[Title Bar]



[map of Peru from the Lonely Planet]

I took a trip to Peru in August of 2002. We flew into Lima, had a 4 hour layover, from 1am till 5am, then flew to Cuzco. Spent a few days there acclimating to the altitude, and then joined a group on a four day hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

After that, we took one of the coldest damn bus rides I've ever had to Puno and spent two days on Lake Titicaca, including the floating islands of Uros as well as Taquile and Amantani (where we spent the night with a family).

Then, we took a bus through the middle of nowhere and desert to Arequipa and spent a couple days there, including the Santa Catalina Monastery, followed by Nazca and the Lines therein (sadly, none of the Lines were visible in any of the desert pictures, so none are included here).

I went to Pisco, Paracas, and the islas Ballestas (home of Humboldt penguins, sea lions, and boobies (we're talking birds here, sorry)).

Then onto to Lima, to see museums, folk music and dance, bazaars, as well as various areas around the city, like the huge Chinatown and Barranco.

Note, the above map was stolen from the Lonely Planet guidebook's site. A horrible, depressing name, but an extremely useful guidebook. Hopefully, with that endorsement, I can keep that map up, as it's one of the better ones I've found.

Here are some photo highlights of the trip.

Ricardo Trindade, a member of our Inca Trail group, has a web page with some nice pictures from the trip and trek. It even works under lynx (complete with alt tags for my sorry-ass browser and slow connection)! Check it out.


* [narrow street in Cuzco] Lots of narrow, little streets, up and down steep hills in Cuzco. And yes, cars do drive down these streets. The cars tend to be small, and the pedestrians tend to be thin.
A lot of the stone work is quite old, some dating back to Inca times. (Aug 2002)

Inca Trail

* [group photo] Right before starting the Inca Trail. (Aug 2002)

* [train] The train that goes from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu and back. (Aug 2002)

* [turkeys] Real, live turkeys, at a rest stop on the first day. They would both simultaneously make the turkey "gobble" noise. (Aug 2002)

* [Llaqtapata] Llaqtapata ("Town on the Hillside") at Km 88 along the trail is the first set of Inca ruins and agricultural terracing that we saw. This was taken from the road that starts at Km 82. (Aug 2002)

* [The first camp site] El Mirador, the first night's campsite. What's "bienveniDOG" mean, anyway? (Aug 2002)

* [At the top of Dead Woman's Pass, 4200m] After successfully reaching Warmiwañusca or Dead Woman's Pass at 4200m above sea level. (What the HELL does that sign say, and why is it pointing at my crotch? OK, looking closely it says something about 4200m, which while I appreciate the thought, I can't claim it to be accurate...) (Aug 2002)

* [The group at Dead Woman's Pass] The group at the top of Warmiwañusca or Dead Woman's Pass. It should be noted that Claus and Inga were the first of our group to reach the top, kicking the rest of our collective asses. Damn impressive. They must've been doing a lot of anaerobic exercise to prepare for this...
The group: (Standing) Claus, Neil, Nieke, Roxy, Ricardo, Tina, Swati, Mark, Chris, Vicky (Kneeling) Ingeborg, Olivia, Rew, Morna, Kristen and Frank (yes, I stole this sentence from Ricardo...thanks!). (Aug 2002)

* [Mountains at Night] A time exposure shot of the snow-capped mountains at night from our second camp site. There's fog in the valley below. It was very striking, as the mountains were practically glowing in the darkness. If you stare at the mountains long enough, you start to see faces in them. (Aug 2002)

* [Our Second Camp Site Far Below] Our second camp site on the third morning, shortly after we left on The Day of Many Stairs. (Aug 2002)

* [Roberto explains it all] Roberto describes the ruins we are about to see and helps us visualize the animals they represent. After a while, I could easily see a llama, condor, or guinea pig out of anything.
Note that Kristen (to the right) is not making fun of Roberto. Actually, I have no idea what she's doing, I might've accidentally caught her in mid-sneeze (my apologies). (Aug 2002)

* [Runturacay] Runturacay or "basketshaped building" was supposed to look like a condor. It was not a fortress or defensive position. I think more of a religous or possibly solar-oriented site. (Aug 2002)

