Saturday, October 16, 2010

362 days of Sunshine!

Dad and I flew to Arequipa, the beautiful city of white stone cathedrals and municipal buildings. The white stone is sillar, the lava flow from the three sleeping volcanoes which seem to watch over the city like sentinels. Centuries of eruptions have laid down quarries from which an endless supply of the glistening white stone is taken to create beautiful buildings even today. We didn't have time to tour the Plaza de Armas, the main square of 17th Century cathedrals, municipal buildings, and a famous convent which is more like a city within a city. We hope to return and have more time to tour. I asked our driver to at least drive around the main square as we were going from one hospital to another. It was a bit frustrating not to have more time. The whole trip was just 24 hours.

Our hotel reflected the whiteness of Arequipa. The hotel was almost underground--it was below street level. We descended steep white stone steps to reach the lobby. The lawns and gardens are at street level.
In between the meetings at the office and visiting the medical providers, President and Hna. Fernandez treated us (the APs, the mission nurse, and the two men who put together Dad's ideas for the new medical plan for missionaries) to a delicious seafood lunch.

Hna. Stoddard is the mission nurse (an outstanding one Dad says) and a proselyting misionera. Her mother was Dr. Lohner's nurse when Michael, Eliza, and Peter were born. She had already served a mission in Peru when I met her. You may remember pictures of Hna. Stoddard and me together when she was in the CCM, the only NA hermana in the CCM at that time.

The main volcano is Misty, pronounced "meesty." The three volcanoes are active but sleeping at the present time. The last eruption was early in the 20th Century.

Because of the gleaming white walls, we did not feel as if we were below street level. Our driver told us the sun shines 362 days a year. Imagine the beauty of sunwashed white buildings nearly every day. In Lima it seems as if there are only three days of sun a year.

This is the entrance to the restaurant which leads out to grounds on three different levels. We at dinner at 10pm, when we arrived at the hotel. The Peruvians eat dinner late--Roberto and Guido who presented the new medical plan with Dad are used to such late dinners. We had indigestion but it was one of the best trout dinners I have eaten.

The hand croched placemats were a beautiful white, again reflecting the white stone of the city.

Even the grazing llamas were white.

We ate breakfast on the lawn early in the morning which surprised us because when we arrived the night before at 10pm, it was nearly freezing. The bell boy was wearing winter clothing and a hooded parka and gloves. We were so surprised to walk out of the room and find the air at 7:30am warm and the sun bright.

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