Monday, February 22, 2010

Trujillo, Peru

On February 16th, 2010, we flew an hour north to Trujillo, Peru, the second largest city in Peru. There are 35 chapels (maybe more--not sure), several wards and stakes and branches and districts. The missionary work is really going well. A new temple site was purchased recently. It is a four-hour trip to Lima by car or a one-hour plane ride, so a temple will be a great blessing for the members in the area. Trujillo is right on the coast. In the morning we could smell the ocean and fish. Two huacas or sacred Inca sites are also in Trujillo. We were so busy we didn't get to see either one. One is a city within a city, a maze of walls and and rooms. We hope to get back someday. The farthest city in the mission is Jauraz, eight hours by car. There is no direct plane from Trujillo, only from Lima, so the Moras must make that drive every month to visit and interview their missionaries. It's a favorite assignment for the missionaries. We had just enough time to put our carry-on bags in the guest casita before leaving for the truly scenic, hour-long drive along the coast to Casa Grande. We went straight from the car into the chapel where the missionaries were already meeting. It was quite moving to walk into the chapel and be greeted by standing missionaries who shook our hands and gave us abrazos. We spoke first and then held a clinic for the missionaries the Moras had concerns for.

The Peru Trujillo Mission president and his wife invited us to speak to their missionaries and to hold clinics in three areas: rural Casa Grande, and two cities--Chimbote and Trujillo over three days. We also met with hospital administrators, nurses, and doctors in the two cities. President and Hna. Mora, really friends now, met our plane and took us to the mission home where we stayed in a very lovely, casita separated from the house by a covered patio. This picture was taken at their favorite pescado restaurant in Chimbote a two-hour car trip from Trujillo. They are clearly frequent customers by the way they were greeted. We ate sea bass a la plancha.

The roads in Chimbote are not paved, but the dirt is packed and even unlike the roads in Trujillo where a recent rain storm has done great damage. Their 4-wheel drive van bounced and jerked over the rutted roads of Trujillo.

Young girls had set up a volleyball game in the middle of the road. They didn't even stop the game as we navigated around them.

We have been fascinated with the mode of transporting everything from tree cuttings, mattresses, machinery, family members, and storage containers which this man seems to have loaded into his basket. He has a bicycle he can ride, but we have seen men and boys pushing their bicycles loaded so high they cannot see over the load. Others have three-wheeled motorcycles crudely fashioned. We have wondered if they operators' licenses. Our butane gas tanks and water jugs come by motorcycle either in a basket like this one or strapped onto the back of a motorcycle.

Sugar cane is grown in Trujillo and along the coast to Chimbote. It is like a green carpet to the sea on an otherwise brown landscape. We passed several trucks carrying stripped cane or cane still green.

This picture was taken from the rocky coastline of Chimbote but it could have been taken anywhere along the coast. The beaches are either rocky and not fit for sun bathing or sandy, a brown/black sand. The massive stone seawalls are quite typical in Peru and in Chile.

In the 1970s Chimbote was leveled by a massive earthquake. This fishing boat may have been a victim of that earthquake--the Moras didn't know the boat's history. It doesn't seemed rusted enough to have been so long on its side.

This is the carpet of sugar cane. The border trees are evergreens. I used the zoom to get this picture. The hills are brown and the landscape is brown, but we learned from President and Hna. Alder in Antofagasta, Chile, which has similar landscape, to notice how light plays on the brown dirt. Such a landscape has a beauty of its own. Like Antofagasta, Trujillo is a gold and copper mining area.

The ocean is across the two-lane highway to the right. These sand dunes are on the other side of the road. One wonders if the ocean actually extended to the hills hundreds of years ago. Earthquakes can change a landscape dramatically.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dinner at Mangos

This view is looking north from the restaurant Mangos in Mireflores, one of the coastal districts of Lima. The picture does not do justice to the dramatic jagged cliffs with the tall apartment buildings overlooking the ocean. This beach is not the kind of swimming beach with soft sand that we are used to in California or Oregon. The beach is rocky and access is difficult. Better swimming beaches are further south or north. However, people find accesses and park their cars on the beach. We have seen families sitting on blankets and towels on the rocks, barbeques hot, making dinner.

The Mireflores skyline is dramatic with the Marriott Mireflores Hotel and the Larco Mar Mall which isn't as close as it looks. The Larco Mar Mall is nestled into the cliffs and across the highway from the Marriott. The mall cannot be seen from the hotel. At the ground level is a beautiful park and gardens. Staircases and escalators take one down to the mall and restaurant level. The views of the coastline are really breathtaking.

We ate dinner early in the afternoon but we were there long enough to see a colorful sunset over Larco Mar because of the dense clouds. What would it be like to live so close to the coast you could take a walk every morning and evening with views like these. If Mireflores weren't 30+ minutes from the Area office and if it weren't so expensive to live there, the district would be our first choice for an apartment. The streets are wide and clean, and it's a shopper's paradise--it is probably a good thing we don't live in Mireflores.

