Thursday, December 09, 2010

Lynn's Travels: Peru, Day Four

As usual, I will quote the text and comment on it.

Lynn's Travels: Peru, Day Four

I had expected some of the other MMI folks to be at the Lima airport, but we were on our own.

Lynn came to Lima and spent the last 2 days being a tourist. For some reason, she has an expectation that other people will be doing the same thing. I had thought that she had stopped in Lima because Cuzco had no airport, and she had to take some other form of transportation to get there. Looking at the flights, if you were going to work in Cuzco, which is a 1 hour 15 minute flight from Lima, there is a good chance you would connect through Lima and then go straight to Cuzco. It’s just a guess, but perhaps most of the people working in Medical Ministries International would not stop off in Lima in order to be toured around for 2 days by a woman they had met by chance on a flight to Vancouver.

As we checked our bags, we were told that our plane had been delayed and we would be leaving several hours hence. This would have been fine if we hadn't noticed that there were constant flights to Cuzco, some leaving within minutes of each other.

This is an interesting question. Expedia shows me that the flights from Lima to Cuzco are all on LAN Peru airlines, and there are about 9 a day departing from 6 am to 1:35 pm. The 9:45 am and 9:50 am flights and 1:30 and 1:35 pm flights are within minutes of each other. Lynn has a point. You would think they would put her on another flight instead of making her wait, if they had the space.

We waited from 11 in the morning until well into the afternoon. The sun was going down as we landed.

The 1:35 pm flight is the last to leave and it arrives in Cuzco at 2:50 pm. This means that her plane would have to have departed after the last scheduled flight. I can't imagine going through this trouble, unless there were space issues on the flights.

We were more than ready to settle into the next hotel even though our taxi driver told us it was one of the worst ones in town!

Somehow I have the feeling this taxi driver gets a kickback from a different hotel.

The soil in this part of Peru is as red as the soil of Prince Edward Island. Here, cinderblock walls butt up to adobe. Tiny rectangular houses tumble up and over the hillsides. Some are finished, some partly done. A visual jumble of rebar, corrugated iron, cinder block, glass and stone seems to have formed on its own, creating the outskirt communities, and we wondered how real estate could be bought and sold with any kind of regulation!

To answer that question, I did an internet search on real estate in Cusco, Peru. I found this website without any trouble. Per Lynn’s description though, I see that a number of the Cusco real estate listings have an indication of “unfinished project” on them and have comments like “All property papers are complete and in accordance with government requirements, including construction permit.” It's nice to know that straight away, Lynn has presumed that the Peruvian and Cusco governments have no regulation for land management.

The Inka's Yllari Hotel is a modest 6 story building about 10 minutes by cab from the city center. Small auto repair shops on each side still bustled with activity in the dull blue glow of naked light bulbs. Some of the MMI volunteers were in the lobby and welcomed us warmly as we checked in. Our room was clean, nicely appointed and comfortable, despite the cab driver's comments - and the best accommodation I've had so far with MMI!

This is the Inka's Yllari Hotel website. The pictures of the interior make the hotel appear very nice indeed. The description on the website says it is 8 minutes from the airport and 5 minutes from the city center. Lynn is close enough. Even though she compliments the hotel, I find it amusing to notice that she was not as happy with her prior MMI arrangements.

The narrow lobby lead to heavy glass doors, out and onto a small patio. We were directed from there past a tiny kitchen down into the basement where tables and chairs had been arranged. A buffet dinner of chicken and rice, bananas and local breads was a treat after airport fare.

It’s so nice to see she isn’t concentrating on the beverage choices (or lack thereof). MMI has the word "Ministry" in it, so I expect they are not going to be serving a lot of alcohol for Lynn.

We introduced ourselves to the group of doctors, nurses, ministers, translators and others- some of whom I recognized from my last Mission in Peru. We were all glad to be settled and ready to work.

“recognized” is the word. If she knew their names, then we would get some of the usual Lynn Johnston name-dropping.

Introductions and "pep talk" over, we decided there was time to go into the city to look around. The bus we'd hired was waiting. We piled on and rode into Cuzco, chatting and getting our bearings despite dusty windows and the failing light outside.

The characteristic jumble of unfinished homes and modern buildings abruptly ends where original Inca walls still stand, forming the outer walls of the city. A mix of Spanish architecture and ancient, original stone foundations make the city center an historian's dream. "The Plaza des Armas" is characteristic of all South American towns.

All South American towns? Really Lynn? Every single town in South America.

Taken from the Spanish style, a large rectangular boulevard, often with fountains and a gazebo, is the centerpiece around which government buildings, churches, shops and military headquarters stand.

Just so the Spanish don’t get all the credit here, this is the history and back ground of Cusco’s Plaza de Armas taken from this website:

The Plaza de Armas was called ‘Huacaypata’ after its construction during the Inca Empire. The original plaza was twice the current size, and functioned as the cultural center of Inca life. Cuzco, which was the capital of the Inca Empire, was designed in the shape of a Puma to reflect their Inca animal mythology. Historians proclaim the plaza was intentionally built at the location of the heart of the Puma, in the center of the city. The location of the Plaza is no coincidence. The Plaza is used for most of the city’s events, gatherings, and festivals. Historians feel that the Plaza functioned as the cultural center, or "heart," of the Inca Empire. In 1532 Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro defeated the Inca Empire and took control of Cuzco, renaming the Plaza to "Plaza de Armas." The Spanish reduced the size of the Plaza by building two Churches, la Catedral and la Compañia. La Catedral was built where the palace of Inca Wirancocha once stood.

Now back to Lynn:

In Cuzco, these ornate and stately buildings, witness to hundreds of years of conflict and change, now house fine restaurants and tourist shops. We jumped out at the main entrance to the church, promising to be back at the bus in an hour. You can't see this place in an hour! Narrow streets lead to beautiful courtyards, ancient stone corridors take you up flights of hand hewn stairs into tiny neighborhoods where Inca walls amaze even the locals with their shape, size and engineering artistry.

Those hard-bitten and not-easily-amazed locals.

It was soon too dark to see. We let fatigue take over, joined our new friends on the church steps and waited for the bus "home". Interesting how "home" can be anywhere if you're happy!

I guess Lynn is indirectly saying she is happy. Of course, she is still doing mainly touristy kinds of things. Will her mood change once MMI puts her to work? Let's see what happens tomorrow.


Blogger DreadedCandiru2 said...

Of course it's going to change when they put her to work; there's no booze, no snackage, no shopping and all anyone does is complain. She'll HATE it.

3:46 PM  
Blogger howard said...

But at least she will have a nice room to sleep in. I thought they put the people on these trips up in tents in some remote area, judging from the pictures I used to see with Rod and Lynn, back when they did this together. I wonder how much work Lynn will actually be doing.

5:33 PM  

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