* [Frank in the tunnel mouth] Right before lunch on the third day, we passed through a small tunnel. Roberto took our photos, as we stood at the mouth. Had I used the flash, I would've been more visible, but I kind of like the silhouette effect. (Aug 2002)

* [Trees and mountains] On the path on the third day (the Day of Many Stairs). I just liked how the tree was sort of growing out in the middle of nowhere in a Dr. Suess way. (Aug 2002)

* [Urubamba River] The Urubamba River flowing in the valley. (Aug 2002)

* [Inca Terracing at Huiñay Huayna] Inca Terracing at Huiñay Huayna. Lots of it. (Aug 2002)

* [More Inca Terracing at Huiñay Huayna] Huiñay Huayna (Aug 2002)

* [Still More Inca Terracing at Huiñay Huayna] Huiñay Huayna (Aug 2002)

* [Inti Pata] Inti Pata ("Sun Place"), near Huiñay Huayna (or Wiñya Wayna). (Aug 2002)

* [Roberto shows us one big honking rock] Roberto shows us one of (if not the) largest rocks in Inti Pata with 8 different angles in it. The photo was taken late in the day, at a slow shutter speed, which is why Roberto is blurry. The rock, however, managed to hold still while I took the picture. (Aug 2002)

Machu Picchu

* [Machu Picchu] We finally arrived at the majestic, lost city of Machu Picchu.
I felt like shit. (Aug 2002)

* [Machu Picchu] A view of the misty, mystic city of the Incas.
Someone was punching me, nonstop, in my stomach. (Aug 2002)

* [Machu Picchu] What has been described as the eigth wonder of the world.
I wanted to puke... (Aug 2002)

* [Roberto Dons His Suit of Many Cameras] Roberto slings about 8 cameras over his shoulder in preparation for the group shot. (Aug 2002)

* [Our Group at Machu Picchu] We arrived at Machu Picchu, greeted by a breathtaking view could see each other.
Note that I'm not leaning on Swati and Mark just because they're my friends and they find it easier to stand than I do...
I tried to doctor this picture in Photoshop and add a more interesting Machu Picchu or the Eiffel Tower or Cinderella's Castle at Disneyland, but nothing looked terribly good. Maybe I'll find a good backdrop sometime. In the meantime, this is the untouched photo. (Aug 2002)

* [Angel's Trumpets] Angel's trumpets growing at Machu Picchu. The priests/shamen used the hallucinogenic properties to help put them in the right mindset to communicate with the gods. Note the llama in the background. (Aug 2002)

* [Rocks Modeling the Mountains at Machu Picchu] The rocks were carved to model the mountains in the distance. (Aug 2002)

* [Machu Picchu] More Machu Picchu stuff. (Aug 2002)

* [First Half of Panoramic of Machu Picchu] Part 1 of 2 of a panoramic shot of Machu Picchu. (Aug 2002)

* [Second Half of Panoramic of Machu Picchu] Part 2 of 2 of a panoramic shot of Machu Picchu. (Aug 2002)

* [A Tree Grows in Machu Picchu] A tree growing in a courtyard in Machu Picchu. (Aug 2002)

* [Archaeologists at Work] Archaeologists at work at Machu Picchu. (Aug 2002)

* [Archaeologists Still At Work] Those archaeologists really dig Machu Picchu. Bwaaaahaahaaahaa... get it??? dig??? archaeologists???? Oh MER-cy! (Hike the Inca Trail, go to Machu Picchu, make your own web page, and then make your own damn jokes!) (Aug 2002)

* [Courtyard at Machu Picchu] A big, open courtyard at Machu Picchu. (Aug 2002)

* [Part 1 of 2 of Machu Picchu] Part 1 of of 2 part panoramic shot of Machu Picchu. (Aug 2002)

* [Part 2 of 2 of Machu Picchu] Part 2 of 2 of a panoramic shot of Machu Picchu. (Aug 2002)

* [Mountain Rock 2] Rocks modeling the mountains in the distance at Machu Picchu. (Aug 2002)

