I am back in Lima. I left Portland, ME at noontime on Tuesday, February 19 and arrived in Lima, at 5:30 AM on Wednesday, February 20th. It was a long day of flying, but I am pleased to say that the “flight gods” were smiling on me. I made all my connections easily. I guess we paid our “dues” on our flight to the states!!! It is good to be back, but I fear that my Spanish has gone downhill after a month of being away.
Our friends, Alan and Mary, are here. Alan works for AMEC out of the Santiago, Chile office. Mary accompanied him here while he does some work on the project. It was so wonderful to see her again!
Last Sunday, the four of us went on a day trip to Cieneguilla which is northeast of Lima and in the mountains. One nice thing about Cieneguilla is the sun always shines there. It is a favorite place for the people of Lima to escape from the constant overcast weather of winter.
Cieneguilla is where my driver and good friend, Jose Luis, grew up. He was our driver on Sunday. Unfortunately, we experienced our first Peruvian accident. Jose Luis was passing a group of cars, in his brand new 2008 Volkswagen Passat, when one of the cars pulled out. The driver admitted that he didn’t look before he pulled out. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured and despite the sound of the impact, there was minor damage to Jose Luis’ car. The other car had to be towed. We were able to continue on our trip.
Cieneguilla has the Lurin River running through it. The area around the river is very green and lush. However, the surrounding mountains are sand and barren. There are many “resorts” in the area. These resorts have restaurants, playgrounds for children, offer horseback riding and most, have a swimming pool. It is where you go to spend a pleasant afternoon. I believe that there is only one hotel in the area.
We ate lunch at the Mesa de la Piedra (Table of Stone) Resort. It was a nice place with tables that looked like they were out of the Flintstones! After lunch, we walked around a little.
We walked by the river and over the bridge to the other side. My gosh, the bridge was dangerous…I should have taken a picture! It was slabs of concrete, like a regular bridge but it was cracked and slopping at an angle. Plus, there were no rails, only pieces of rebar sticking up, so if you lost your balance, you could get impaled.
The river reminded me of my days in the Dominican Republic…years and years ago. It was such a vital source for Jarabacoa, the community I lived in. Women would wash clothes, children would play in it. One of our favorite pastimes at the school was to go tubing in the river. We would have these big old inner tubes and float down the river. Then, we would picnic and go for a swim. There were people at the Lurin River in Cieneguilla. Children were playing in the water, bathing and washing their hair. Other people were wading in the water trying to keep cool.
We visited some wonderful ruins, Huaycan de Cieneguilla. We were told that they are from the 1400s. So, it is possibly from the Ichmay period or the early Inca period. The ruins were interesting. Some of the walls had designs stamped into them. Lying on the ground were pieces of broken pottery from that period. Very, very tempting to take a piece, but like Mary said, if everyone just took one piece, there wouldn’t be any to look at!!!
Despite the accident, it was a nice to get away for a day.