Thursday, February 26, 2009
I will not be putting more time into the blog and I don´t know if I will continue to blog after the teardown.
Can I hear a little protesting in the comments? It might make me feel a bit less dejected.
Thanks for reading.
Monday, February 23, 2009
They were so cute and I had a really great time. I went to Mundo Alpaca, (Alpaca World). For more information be sure to check out their website www.mundoalpaca.com.pe. Mundo Alpaca is an eco-tourist facility designed to educate people and give the history of the Michell Company, The Finest Peruvian Alpaca. At the time, I wasn´t really interested in what they were selling, I was hanging out with these guys:
I got to go in the Alpaca pen and feed them Peruvian Alfalfa. Peruvians are very "snotty" when it comes to Alpaca fiber. Alpacas in South America eat Ichu and live at certain altitudes. They don´t have these resources in America or the rest of the world, therefore, South American Alpaca fleece is superior. Perhaps...perhaps they are just a tad possessive of their Andean Gold, and rightfully so.
I am feeding a Mom and her Baby Suri Alpaca. See...
They were so soft and really friendly. The Moms were a bit on the shy side because of the little ones. It was sorta funny too, just touching the Mom and then the Baby it was easy to feel the difference between Alpaca and Baby Alpaca. Baby doesn´t necessarily mean that the fiber came from a baby though. It is just the the classification used. For the South American Camelids here are the fibers from worst to best (if you can call that worst). Llama, Alpaca, Baby Alpaca, Royal Alpaca, Guanaco, and Vicuña. Vicuña is considered the softest fiber in the world. When I touch it it makes me think of what I thought a cloud felt like when I was a kid. (Don´t tell Peruvians about Musk Ox, they don´t wanna hear it).
They were really hungry.
Vicuñas and Guanacos do not live in captivity. They are not domesticated and do not live well except in the wild. For that reason Vicuñas nearly became extinct in the 1960´s. People hunted them for their fiber because they couldn´t be kept in captivity. Now, every few years the herds of Vicuña are penned for a small amount of time, sheared and relased. Their population is doing much better. There is only one kind of Vicuña as far as I know and one type of Guanaco. However, Guanacos will breed with Llamas and then you get Ccara. This type of Llama is more camel like, has short hair, and apparently loves the camera.
Llamas also have a long haired variety that is "normal." Chaku is the name of this "normal" Llama most people are used to seeing. There are also developments to breed Llamas with Suri Alpacas for very long-haired Llamas. I don´t know if these chimera of sorts have the ability to breed themselves. Up next we have the Alpacas. The Huacayo is the most common Alpaca. It has fluffy hair and a lot of color variety. This little guy is Huacayo.
The other Alpaca breed is the Suri. It has hair that looks like a mop or dreadlocks. It is less common and in my opinion softer. This Mom and Baby are both Suri.
There were a few new families at Mundo Alpaca. This is a Huacayo family. And the dark brown butt you can see is a Suri Llama. She wasn´t interested in me.
Mundo has a lot to offer. Llamas and Alpacas to pet was my favorite part though. There was also an area with fiber sorting taking place. South American Camelid fiber is still sorted by hand. The techniques used are handed down from generation to generation and cannot be mechanized. Artisanal weaving is another area of Mundo Alpaca. I really liked this area too. Traditional costumes, ancient techniques, all natural dyes. It was cool stuff and I will have to go get more than just Alpaca pictures next time. I loved the Machinery Museum too. Old machines...same process. The textile industry has great innovations, but very few changes. The Sol Alpaca flagship store and Michell yarn store is located here too. Gorgeous clothing. Amazing yarns. I was in heaven. I cannot wait to meet some of the designers. I also paid $3 for 200 meters of Baby Alpaca. Are you kidding me? Until we meet again Alpacas.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
They slept in archways for protection during earthquakes. Each cell is different as each family paid for the cell. Sometimes one nun lived alone and sometimes the cells were shared with family members. Each nun had 2 servants (women too poor to become nuns) and up to 4 slaves. This is one kitchen ajoining a cell. It still smells like ash.
The religious artifacts here a kinda morbid. Illiteracy was high, so art and sculpture were used for education and conversion. That is why images of Jesus are more "in your face" then in American and European traditions. This is one Jesus sculpture I saw. His hair was real human hair, he had a "baby teeth" in his mouth, and nails from corpses all to appear more real. There are also mirrors in his mouth to look like salivation. All of the Jesus sculptures in the Convent were crying and pouring blood.The Convent is "A City Within a City" and it is very true. There are several roads and for the most part it was pretty self sufficent. Nuns still live there to this day. I liked the laundry area.
The water flows down the irrigation channel, if you dam the water with your hand it flows into those huge, broken clay jars and the laundry can be washed. Slaves and servants did this work. Also, recognize this?It´s lantana, an annual flower in America. Here it is in Perú.
It is a tree here! There is also a Dome and Nave.You could walk almost to the top of the nave a look out over the whole city. This is Arequipa.
I really enjoyed all the architecture in the Convent.
That was my tour. Next up, a tour of the city hopefully. Chau.
Monday, February 2, 2009
I was on airplanes FOREVER! And I hate landing, it hurts my ears. It really is sort of like being on a bus. Someone gave me that comparison and it is very true. Sunsets above the clouds are really pretty and I am bummed my camera battery wasn´t charged. I flew from Milwaukee to Washington D.C. for a little over 1 hour, D.C. to Houston, Texas for a little over 3 hours, Houston to Lima Perú for 10 HOURS! and then Lima to Arequipa, Perú for almost 2 hours. Too long. Who knew airplane food is really good though? Seriously, maybe only vegan meals, because that is what they gave me, but Sunflower Bakery (http://www.sunflourbakery.net/) has some awesome chocolate chip cookies.
Then once you get off the airplane everything takes forever. Deplaning, customs, finding your luggage. My suitcase strap was broken too. Instead of being able to pull it on wheels I had to carry it. I don´t feel too bad though. I broke the headset on the flight from Houston to Lima. The headset plugs into the armrest. I fell asleep and the girl next to me needed to go the the bathroom. I just stood up. I forgot the headset was in my ears. I had the plastic piece, but the metal prongs were still in the armrest. I guess Continental and I are even. I at least said I was sorry to the attendant though.
Here is Arequipa´s relationship within Perú:
Isn´t it cool I can add accent marks to words and what not. They have extra keys on South American keyboards. I don´t know what all the lines on that map mean, it was just the best one I found via Google Images.
Most people know some English and they ask my lots of questions about America. How many names do I have? How many languages do I speak? Where all in the world have I already gone? My favorite question is: How was your sweet 16 party? I totally didn´t understand why they would ask that until someone explained that they like to watch MTV here including "My Super Sweet Sixteen." People here thought most Americans were like that. No wonder people think Americans are crazy when that is all they see. It would be like my judging Spanish speakers based on the Telemundo soap operas.
I leave you with one of my new favorite things I found in Perú. Inca Kola.
It is my new favorite soda. Coke is to America, what Inca Kola is to Peru. I really like it. I will hopefully be able to show pictures I have taken once I figure out where the USB port is.