becoming a nun. She could only bring 25 items with her. What items would you take?

They had to pay a large sum of money like a dowry to enter the convent. The convent was for the elite and rich.

The nuns were Dominicans. The last earthquake put the convent in ruins. A private company struck a deal with them. Tourism would be allowed with a part of it being set aside with modern conveniences for privacy for the nuns. Prior to the pandemic the nuns numbered, 30 but now there are only 17. Very few that remain are young.

In Peru the first born carried on the business and was given the land which kept it from being divided. The second born was given to God for religious purposes. It was quite a thing of pride for the family.

The family could bring them lovely things and build rooms complete with servants. They brought goods, etc. There were no mirrors as that would promote vanity. The most prized gift was a Jesus child which was a doll dressed elaborately.

The water in Perú has lots of minerals and needs to be filtered. This granite stone is porous and does the trick drop by drop.
This is the kitchen. Guinea pigs ran free along the floor. They ate vegetable scrap, were eaten later, and their droppings were taken to the gardens for fertilizer.
This room is reserved for wakes. Paintings along the walls are death paintings of past nuns at death.
How did they spend their time? Embroidery especially the holy garments, washing holy garments, cooking and teaching children.

Zig Zag

After a long day, we are ready to eat. We always ask our guide Kati as she has been a Peru guide for over 15 years. Her recommendations are spot on. Tonight she told us to go to Zig Zag which is excellent and one of the oldest restaurants in Arequipa.

We walked there around 6pm. We needed to eat early since we were leaving at 6 in the morning. The waitress asked if we had a reservation. We did not. She said that we could dine at Zig Zag but we needed to be gone by 7:45 since our table had a reservation. No problem.

We were ushered upstairs with a table overlooking the city in a private room and waiter.

I ordered a Peruvian virgin cocktail called Tropicana. It was as much fun to taste as it was to see.
This quinoa dish came shaped in a pyramid and decorated with avocado and mango. I am not sure why I needed a bib, but the waiter was adamant that I wear one
Rob’s steak was brought out sizzling on a hot stone, and it sizzled even more when we would cut it. Rob needed a bib!
And for dessert…a work of art!!

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