Let’s travel the blue.
Viajemos el azul.
Let’s travel the blue.
Viajemos el azul.
The sky is so close… I feel like I could touch it with my hands…
El cielo se siente tan cercano… como si pudiera tocarlo con mis manos…
Ichu, the yellow grass (except in Summers when it’s green) of the Andean Plateau… The weather can change, the water can be absent for months. But it will survive. It’s not stubborness but nature.
Ichu, el pastizal amarillo (excepto en verano cuando es verde) del altiplano… El clima puede cambiar, el agua escacear por meses. Pero sobervivirá, no por terquedad sino por naturaleza.
I ended to read “Did You Read That Review?: A Compilation of Amazon’s Funniest Reviews”, you can found it here. Navigating the internet I read comments by internet trolls, the usual stuff, so one guy wrote that instead of deleting them moderators should just grouping them as Amazon did and sell them as a book. I couldn’t believe that could exists because I love to read comments and reviews, and if they are smart much more; one of my favorites Borges’ tales and fictional essays are those that are reviews of fictional books, as “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” So I purchased the Kindle copy as just 1.49 bucks and I ended enjoying it a lot XD. Also I had read a lot of history and serious books so to balance (in my culture balance and symmetries are important) I needed something light. There are quite funny reviews as deep analysis of movies with Shaquille O’Neal, music by Hulk Hogan; reviews of watches and pens that cost thousands and thousands of dollars and articles like bananas slicers (haha, banana is one of the words in English I found so funny!!! How can you say it without laughing!?) And so on. I’ll do as usual my serious review, this time it will be a “review of reviews” XD
A spyware called Google
Speaking about Amazon, today I deleted every app in my tablet downloaded with the Google Play market and replaced by the same downloading it from the Amazon Appstore for Android. Every month it’s just harder to use Android because Google wants me to join Google Plus, and I don’t want anything if it’s forced to me. Before I used to comment actively reviewing my apps or commenting in Youtube, but that ended when they forced to have a Google plus account, I’m not against google but against force you to don’t have options and just do what they want you to do. Today I wanted to play some game but I couldn’t because there was an advice with a stuff similar to “this game needs google play games” and after that “you can have more advantages having a google plus account” and after several messages interrupting me that was the moment when the volcano of my head erupted in a lava of irritation so I just deleted them. Now to me Google is simply a spyware hard to get rid off my devices. If you have the same issues as me I suggest you to use Amazon, they don’t have the same number of apps for your android but at least you aren’t going to feel the heavy pressure of the hands of Google around your throat in search of get your data to share it in a world were some people lives to hurt you using that data.
First spring day
In the last story today starts the spring. It was a quite hot day! My time to eat ice-creams ended so know starts my season for hot teas and chocolates.
Juliaca is my city, the place where I born and the place that define part of who I am. I want to dedicate this post to my friend Dan in the far Romania for whom I hope this can show a bit of what probably is an exotic city even in Peru.
Our city is at 3825 meters above sea level (12,549 ft.) in the Andean plateau, in a region near Bolivia and the old lake Titicaca. Among the several civilizations coming from the deserts of the coast, the highlands and the jungles the main and more numerous are the Aymara (my group), the Quechua and the Westerners from the coast. If I had to abstract the city it could have the following parts.
Can you see the almost triangular hill? That’s the Apu (sacred hill) Huaynarroque. This is the heart of the city for at least three thousand years. Probably the name was originally Xullaca or Hullaqa with the meaning now long time ago forgotten. We were a city usually under the domain of several Empires and Kingdoms, first Uros civilizations, after that Aymaras Empires, Kingdoms of Collas and Lupaqas, the Inca Empire, after that the invasion of Spain that couldn’t erase us, after the independence we still grew and with the arrive of the train the city recovered the richness of old times with trade.
But the connection across those ages always was and is the Apu Huaynarroque, the sacred hill with two peaks because the unity has inside symmetries, one, two, three, until seven symmetries…
With Spaniards came the Roman church, with their figures of a Christ with blood and suffering, their divinities saying that the guilt is genetic and the pleasure is forbidden until the afterlife. So different to our religions where life is enjoyed and we say thanks to the Earth and to Sky and everything is connected and we are made to be happy. So Spaniards imposed a big cross in the top of our Apu and centuries after when Spaniards were just in History books their descendants made a sculpture of Christ, a big one in the top of the sacred hill.
I went there several times, once per week, but not for the sculpture but because the hill. There are always two or three persons praying. I go because the sky looks even closer to us.
The shadow over the city…
Being the most sacred place this is where the most important parties for our civilizations always occurs. Our muted colors are dressed with intense colors. But my favorite ones are the colors of sky at dusk.
