This is the seventh in a series of blog posts written by Elizabeth Williams, the daughter of Kathy Williams, director of communications for the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville. Elizabeth provides a fresh and witty travelogue of their trip to Peru September 29–October 13 2019.
Today was another adventurous day. We went to see some Inca ruins that are older than Manchu Picchu!! The name: Huaca Pucllana. Right in the middle of Lima city. It was built between 200-700 AD. And we got to walk on top of the pyramid!! Talk about wild. Jaqauline and Sonya accompanied us again. We’re pretty much BFFs now.
We were able to get a tour in English. However, the tour guide was not very attention grabbing and seemed to be a robot in human form. If you know me, you know history is not my strong suit. I think it is super interesting and fascinating, but it’s just like whenever someone starts talking to me about it, I zone out. It’s a problem. Especially, if they sound like a robot spewing memorized English info. No offense to our tour guide. So, I just kinda did my own thing on the tour- took photos and hung out in my own world. You know, the usual day in the life of Lizzy. I can’t really tell you anything our tour guide said. I know, I’m terrible. I got a lot of info from my Mom. Thank goodness she doesn’t have my problem of zoning out. She loves history and will literally read every plaque in a museum. She was in luck because there was a little museum to see after our tour. Another problem I have is reading history. Museums are hard for me. I have to reread something like 500 times and then even then I probably won’t remember what I just read. Y’all, it’s a real problem. Moral of the story: history and I don’t get along.
Anyways, the ruins were awesome- from what I saw, not heard. From my understanding this was a ceremonial ground. People would gather to celebrate fest days, discuss major events, and receive instructions from their political and religious leaders. Ok, yes I went back and looked at a photo I took in the museum of a paragraph explaining the ruins. See, I am terrible at history. I do remember that it was all adobe and they would sacrifice young women. Yikes. Also, since they were close to the sea they believed in a Sea God. Makes sense. They would have ceremonies where they would offer things to their God, like frogs, corn, and herbs… you know typical things like that..
The official language back then was Quechua. Sonya grew up speaking this language and can still speak it. How awesome is that?! She spoke some of it for us on Thursday. I loved listening to it. Sonya kept telling us a lot of what the guide was saying was not super valid. For instance, the tour guide was saying a certain area in the ruins was a kitchen. I told Sonya this and she was like no that’s wrong! She said the area was only used on special occasions to make certain drinks. I told her she needed to become a tour guide. She is very passionate about where she came from. She grew up in this culture of making adobe bricks. She said her family would make them and use cow poop as cement.
The tour guide also showed us some animals. She said they were Alpacas. Sonya was outraged because they were llamas!! She said this lady was bad and needed to stop lying. You go, Sonya! She told us how all the llamas were sick. She could tell by their fur and how skinny they were. She told us that they weren’t feeding them the right food and that this is not their natural habitat. They were in a small cage. In the wild they would be laying down and more relaxed. They’re also usually much larger. These llamas were skinny and small. I felt really bad for them. I wanted to open their cage and free them.
I thought it was interesting that these ancient ruins were in the middle of a city. It kind of took away from the beauty of it. The city literally built up around it. We also heard that only 17% of these ruins are real. The rest is a recreation. A little disappointing, but oh well.
I had a great time visiting the ruins. I think it’s fascinating the way these people lived and that some of it still survives to this day.
After we finished our tour we went to Kennedy Park. It’s a really pretty park in Lima named after John F. Kennedy. My mom also needed to buy some last minutes souvenirs so we popped into a store. We took a taxi back to the sisters’ house where we had a delicious lunch that was prepared by Sue. Like it was super good. I forgot what it’s called in Spanish. But it was like shredded chicken with a creamy sauce on top of potatoes, and rice on the side. They eat potatoes and rice every day. In Peru there are over 3,000 different types of potatoes. After we cleaned up, I took a much needed nap.
In the evening the associates of Callo had a meeting. My mom did the same thing with the associates in San Miguel. She took pictures and videoed their meeting. Her video camera didn’t die this time, BUTTTT half way through her videoing a message popped up on her screen and it said that her memory card ran out of storage. I starting laughing and everyone just looked at me, including my mom. I pointed at the screen and my mom had to awkwardly interrupt Sue mid-question again. Hahahaha. When she told Sue, Sue rolled her eyes. I lost it. My mom ran around frantically trying to find her other memory card. She finally found it and the interview continued. I told Mom not to worry because everyone was relaxed and calm. Everything always works out!
The meeting ended with delicious food. It was like a potato sandwich. In between the two potatoes was some type of chicken and vegetable mixture. This was followed by a type of cake that celebrates this month. As I mentioned before, the month of October, Peruvians celebrate the Señor de los Milagros. The Lord of Miracles. The color is purple and many people wear this color during this month. There is a huge parade where 30 men carry a huge statue of this image of the Lord down the streets in Lima. I wish I could see it. Apparently it is super packed and everyone throws flowers into the streets. There is a typical dessert called, turrón. It’s very good.
The meeting got over late. Like 10 pm. Then sister Yuli put on music and had us dance. Sister Yuli is from Peru. She speaks a little English. But literally everything she says or does makes me laugh. Anyways, here I was in the middle of the Sisters’ living room with three Catholic Sisters and my mom dancing to the YMCA, Mama Mia, and Dancing Queen. I could not stop laughing. I was having too much fun to take any photos.
Another great day here in Peru. Buenas noches mis amores. -Lizzy