Peru 6

The trip has had some new lows and highs.  On the 28th of October we leave Lima and head up into the Andes.  I have been waiting to see this area for the last ten years.  Or, since I read the book, "Henry Meiggs, Yankee Pizarro", written by Walt Stewart.  The book was printed in 1946, but covers the life of Henry Meiggs from 1840 to 1880.

Henry  was a very interesting individual.  He had the contract to built the "Embarcadero", in San Francisco.  He had strong engineering skills and he was excellent in motivating large numbers of workers, especially the Chinese.  As it turned out, he was not as capable in the business end of his business.  San Francisco was paying him by a voucher system, and he ended up getting upside down.  He was warned that the city was coming after him, and he left the country, and headed south.  He ended up in Peru, where the interior had limited access to the outside world.  It was thought that it was impossible to build a railroad through terrain, as steep and remote as this area of the Andes.  Henry said he could do it, and got a contract to build the railroad.  It was considered one of the "Wonders of the World", by Peruvians.  He, along with 10,000 Chinese, built the rail line.  I don't remember the exact details, but there are over 80 tunnels and 80 bridges.  The rail also does complete circles within the mountain tunnels.  It is also the highest railroad in the world, climbing just short of 16,000 feet.  I was looking forward to seeing the railroad, the mountain and the bridges.

So we leave the nice area of Lima and drive though the outlying areas.

Not attractive.

Traveling East through the Rimac Valley, we first past through the city of Chosica. 

Chosica was a place we wanted to visit, as a "Then and Now" destination.

This picture is from a book printed in 1940, entitled "South American Excursion", by Ernst Young.

The valley is described as remote.

Today Lima stretches for 18 miles to the East.

Now, Chosica is only 6 miles East of Lima.

Today it is a resort town.

This is where we first encountered the railroad, built by Henry Meiggs.
Many of the old wooden trestles have been replaced by metal bridges.
A "Lazy Susan" for rail cars.......
These mountains were the challenges that Henry Meiggs faced.
The roads in this part of Peru were excellent......
Only 150 feet short of 16,000.....

And it was a beautiful ride....

It seems strange to be in Peru, and see glaciers.

We felt like we were standing on top of the world......

I ran back from the camera, with it's 10 second delay, and was short of breath.....

The next "Then and Now", was the large mine, just over the summit.

The GPS was reading 15,575 feet at this mine.

Just putting the BMW on the center stand left me breathless.

I can't imagine what it would have been like to work in the mines at this altitude!

I was surprised at how little it had changed
To get the picture above, we had to ride into the mountains behind the shaft tower in this picture.

The mountains above the mine.  We were over 15,575 feet, and the mountains still towered above!

Then it required a short, and slow, walk to take the pictures.

We started the day in Lima, which is at sea level, so we had no time to acclimate.

At the summit we started down hill to Tarma, Peru.

It is a very dry area, but canals have been built to supply water for crops.

The indigenous do their laundry in the same canals.

It was overcast, so the photographs are not as rich in color as it appeared to the eye.
The landscape was barren and brown, contrasting with the small irrigated plots of flowers.
The homes are made of soil thereby they blend into mountain scenery.
We arrive in Tarma and find a nice room at the Los Portales Hotel .

The hotel was built in 1950 by General Odria, who was the dictator if Ecuador in the 1930's.

The church in Tarma, located on their "Plaza de Armas".

Tarma was a neat village, with children and families out for evening walks.

Close up of the fountain.
We walked across town and decided to live life on the dangerous side.

The drivers of these 3 wheel vehicles play "chicken" at every intersection!

On the 29th, we headed down into the jungles of Eastern Peru, and the village of La Merced.
It is a very strange ride.  You ride along in the mountains of the Andes, which are very barren.

Then descend through 5,000 feet and it instantly becomes tropical jungle,

It started to rain, so we waited a few minutes under this large overhang.
Another "Bridge" picture......
Sandy used her, "I am low on Potassium" excuse, to persuade me to stop at this roadside banana vendor.
Another "Bridge" pictures.....

But this one was unusual in that the entire support structure was on "One" side of the bridge...

It is amazing that anybody in Peru lives past 20 years old.

Tarma is known for their annual "Flower Petal" Festival.

Coffee grounds are used to make the dark lines.

Then the spaces are filled in with flower petals

Once completed, the designs are obliterated by a religious procession.

The designs are completed about 1 hour prior to the slow moving procession.

The designs are spaced about every 50 yards.

Approximately 30 men haul this huge litter.

They stop prior to each design, sing a song and  wave smoking incense.

Then the band, following the litter, strikes up a song, and then proceeds over the flower petals, and then on to the next.....

The total life span of the designs is less than 2 hours......
This design was just completed, and the procession is one block down the street!

The festival begins at the Church on Plaza de Armas, and ends at a church 8 blocks away.

This is where the festival began....

Click on the "Next" button to continue to "Peru 7"......

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