* [Machu Picchu from Huiñay Picchu] Photo of Machu Picchu taken from Huiñay Picchu (taken by Swati and Mark while I slept). (Aug 2002)

Lake Titicaca

coming soon(er or later)
Uros, Amantani, and Taquile are all islands on Lake Titicaca

Los Isles De Uros

* [The Floating Island of Uros] Our ship pulling up to the the Floating Island of Uros, as the captain throws a line to someone on the island.
Ever want to get away from it all? Well, the original inhabitants of these island want to get away from the Collas and Incas, so they built this island (on rock and roll, and reed...). Of course, they sort of managed to achieve their goal, as none of them exist now (intermarried out of existence). (Aug 2002)

Isla Amantani

* [Shadows and Sea] A cool view of the water and our shadows on the Island of Amantani. I'm the one taking the picture, 2 to the right from Mark, who is Walking Like An Egyptian...or is that a llama? (Aug 2002)

* [Inca-era walls on Amantani] Some of the old, Inca-era walls are visible on Amantani. There also is Inca (like?) terracing on the island. (Aug 2002)

* [The Trail to Pachatata] The trail up to the Pachatata (Earth Father) temple ruins on Amantani. The top is just below 4000m and while not a difficult trail, it is winding since there is no oxygen up there. (Aug 2002)

* [Looking Out of the Gate at Pachatata] Standing at the top of Pachatata on Amantani, looking out the entrance back down the trail, with Lake Titicaca in the distance. (Aug 2002)

* [Two Goobers] Mark and I attended a fest they had that night; Swati was feeling sick and stayed in and slept. The mother came to get us and brought some traditional garb, which we both wore. As suave as we might want to be, we looked like a couple of goobers.
The pancho was as heavy as a carpet sample, or rather a carpet. The hat helped trap more heat. Plus, I was wearing my rain gear underneath, including my hiking (not dancing) boots. At 3800m above sea level, wearing all that, it was pretty tiring dancing (yes, I did dance!). Sadly, no photographic evidence of the event existed. Mark and I were pleased when we arrived to the hall that there wasn't just a big pot of water in the center with a lot of hungry people staring at us, the other white meat...
Also note that the locals (and in general the Andean people) tend to be on the small side. That's the door by (and below) Mark's shoulder. (Aug 2002)

* [Night on Amantani] A night shot of the moonlight reflecting off Lake Titicaca from Amantani. It had rained and then cleared up and was becoming a beautiful, clear, high-altitude night.
This was the last shot on the roll and they partially cut off the negative and didn't make a print, so this is a scan of the negative. (Aug 2002)

* [Frank in Hobbit-land] The people of Amantani are pretty small. I felt like Gandalf among the Hobbits while staying in the room on Amantani. Yes, that really is the door that's next to me. Swati smashed her head twice on the wall above the door, while trying to enter. On the other hand, except for the lack of oxygen and little kids that continually play Frere Jacques over and over and over and over (in hopes of money), it is a nice, shire-like place. (Aug 2002)

* [Colorful Clothing on Amantani] The women wear very colorful skirts on Amantani, and tend to spin wool all the time, when walking, talking, chewing gum (you get the idea). Juan, our guide, is there too. (Aug 2002)

* [Another Shot of Colorful Amantani Clothing] Another shot of the colorful clothing worn by the Amantani people. (Aug 2002)

Isla Taquile

* [Taquile Signpost at La Plaza De Armas] Where in the world am I? Well, this should provide a little orientation. This was one of those cool signposts that had about a dozen or so cities all over the world and their respective distances listed. It was on the edge of La Plaza De Armes on the Island of Taquile, which had served as an exhile in the early part of the 1900s. (Aug 2002)

Addendum (March 2003): This photo made it into the State of the Art Gallery's 14th Annual Juried Phototography Show. Woo hoo!

