Peru! We´re not quite through!


The Bill Report


The long bus ride from Chile to Ayacucho was tempered with the knowledge that we´d have to do it again, in reverse.  But in the meantime, we stopped at Ariquipa to see a convent, in Cusco to pick up our bags, in Lima to drop off those bags, and finally to Ayacucho to meet Bill´s true love, Maribell.

The convent in Ariquipa, despite Tim´s initial misgivings, was much nicer than either of us expected.  For seven hundred years it was closed to the public and the nuns did their public transactions only through servants and barred windows.  It was set up originally by a woman who was left a rich widow, so she channelled her money into this monetary that she subsequently ran.  It became *the* monastery to send your second daughter if you were a well to do family in Peru.  The place is fabulous.  The building is made out of a locally mined rock that´s bright white, and looks a lot like limestone. Walls are painted bright colors.  There are streets and apartments with roof decks; it´s a city within the city.  The less wealthy women accepted into the nunnery became, essentially, servants.  Finally some Pope heard about the music, paintings and reading circles these nuns were having and sent some dude to clean it up.  Fast forward to the 20th century and the nunnery is having financial problems, so as a deal with the city it opens up big areas in 197- for public viewing.  If I was living in Peru in the 1600´s and Tim wasn´t around, I definitely would´ve tried to get in here. 

Then to Ayacucho, the rebel town known most recently for the terrorists it harbored in the 1990´s.  It´s history of rebellion goes back to when the Peruvians finally kicked the Spanish out of the whole of South America, on a battlefield right outside of town.  The church just down the street from Maribells´ family´s house is one of the most photographed and painted churches in Peru.  According to Bill, this is the town where all the Spanish lived that were getting rich off the Bolivian mines of Potosí.  Those Spanish were apparently feeling guilty about it, because they built a *lot* of churches, it´s known as the city with both the most churches and the most fiestas.   The first morning Tim and I woke up there, we thought we heard gunfire in the streets, when we asked the proprietress about, she said not to worry, just a fiesta. 

Bill and Maribell!  We soon met up with them, walked and chatted for a long while.  The funniest part was that when we left Bill in Ecuador, he didn´t speak much Spanish, now, well he speaks way better than us, which isin´t saying much, but is saying a lot for how effective learning a language from your sweetheart is. 

Maribell is sweet as a peach, with rosy cheeks and a big family.  She´s a school teacher outside of town for the little ones. Bill looks like he´s over the moon with all the changes that are happening in his life. We cruised around Ayacucho for a few days, met her Mom, brothers and their wives, then we headed out to the town of Quinoa (namesake of the Andean grain).  It is a cute little place in the mountains.  There are very few cars and lots of pottery.  We hired a guide to take us on horseback to see the area, that was fantastic.  For sheer beauty it rivalled our horse trip in Ecuador .  In the middle of the day, we got off the horses long enough to walk up a valley next to a stream overhung with flowers and climb up to the very top peak of the mountain we were next to.  We made an offering to the god up there (of coca leaves and candles, as always) and contributed to the shrine with a rock we brought with us from the bottom.  Yep, we purposefully hiked up a mountain with rocks in our pockets. 

Bill and Maribell came with us to Lima to see us off for the holidays and get their papers straightened out with the American Embassy.  Apparently getting all the right papers for an American to wed a Peruvian is quite a bureaucratic dance maneuver.  The last we heard, Bill had gotten the last paper he needed, all that remained was to do the deed and wed.  Bill will let us know when that happens, right Bill??  :-)

We went home for Christmas, had a grand time with my whole fam AND Tim´s whole fam that made the drive-flight down from Colorado, NJ and Seattle, so so good to see everyone for two weeks.  We got to spend Christmas morning with his two little nieces as one learned to read her name on the presents.  Some time at the beach, a keg of Guinness, some time tearing it up on wave runners and some good old fashioned cold kickin it time rounded it all out. 

So we´re back in South America, in Santiago now trying to recover from our 2 and a quarter day bus ride from Lima.  We arrived in Lima just in time to get up to the top floor of the hotel with cold beers to celebrate the new year by watching the fireworks over the city. We´re hoping to see Valparaiso before heading out to Punta Arenas for the last few months were on this continent.  

For a few more pics, and some repeats of what´s posted, see Our short Peruvian photo book

Bill & Maribell smoochin in the woods.

 One of the doorways at the convent

One of the central plazas


Us on our hike


Bill & Maribell playing dressup in her family´s clothes


The horseback riding trip


Me washin up some mango snacks