Everybody in Juliaca works trading because we are connected with the coast the jungle and near countries, so people sells hundreds of varieties of potatos, corn, exotic fruits and animals from the jungle, fish from the lake Titicaca and the sea, fine clothes from Bolivia and made in the old cities, laptops, photographic cameras and products from the black market that are impossible to get even in the capital. Sadly there is this side of the illegal trading too, in part because the State (except the tax office that is the only efficient organism) is a distant rumor: we are not only in the geographic frontier but in a social frontier. Everything works like in a parallel side without government.
In the streets and public parties there are always people selling food:
Trucks stop in middle of their long travels to sell fruits like pineapples or in this case bricks:
And the night is illuminated by business and street sellers in extensive sectors of the city:
Since the origin of the city thousands of years ago until our modern days we always have preferred as a symbol of status products of brilliant colors, usually in our historical tricycles:
And frequently we see new ways to sell, as these news seller traveling the city:
The train is what made the explosive growth of Juliaca possible. The English engineers came and go and after them at the beginnings of Twentieth century Italians came and developed the trading of Alpaca wool, recovering something of our previous richness, according to colonial documents after the Spanish invasion some particulars could have 20, 000 heads of Alpaca livestock. The train connect us with Cusco and Arequipa, still is used by tourists but mostly for enterprises.
Also we have an international airport so our sky also is filled with the noise of planes and some times the fighters of the Air Force:
Bicycles still are widely used, specially in the corners of the city, but cars are being seen as more prestigious:
Motorbikes and modified motorcycles are gaining much popularity because the city with near a quarter of million of population is quite big for use the old tricycles:
Aguayos, they are textiles where ladies carry merchandise or babies in their back, it’s my favorite way of transport (but I’m not a baby anymore hehe) and the patterns indicate the city and region where it was woven, they are in the places of the Inca Empire but in Juliaca still you can see more than other cities:
But the pillar in our city is the tricycle, the city surrounding the Apu actually is a flat surface so they don’t require a big effort. In the beginning they were used mostly to move merchandise but they evolved so they could take passengers, I like much more to use tricycles than closed cars or mototaxis. It feels to me so free and noble to be moved with the force of a human being.
I know that it’s not the best of the photographs (I was trying instead to portrait the lady and her shadow) but it’s just an introduction to the following post in the following weeks.
A little rant
Usually to westerners (and not just the foreign visitors that need to travel to Bolivia, Cusco or Arequipa but also Peruvians from the coast) Juliaca has the fame of an ugly city. Actually it’s not a touristic city, we are forgotten by the governments because we are seen as wild natives, and a big percentage of population came recently from the countryside without knowing that the city is different creature to their communities in the nature (for example they drop garbage to the street thinking it as an “outside”), so the city grew without urban planning and without professionals to educate. But there is the mistake to consider us as a kind of inferior people. With education we can reach high levels as any human on the Earth. But prejudices win and we, once a high culture with interest in genetics, continental trading, mystic philosophy and a diverse society, are considered like wild people that should be banned to another country, the city nuked and replaced by the noble and Westerner culture from the coast… while they respect and worship their robbers and dangerous people as heroes just because they are Westerners as well (in USA it could be similar perhaps to gangsta music I guess, I hear it but I don’t share the message in those songs of inevitable fate for born in a specific place)
Fortunately we don’t have two plagues:
If those two plagues had been in my city instead of a person capable to understand you dear reader I had been a young man asking you one dollar to survive with a disguise living in the worst conditions. For that reason every time when I read in internet travelers about the ugliness of our city (and I respect the right to say that because it’s the truth) I always feel the need to explain why my city, and I’m proud of it, is ugly, I’m not to alter the post to show it as a beautiful city, it’s not, but also I’m going to show that there are nice places too. And I hope to give an answer to the occasional reader that could come looking for data :-)
But until then a piece of beauty from my parents’ garden ;-)
I’m leaving this world in search of a place with you. Perhaps one in this shared dream that we call reality, perhaps one in this personal dream that we call memory. I’m not in this muted world anyway, anymore.
A final melody composed with the frozen drops of a forgotten rain made of your mementos. This road seems to have only one direction and just one end. A voracious time doesn’t forgive and turns the hours in months and the months in dust.
An infinite horizon says that if you walk someday you’re going to find the one you are looking for, but it doesn’t say you if at the end of the road the one she is waiting for is you.
Exhausting my mornings building vast prophecies, desires to have a night illuminated by your star. My eyes looking up farther and farther away a proof of you; unable to fathom the mirage of lights in this cruelty road.
Perhaps I should just close my eyes, but there is no sense: inside there is a river and its stream has the music of your laugh and its surface shaped with countless versions of the blaze in your eyes.
A world made illusion. A world made of undefined shapes. A silhouette that yell one last time a lie, “I don’t care” replies a river inside.
