Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Bit more on Peru

When we flew in over Lima, my heart sank. It was awful. All along the coast was desert: dry, dusty and ugly. The city of Lima was horrible. "What have I let myself in for?" I thought. "Why did I say yes to Peru when I really wanted to go to Nepal?"

The driving was utterly unbelievable. Even in Italy I haven't see such driving! The only reason there aren't more accidents is that the traffic moves fairly slowly because of the crush of cars, buses and angry pedestrians. The Peruvians prefer to drive on the right but quite happily drive on the left to avoid potholes, or drive on the pavement if it looks as though it might be quicker. No one takes any notice at all of traffic lights or roundabouts. There seems to be a constant war between cars and pedestrians with about equal casualties on each side.

My favourite advertisment.

After we left Lima to start our trekking, everything changed. The high Andes are beautiful and the bird life, the flowers and shrubs are fantastic.

We saw and identified enough birds to make Maalie's eyes water! Here are some of them:

This little chap is a Rufous Collared Sparrow. I spent quite a while watching him while in the ruins of Machu Picchu. He was very friendly and hopped about unconcerned that I was experimenting with my new camera. Machu Picchu and our trek were fabulous and deserves a whole posting. I am trying to sort the photos out and it is taking such a long time as I keep popping off to visit friends and relations. However, to be going on with:

We also spent time in Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigatable lake in the world. We went to see the floating islands. These were originally made when the Peruvian Indians fled from one of the many invading armies. The islands are totally made of reeds and last about fifty years before having to be re-built.

We saw this sad little Night Heron looking very forlorn.

They capture the poor little buggers and then when food gets a bit tight, they eat them. They are known as 'water chicken'. They also had a couple of Neotropic Cormorants. These are never eaten, but used as medicine. They take some of the cormorant's blood, mix it with wine and use it as a cure for epilepsy.

The most spectacular bird was the Andean Condor.

We saw these very early one morning in the Colca Canyon. They were huge, in fact the world's largest flying animal. They eat carcasses, and actually have trouble taking off again after a hefty meal. These massive birds glide about on the thermals and seem quite curious about the people watching them.

OK, I know these aren't wild birds, but I liked the way they came down to the swimming pool for a quick dip.

And this is the randy cock that was giving all the hassle to the hen in my last posting.


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Wonderful pictures - I am so very glad to have some new ones with all that gadabout you are doing! I love the one of the village that looks like it was carved into the mountain! What a wonderful adventure!

Yes, the puppy does look like a toy or a small stuffed animal, doesn't he? I shall take some real pictures when we actually get him home - hopefully this weekend!

Ann said...

Lovely pics. Lovely Water-Chicken, mmmmmm yummy. x

The Lone Beader said...

You adventurer, you! Did you tour any old temples like Indiana Jones did?? And, if so, did you find any crystal skulls?? ;)

tut-tut said...

The little heron seems to have been banded; is that a red marker around his leg?

lorenzothellama said...

Tut Tut: Yes, it was caught and attached by it's leg. It did have room to wander about, but the poor mite looked so unhappy. I didn't get too close to it as I didn't want to upset it further, so I doctored the picture afterwards!

lorenzothellama said...

Beady: We went to so many Inca sites we became somewhat
'Inca'd-out'. They were amazing though. The stonework was unbelievable.

M.KATE said...

just wonderful pictures and post, tks for sharing :)

Elizabeth said...

I have been looking at your blog with great interest.
Some friends of ours, an English doctor and his Peruvian wife, live just outside Lima - but we haven't managed to visit them yet.
I love your pictures of Llamas - and the spotty pig.
Some super birds too.......

Barbara said...

What a wonderful trip you have had and great photos.
Great photos of the Llamas too.

Ju's little sister said...

Oh Llama, how have missed you

Ted M. Gossard said...

Lovely pics and interesting. I'll probbaly never make it to Peru, but it sure is nice that you can trek so much over the world. And give us a sense of what it's like.

Knew you'd be interested in these pics, Lorenzo.

Maalie said...

Hey, I saw Rufous-collared Sparrow in Argentina! They must be pretty ubiquitous in South America. Sounds like you had a GREAT TIME!

CrazyCath said...

Fantastic record of your adventures! It looks like a fascinating country. The history and the scenery - and the birds! That condor is magnificent.

NaNcY said...

i am sorry that you are having a hard time. it is a bittersweet relationship we have with our children. i have worried about mine so much at times.

just in case you are still thinking about reading along...the book is easy, and we will be going slow. and it will be a bit befor we start, as books have to be ordered.

NaNcY said...

i hope that the operation was successful and that she will be getting better. i am glad that her husband is there for her.

i hope that you have a good trip getting there to see her.