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 These were originally made when the Peruvian Indians fled from one of the many invading armies.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.