Sunday, September 26, 2010

Senior Missionaries Take Lima

Kay and Jack Beals, Area Secretary and executive secretary, asked me if I would have a free Saturday to take the senior couples on a guided tour of Old Lima. Of course! Five of the seven Area office couples were able to join us. These couples represent the states of Atlanta, Utah, Washington, and California. The two couples not with us are from New Mexico and Nevada.

Graciela arranged for a van and driver to take us downtown and return for us later in the afternoon. We are standing in front of the gardens of the beautiful cloistered gardens of the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, the order of the Dominicans.

On our way to the Dominican Cathedral, we visited the original post office to see the Chatsqui, the Inca pre-runner to the Pony Express of North America. We had some fun with the photo shoots.

Barbra Brasher, the Area psychologist, received four phone calls while we were touring. We are on the Plaza de Armas with the Government Palace in the background.

Kathryn and Bruce Ghent are are cousins of sorts. Kathryn is the sister of our cousin Tim Hess's wife, Suzanne. They are standing on the steps of the Basilica or Lima Cathedral, the main church of Lima. It was originally built in 1551 of mangrove wood. In 1604 the first half of the church was completed after some problems which halted the work. In 1662 it was completed. In 1746 a great earthquake demolished the cathedral. The great towers fell onto the vaulted roof. Then, in 1751, the reconstruction began. The building is made of cedar wood covered with plaster.
The changing of the guard at the Governor's Palace was a spectacle of marching soldiers, horses, and a marching band. However, after all the pomp and circumstance, we did not see the actual changing of the guards who stand stiffly at each side of the front door for hours at a time. We imagine the changing of the guard is just a show and at some hour the guards simply are relieved by another crew.

The band performed a fairly lengthy, formal concert inside the gates before exiting onto the street in front of the palace.

Security was tight. The officer to the right was one of several who stood behind shields. Some were heavily armed and cradled their machinery. It was a little intimidating.

Pizarro chose this site for his home in 1586. He claimed Lima for the Spanish Crown in 1535 and by 1600 his home was completed. The guide book says the home underwent several changes over the next 300 years until 1938 when this building was unveiled. Also, Pizarro had looked at other settlements for the seat of government, but he settled on the land near the Rimac River because of the access to the river and the sea for getting provisions into Lima and for getting the gold and silver he and his men sacked from the Inca temples out of Peru.

This horse guard was strictly for "border patrol." At the end of the show, they did an about face and followed the parade of horsemen, band and soldiers.

These men on horses were part of parade ceremonies inside the gates. Everyday at noon, the changing of the guard takes place but the program varies. We believe we had the full spectacle according to those who have come on a weekday.

This pulpit is is made of thousands of pieces of hand-carved wood. The pulpit is in the room where the first university of the Americas was founded in the mid 1500s, the College of St. Thomas Acquinas. The guidebook mentions that the two side chapels have withstood several devastating earthquakes to make this cathedral the oldest of the three major cathedrals in Lima. Dad and I think it is the most beautiful.

I took this picture from the cloisters of the convent and looking across to the cloisters of the College of Saint Thomas Aquinas and the interior patio. The pink stucco tower is in the background. The balconies are made of cedar wood.

This young boy, a son of the custodian, was quite taken with us. He watched us quite intently as our English speaking guide told us about the importance of this chapel, the room where the first university of the Americas was founded and the chapel of St. Martin de Porres, a saint recognized for miracles attributed to him.

The convent library, the bibleoteca, could have been the inspiration for some of the scenes from Harry Potter.The ornately carved, dark wood interiors, the book cases, the choir loft and choir stand, are really beautiful.

Only the priests and students of theology are allowed in this room. I took the picture through the glass in the door. Look at the choir stand and choir book. The notes are in the Gregorian chant style and are large enough for the whole choir to read.

This is another view of the cloisters and interior garden. A picture cannot capture the beauty of the roses and sculpted garden beds.

The walls of the cloisters are decorated with blue and yellow tiles from Seville and date to 1602.

This is another view of the interior garden.

Dad and I are standing in front of the catacombs or the crypt that holds all the bones of those buried beneath the church. Notice the tiles on the crypt. The tiles and floor are original to the 16th Century building.

This final picture is a close up of the tiles. Above the tiles are 16th Century paintings of religious figures, stories from the Bible, and scenes from religious history.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

From Lima's Plaza de Armas to Parque de Aguas

After months of planning and looking forward to the their trip to Peru, the Jeffries Family arrived at midnite August 5th, 2010, looking quite good after nearly twenty four hours traveling from their home in Oregon. They were originally going to come in March during the Oregon schools spring break, but the heavy rains in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu forced the closure of the roads between Cusco and Aguas Calientes. In fact, the railroad tracks were washed out in several places. Tourists stranded on Machu Picchu had to be air lifted off the mountain by helicopter. Some homes and hotels in Aguas Calientes, the town beneath Machu Picchu, were washed away or damaged beyond repair. In the meantime we changed from one tourist agency to a local one in Cusco, recommended to us by the president of the Lima Central Mission. He had his wife traveled to Cusco and the towns nearby every six weeks to visit their missionaries. They were invaluable guides for our really successful adventure with the Jeffries.

Grandma is in heaven right now. There is nothing quite like being surrounded by grandchildren she has missed for a year. Grandpa was home sleeping after a really hard and long day. He surprised us though. As we entered the apartment building, he welcomed everyone with a big hug. Everyone settled in well for a good night's sleep which was a good thing because we were on the road bright and early in the morning for a tour of Lima.
Our first stop was the CCM and the office building so Margaret and Ted and the Kids could see where Grandpa and Grandma spend their days doing missionary work. The kids loved the CCM campus. We ate lunch together--full Peruvian fare-- at the invitation of President and Hna. Whetten. The missionaries enjoyed seeing children and some introduced themselves to Margaret and Ted.

