Peru, part 2 – Arequipa

Our 6:00 am flight from Lima got us into Arequipa early in the morning. Looking out of the plane window during the landing, I was struck by how much the area near the airport reminded me of Albuquerque.

Arequipa-Landing at airport – ©Deidre Adams

Arequipa is Peru’s second-largest city and is known as “La Ciudad Blanca” (the White City) because so many of the buildings are constructed from a local white volcanic rock. Snow-capped mountains and the famous El Misti volcano are visible from many points within the city.

Arequipa, Peru – ©Deidre Adams
View from the 2nd floor balcony of a restaurant on the Plaza de Armas.

When we arrived in Peru, we were told that strikes by both doctors and teachers were going on. The doctors’ strike ended a few days after our arrival, but as far as I know, the teachers’ strike is still going on, and there was also a transportation strike in Lima this week. We witnessed a small peaceful demonstration and march in Arequipa, but our guide didn’t seem to know any details (or didn’t want to discuss it).

We saw two of the most popular attractions in Arequipa. The first was the Santa Catalina Monastery, a huge complex almost like a city within a city built in 1580. The architecture is quite interesting, and the vivid blue and red walls are a visual feast. A guided tour of the grounds provides a wealth of historical details, including the fact that most of the nuns came from wealthy families and had to pay a dowry of 2500 silver coins upon admission. But the most surprising thing to me was to learn that some of these nuns had slaves up until about 1871, when they were set free during a period of reform. There are still about 20 nuns living at Santa Catalina, only a small fraction of the number living there during its peak.

Also of interest is the Juanita mummy at the Catholic University’s Museum of Andean Sanctuaries (Museo Santuarios Andinos). “Juanita” is the name given to the girl whose frozen body was found in 1995 on a high mountain top after the eruption of a nearby volcano caused ice around her tomb to melt and her body fell out into the open. She was an Inca “princess” who at age 12-14 was sacrificed sometime  around 1440-1450 as an offering to the gods. Although it seems they have no way of knowing this for sure, the film presented at the beginning of the tour suggests that this young girl would have have felt it a great honor to be chosen for the sacrifice. PBS has some interesting details on the topic of mummies and sacrifice.

Our little friend in the last photo was living at the monastery. I’ll have more to say about him in a later post.

2017-10-15T16:15:31+00:00 October 27th, 2012|Travel|Comments Off on Peru, part 2 – Arequipa

Peru, part 1 – Lima

Lima, Peru - ©Deidre AdamsLima Cathedral, Plaza de Armas, Lima, Peru

After 11 hours of traveling (which included a 2-hour stopover in the lovely George Bush Intercontinental Airport), we arrived in Lima at about 10 pm local time. Going through immigration and customs was quite simple, although lengthy due to a large number of people arriving at the same time. We were then met by a guide holding a sign with our name on it; the first time I’ve ever seen that for myself, but  in such an unfamiliar situation and with my very limited Spanish, an extremely welcome sight.

Coming out of the airport late that night,  we got to experience Lima’s famous garua, “more than a fog, less than a rain,” a heavy mist that keeps everything slightly wet and cold, and the sky leaden. I never saw the sun once while we were there.

The next day, our guide took us on a whirlwind tour of the city. Many of the streets were blocked off for events like marathon running or some such, so we spent a lot of time in the car stuck in traffic looking for alternate routes. We finally made it to the Plaza de Armas, Lima’s original city center and the home of the Palacio de Gobierno. We arrived in time for the changing of the guards. The presence of la policia is rather overt here, but when I asked our guide if they were expecting a riot, she said go have your picture taken with them. Evidently, they have a pretty good sense of humor, at least for the tourists.

Lima police ©Deidre Adams

From there, we went on to visit the San Francisco monastery and church, famous for its catacombs containing the bones of tens of thousands of people. I was hoping to start a collection of such visits, as this would be my second after the visit to the ones in Paris (detailed here), but much to my disappointment, they do not allow photography in San Francisco.

After a lovely lunch of local delights at the Restaurant El Bolivariano, our sight-seeing concluded with a visit to The National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History. Then it was back to the hotel for an early dinner and bedtime, as we had to leave the hotel at 3:30 am to fly to Arequipa the next morning.

2017-10-15T16:15:32+00:00 October 22nd, 2012|Travel|1 Comment

Various matters

Deidre Adams – Returning to the SourceReturning to the Source, 78 x 32 inches, mixed media textile, ©2012

Yesterday I received word that my piece Tracings III (no, not the one you see here) has been accepted into Quilt National 2013. We aren’t allowed to have the work shown or published anywhere prior to the opening. There is an exception stating that you can publish it on your own site, but in these days of Pinterest, etc., that would be taking a huge risk. So I’m probably not alone in keeping it under wraps for the next 6+ months. Congratulations to all of the accepted artists!

The piece above is from Seasonal Palette, a new exhibition from SAQA featuring quilts by 37 artists, who were each chosen to express one of the seasons. The quilts are all the same size, 78 x 32 inches, which should make a beautiful exhibit when they’re all hung size by side. The exhibit will be premiering at IQF Houston on Nov. 1. There is a beautiful hard-copy catalog which will be available soon from SAQA; I’ll post the link when it becomes available.

Here are a few details from Returning:

Deidre Adams – Returning to the source detail 1
Deidre Adams – Returning to the source detail 2
Deidre Adams – Returning to the source detail 3
Details from Returning to the Source, ©2012 Deidre Adams

The final bit of news is that I’ll be leaving on Saturday for a 2-week trip to Peru. The itinerary includes Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu (of course!), y mucho más. Can’t wait!

2017-10-15T16:15:32+00:00 October 9th, 2012|Exhibitions|6 Comments