This is the view south from Mangos which has open air seating as well as indoor tables. This is our second time to eat at Mangos. The first time was on Halloween.

Mangos sits on a cliff that juts out over the coast highway. We are standing on a viewing platform about 100 years away. I used the zoom for this picture.

The Chile Area psychologist (on the right) and her husband had planned a trip to Machu Picchu. Because of the flooding, they were only able to visit Cuzco, but they took a side trip to Arequipa, the city of white adobe houses. They brought us one of the two electric mattresses we had bought in Santiago . four years ago. The Chile Area doctor remembered there was an extra one. Hna. Cleverly and her husband are the office couple for the Lima Central Mission. We have become great friends. They are also friends of the psychologist and her husband--connections are a good thing.

Our dinners were just scrumptious. My salad was filled with fresh mangos, bell peppers, and whole shrimp. Dad had a white fish stuffed with crab and covered with a crab sauce. The next time we go, I am going to try the crepe-thin wraps Elder Cleverly ordered.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Once a 1771 Spanish Fort now a Peruvian Military Post

Dad climbed the narrow, winding stone steps to the top of the tower. I chose wisely to stay below and take his picture.

This warrior is an ancient one, predating the Inca. Notice the rocks--one of his weapons of war.
This round building called the Queen's House is the building with the musty, dark passages. We entered from a drawbridge over what looked like the remnant of a moat. During the final war for independence from Spain in 1887, the Peruvian army imprisoned the Spanish army here and starved them to death. We were told they resorted to cannibalism.

This is only one of many great and small cannons on the grounds. Two rooms off this corridor displayed three centuries of artillery from the Americas and Europe.

These buildings are two of the original Colonial style haciendas near the fort. Unfortunately, Callao is not a safe district to wander about, but it is quite picturesque.

The pirate was quite fascinated by us Norte Americanos. He made Steve Cordon an "ultimate pirate," eye patch and all. The pirate's bombastic and surprising entrance in the otherwise quiet room depicting centuries of warriors, their weapons and uniforms, drew screams. Notice Dad is missing. He purposely stayed in the shadows except when the pirate made us "walk the plank" or line up and report where we came from, "De donde son, ustedes?"

This picture gives a good idea of the size, the spaciousness, and the construction of the fort.
This is only one side, one small part of the fort. We walked the equivalent of a city block to the ocean side.

Do the guards at the front gate remind you of little tin soldiers? These guards were very young. The Cordons on the left were our next-door neighbors until late January. Dad and Elder Cordon served in Uruguay at the same time. The Strattons were called to serve in the Lima Temple presidency. We're on the right.

When we learned that the Chile Area psychologist and his wife had planned a trip to Cuzco before they were released, we asked them to buy an electric mattress cover for the cold, damp winter nights yet to come. They dropped it off the only airport hotel, Costa del Sol. That gave us an excuse to hire a Marquez tour guide to take us to the airport more than an hour away and to tour the quaint, Colonial Period district of Callao and the 1771 Spanish Fort which is the grandest old fort we have seen. As we were leaving the apartment, the temple missionary couple living right below us, met us on the landing and asked us if we would like to go with them and another couple to the very same place. It is so much more fun to go with a group. We dismissed the car, and went with the two couples who had hired a van and driver, a man whom one couple had known for many years.

After retrieving the mattress cover, we drove to the coast through Callao to the fort, now a tightly guarded military post. We could not wander on our own. The walls are made of blocks of stone and mortar. The cannons face the port. We were surprised to see so much activity in port: an American submarine #43, a great cargo ship leaving port, a large fishing fleet, and some pleasure boats. The two-hour guided tour took us several museum-quality rooms and through through maze-like passages with little light. One could imagine hooded monks carrying torches to find their way. One building had three floors the Spanish had fashioned so one could not be accessed from another floor, a kind of labrynth, steep, dark, and musty.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A summer's day in Old Lima

Each time we go to Old Lima with the North American missionaries who have three more weeks in the Lima CCM (Missionary Training Center), we try to see something we haven't seen before. Today we toured the Basilica, a 17th C. cathedral on the Main Square or Plaza de Armas. One of the two couples in the CCM learning Spanish went on the tour. They are going to be serving in the Urobamba Valley near Cuzco. President Whetten and Carlos who manages the affairs of the CCM also toured the cathedral while the missionaries (the smallest group of North Americans since we came five months ago) shopped at the artesania markets near the Main Square. The 17th C. bronze fountain was a gift to Lima from France. If you look closely, you can see an angel blowing a horn atop the fountain. The birds make it difficult to see the horn. We also drove along the coast. The beaches further up the coast drive were congested. We were surprised this one was not crowded. This is summer for South America and students are out of school until March.

The Elder cut his toe nails too short!