During the 45-minute van ride to Old Lima, the kids struggled to share head space for quick naps. In fact, Kate slept every time we rode from one site to another.

Our first stop was the original Inca wall built by the Spanish to protect their private lands. The wall is not far from the Governor's Palace which was the private home of the Spanish governor beginning in the mid 1500s when the Spanish conquered and subjugated the Inca. Peru didn't gain its independence until the late 1800s.

These dwellings date to the 1400s. They were excavated and preserved only in the past 20 years.
Graciela, our friend and driver, is between Margaret and Kate. Kate and her daughter are the same age and Graciela really enjoyed being with Kate.

The brightly colored building was a pod built for evening concerts. While we were there, a band was practicing. It wasn't exactly Andean music. There was so much to see here--ancient dwellings, the wall, an aqua duct, a large plaza to run on, a cafeteria where we bought drinks and ice cream and sat for a short rest before walking back to the Main Square or Plaza de Armas.

Our first stop was Cathedral San Francisco where the catacombs are. Twenty-nine thousand people are buried beneath this cathedral, many victims of the Inquisition. The elite Spanish are buried in a vault beneath the altar. The bones are laid out quite artfully. Spencer and Kate thought that was so great--Emma...not so much. I am not a big fan of the Catacombs either, but it's still an exhibit and experience not to miss.

This cathedral is really beautiful. The library is a scene out of Harry Potter. The altar and choir loft is made of ornately carved dark wood. The altar piece is covered silver and gold. The cathedral is an art museum displaying several 15th Century religious paintings of the apostles.

Remember the feed the birds scene in Mary Poppins? The kids loved chasing the pigeons who are great beggars.

In all our trips to Old Lima we have never seen these massive, studded doors open. It may be that the only entrance to the cathedral is through the side door. We are just a few of the people who hang out on these steps every day. The first time we came here there were beggars, but we didn't meet any on this day. Maybe they are finally kept out of the cathedral plaza.

What a day we had! It was unusually warm and sunny for a winter day. Lima couldn't have looked prettier. Ted said the guide book panned Lima and suggested the tourist get out of town and get to the really beautiful cities like Cusco and Arequipa. His feeling was Lima was worth the two days they had in the city if not more. The (Arch) Bishop's Palace (on the left) and the Basilica or the mother church are in the background. When the Pope comes to Lima he speaks from the center balcony of the Bishop's Palace.

This is a view from the Basilica across the square to the southwest. These buildings are all government or business buildings. The color is maracuya, the Peruvian national fruit.

We were just hanging out on the square. The Main Square is surrounded by the beautiful Colonial style government buildings which date to the 18th and 19th Centuries.
This picture is looking directly south. Margaret and Ted said they believe the Lima Plaza de Armas is more beautiful than the Santiago Plaza de Armas. It certainly is more colorful. The Plazas de Armas are about the same age--16th Century. Both were gifted their fountains by France. The difference is the carved stone walkways, the colorful buildings with the papal balconies and the colonaded archways and walkways. The Santiago Plaza de Armas is grand and stately with great almost glistening white or sandstone buildings surrounding the square. Also on Saturdays it's an artists' colony and we loved walking among all the artists who painted or sculped on the square.

Isn't Emma beautiful! She is as beautiful inside as outside. We had such a grand time together.

This walking street goes for three blocks. There are restaurants, sidewalk cafes, steet vendors, pantomimes--an adventure in a short walk.

From across the square with the walking street behind us, we are looking back at the Basilica. We decided to pay the 10 soles and go in to see the basilica which is absolutely vacuous. It's huge, dark, but very interesting and has a unique beauty in spite of the darkness and coldness. There are several small chapels on the sides. Last Christmas I took a picture of a bigger-than-life sized nativity.

If we had had more time, we would have taken the buggy ride. Tourists can also take a red London style double decker bus called the Mirebus translated look bus.
In the evening we went to the Parque de Aguas, a beautiful park with many fountains. The fountain behind Emma, Spencer, and Kate sends up a plume of water, Old Faithful style, changes colors, and sends its mist out into the crowd. Dad joined us here after finishing his North and West Missions clinic.
This is just one of its colorful cycles.

How fun is this! Not only do the waters form a tunnel, but they change colors together and individually. You cannot help but get a little wet.

This cathedral, just outside the park, is in the French style. The blue color reminds us of Wedgewood China.

Look closely. Not only are the kids in the middle of this fun pulsing water fountain, but Ted is there between Spencer and Emma. He is such a fun dad! We were thinking (Dad and I) that we would probably have said, "It's night! You'll get wet. It's winter--blah blah blah" Emma, Spencer, and Kate are blessed to have fun parents! The kids loved the park.

Well, there are the Jeffries, right in the middle. Who would have taken the picture if Dad and I had been in there with them?

The kids had to dodge these little squirts of water to get to the center. It's amazing they weren't soaked. They weren't...just a little damp.

This picture is particularly picturesque with a cathedral in the background.

Margaret and I tried to take this picture three times. The light behind us was just too bright, but it's a good picture nevertheless.

Graciela took this family picture. It does document that we were there--an an interesting study in color and form.
Spencer said, "Well, now I have seen everything. I saw two grown ups fighting and now I see these two lovers."

This fountain is at the entrance. It really is grand--white on white.

This picture doesn't do justice to the real condition of the truck which looked as if it had been in a demolition derby. They were barely chugging--the car actually had a chugging sound. Three guys were in the truck maybe returning from a job. We got a good laugh. Not far up the road, the truck passed us when our lane was at a stand still. Funny!