At the end there is only a lonely night.
(I shot the images in the Peruvian side of the highway around the lake Titicaca while traveling from a trip to Bolivia)
Lampa is an old city near my own city, in Lampa’s Province, in the heart of Puno’s region in Peru, at 3930 meters of altitude (12 893 ft.), it’s quite old but Spaniards re-founded it in 1678. This is called “The Pink City” or “The City of the Seven Wonders”… pink city for the color of the walls but to me they are more vermillion so I titled that way this article; it’s a small city so I don’t know which are those seven wonders, lol.
These photographs were took in 2007 with my first camera I was still one year away to end the university and I had the Hewlett Packard camera that my older brother gave me. So if you don’t tolerate noise I caution you to don’t continue if you care about your eyes XD
It looks empty but that’s because the population works in Juliaca and sleep there, so today it’s more a bedroom city. When Spaniards founded it the population was white, but after the Tupac Amaru’s revolution whites left the city and went to the coast.
The church is a colonial building dedicated to Saint James, sadly the complete name is “Saint James the Indian Killer”, and Spanish descendants consider us as “Indians” Of course I couldn’t adore, reverence or respect a figure meant to kill us o.O!! But the building is nice.
In fact I saw the facade analyzed by an Italian architect in a classic text at university, the arch unifying the diverse elements under it.
There is a mystery, although I think it’s more a secret, about why the tower is so far from the main body of the temple. I guess for some structural reason, but that’s just a thought.
The city hall has a copy, supposedly the only one on the world, of the Pietà of Michelangelo. That day everything was closed so I photographed from the window. I’ve seen it before when I was a kid, I liked it so much.
I found this green beauty inside the city hall. I like the idea of infinite.
This is a Venus found near Lampa, it seems we occupied it from several thousands of years ago. Our society, the native side at least, is a patriarchal-matriarchal one.
These trees are a native species that in Aymara we call “Qiñwa”, in Spanish it’s called “queñual” and in English you would call it Polylepis. I climbed them once, they’ve such a texture! :-)
And well, this was part of that afternoon. We, my parents and brothers, took a bus to come back to Juliaca city.
This is a gas station in one of the highways of Juliaca towards other cities and even countries. The landscape there is so unlimited that two people alone seems to be gods deciding destinies and lives.
I had left Ilo city and I was in the highway traveling to Tacna city. There I met a girl quite beautiful, she was traveling too, it was obvious in her eyes that are the kind you find in the coast North, like a bit oriental, I don’t know, perhaps due to the dust of the sand there. Usually I don’t talk to anybody, girls or boys I already know what cames next: a monologue about who has more wins, in case of boys to feel themselves greater than Alexander and in case of girls to know if you are enough big to be a suitable partner. So I just stay there hearing in silence. But I read in her eyes that she was a different person so I smiled her and said a clear but friendly hello. She smiled too and, like only happens with people that knows that time is a luxury you cannot spend, we went to the bed (I don’t question if sex or love) It had happened a bit of time to me, and I discovered that for her too, but years are not in vain so it was nice. We played well the game to know to the other in silence, that art to break routines and make feel to the other that still there are ways to feel it like the first time and last time. I felt quite flattered because objectively she was in that moment the most gorgeous girl in Tacna. I wanted to know her a bit more so we walked around a city that we only know lightly. She had been a baby just a few months ago and to my surprise she had one year more than me, I thought she had at least six years less. I had to know better because usually girls before to be moms usually wants dangerous boys and although I do a lot of dangerous things and have a tough life due to the construction I look like an innocent boy so, except their moms, I’m invisible to them. With moms the story is different, they can see beyond prejudices I think, she confessed me that simply she felt in my eyes that she could trust me. Among so many things I discovered she was actually from Lima, and that make me remember the last girl with I had something was from there too.
She was taking care of her amazing figure so we didn’t go to dinner; and she had to care her baby, in that moment with her sister, so I didn’t take her to try some wine, so we just drunk some energy drinks. We walked like children, laughing and talking. Despite the Saturday night with beautiful girls she drew a lot of attention, as I said I felt quite flattered. But everything has an end so I accompanied to her hotel, close to mine, and she said to me that perhaps we could have breakfast in the morning. In the moment I said yes I felt that that breakfast wouldn’t come. In the morning I tried once but I guessed that probably she was resting; moms have to care her babies day and night. After doing some shopping I traveled again.
She, like me, also travel regularly to Tacna since a few years and is amazing that we couldn’t met before due the size of the city. I wonder if some gods played with us, like pieces in a chessboard, separating us; pieces arranged to be close but never touching or really interacting. Perhaps the two ladies in the gas station al least rested that night and the next morning they were again arranging the pieces in shapes suitable for their entertainment.