Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Walk in the Parque Revisited

A walk in the Parque

San Isidro, the district of Lima where we go for the South and Central Missions' clinic is full of surprises. We had heard about Los Olivos, a park of olive trees over 400 years old. The park is two city blocks long and a block wide. Homes surround the park, but it is peaceful, well maintained, a peaceful place to wander, sit and read a book, take a child to watch the goldfish in a beautiful fountain, or take pictures of the magnificent olive trees.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Paracas National Reserve

First of all, I need to correct the spelling of of the Islas de Ballestas for anyone who would like to look it up on the Internet. I spelled it wrong in the title.

The Paracas National Reserve is accessible only with a tour guide. We arranged for an English speaking guide but an older Peruvian gentleman met us at our hotel. We learned his wife had gone alone to mass the day of the earthquake and died when the roof fell during the three minutes of shaking. He talked easily of her and was a delightful guide for the morning. The following pictures show the vastness of the Reserve. The tour began at the visitors' center, more like a lonely outpost, with pictures of the animals and sea life to watch for. A display of damage done to the creatures by careless visitors throwing garbage about was sobering. Looking in every direction from outside the visitors' center, we wondered if anyone became lost because there were no visible landmarks to fix on, just brown dirt, rocks, and ocean, and the visitors' center, a small, plain building. We also wondered if we were going to walk the reserve and were relieved to learn we would see be riding to the points of interest and walking short distances.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Islas de Baellestas

This boat trip was worth the four-hour drive to Pisco. Our guide picked us up at the hotel and drove us to Paracas where we caught the boat stuffed with other passengers for the two-hour tour out to and around the islands where there are colonies of penguins, seawolves (sea lions to us), pelicans, many other birds and sea life. The white covering on the rocks is the excrement which is collected for fuel.

Pisco under reconstruction

This picture shows just one of the reconstruction projects, a pedestrian street with pergolas and benches spaced every twenty feet.

Pisco and Cincha Peru after May 2008 earthquake

These pictures reflect the destruction and reconstruction of two small cities, Pisco and Cincha, four hours south of Lima, following the May 2008 earthquake. We stayed in a small hotel in Pisco a block of the main square. We were surprised to learn it is new. The old hacienda style architecture was deceiving--we thought the hotel was a renovated monastery. The rooms were simple but clean. The breakfasts were delicious--fresh breads and rolls, homemade jams, and eggs. Not many small hotels offer eggs, freshly squeezed orange juice.

There are some pictures of our boat trip to the Islas Ballestas and the Paracas National Reserve and our visit with the Pisco Stake executive secretary and the stake president at the church and also in the executive secretary's home which is also a small store. His family has a fruit farm and the stake executive secretary makes chocolates. He hopes to earn enough money in the next year to get his business license so he can sell his chocolates to grocery and specialty stores.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Christmas in Lima was very different from Christmas at home. Besides being early summer, we also missed the Christmas Eve traditional fondue dinner with the family, but we joined with the FHE group for dinner before the Christmas Eve music and readings from the scriptures, a special program for the missionaries in the MTC/CCM. After the program we ate the traditional Panetone and drank mildly spiced hot cocoa, a Peruvian tradition. On Christmas Day we joined the CCM missionaries for a trip to the Parque de Leyendas where there were many ruins and a very well maintained zoo. We also visited Costa Verde, a beach in Mireflores, because the Bolivians have never seen the ocean. Watching their reactions was worth the day. Later in the week, actually New Years Eve and New Years Day, our friends, Jack and Kay Beals, and we drove four hours south to Pisco which was leveled by an 8.2 earthquake in May 2008. The purpose of the trip was to train stake leaders how to use the online missionary applications. We also had two private sight seeing tours to the Paracas National Reserve and to Islas Ballestas, billed as a mini Galapagos Islands. The following pictures, I hope, are a record of that trip.
The week before Christmas we went to the Parque de Aguas, a beautiful, new park in Lima, where there are a dozen unique fountains, one a dancing waters fountain with colored laser lights and projected pictures and others of varying shapes and sizes. There are a few pictures of the fountains.
Happy New Year to all.