* [Mark, Swati, and Frank on Taquile] Mark, Swati, and Frank by the cool signpost on Taquile. (Aug 2002)

* ["Kiss My Chuspa!"] Some local Taquile men wearing traditional clothing, including the nightcaps, hanging out on La Plaza De Armes. Ever wonder where the expression, "Kiss my chuspa!" came from? (Aug 2002)

* [Right half of 2 part Taquile Shot] Same as previous shot, only from the top of a 3 story building. Right half of a panoramic shot. (Aug 2002)

* [Left half of a 2 part Taquile Shot] The left half of the panoramic shot of Taquile. On the bottom is more of La Plaza De Armes. (Aug 2002)

* [The Island of Taquile] A view of the Island of Taquile, from the top of a 3 story building, facing away from La Plaza De Armes. (Aug 2002)

* [Guy with Ox on Taquile] A guy guiding an ox (two actually, the second is behind him, out of the picture) on Taquile. We were walking on the path to The 200 Steps to the lake, when this guy crossed the path with his oxen (I've always wanted to use that word!).
Hell, I'm a city-boy, I don't often see things like that. I was amazed when I heard Peruvian roosters on the Inca Trail making "cock-a-doddle-do" sounds. I was less amazed when they continued to make that sound at like 5am. In the cartoons, they crow once and then shut up (or face the wrath of Porky Pig). But I digress... (Aug 2002)

* [Arch on Taquile] This was the arch right before the 200 Steps down to the lake. These steps were much easier to navigate than the ones on the Inca Trail. That might be Mark's back. Everyone else in the picture are just random people. (Aug 2002)


* [Swati, Frank, and Kristen in Arequipa] In a cool, but unexpected, event, we discovered Kristen (from our Inca Trail group) was staying at our hotel in Arequipa. We had breakfast and went to a museum together. This shot is from a balcony over (you guessed it) La Plaza De Armas in Arequipa, where we had breakfast. (Aug 2002)

* [Fountain in Arequipa] The fountain by La Plaza De Armes in Arequipa. (Aug 2002)

* [Swati Watching the Kids Watching the Pigeons] A shot of Swati watching the kids watching the birds watching for food. Ah, life in Arequipa, where somebody's always watching out for you... (Aug 2002)

* [COPS -- in Arequipa] And speaking of watching out for you, I couldn't help but take a quick shot of two police officers (on the left side of the picture). I'm not sure what they were watching out for. The back of one says "S.U.A.T."-- perhaps the Peruvian equivalent of a SWAT team? The balconies above are where we had breakfast. (Aug 2002)

* [Fountain in Arequipa] Another nice view of the fountain and park by La Plaza De Armes in Arequipa. It really is a nice place, especially after Puno. (Aug 2002)

Santa Catalina Monastery, Arequipa

* [Tree in the Monastery] The Santa Catalina Monastery was quite the place. If you had to give up the material life, it's not a bad place to be. In fact, it was such the party monastery, the pope cracked down on them a few centuries back. After they became genuinely poor, they eventually allowed tours of some of the facilities. Hence, these pictures.
In this picture, there's a tree in the middle of the courtyard. The color contrasts are amazingly striking. You can just barely see the clear, blue sky at the top of the picture, in contrast to the red/pink/rose colored wall and flowers. (Aug 2002)

* [Monastery Courtyard] Another view of the courtyard. Unfortunately, I really needed a better sun filter. The shadows on the wall are striking. The tilted jug is also kind of cool (there were a number of tilted jugs we saw in Arequipa...yeah I know "nice jugs, but a bit tilted"). Also, there's a scratch in the negative (becomes a white line that goes across the print) which I quickly touched up in Photoshop. There is a visual artifact from that, but it looks better than having a white line go across the picture. (Aug 2002)

* [The Blue Room] A blue room with a red flower in it. Again, very striking colors. (Aug 2002)

* [Rotted Wood on a Doorframe] The wood on a doorframe in the blue room had rotted in a really cool pattern. (Aug 2002)

* [Monastery Courtyard] A worms-eye-view of the monastery courtyard. I was using my hand as a sun shield, holding it out a couple inches beyond the lens. (Aug 2002)

* [Siesta De Frank] Portrait of the Artist Taking a Siesta at Santa Catalina Monastery. Again, the colors were incredibly bright and vivid. I really like the stark quality to the picture and the straight lines. (Aug 2002)

* [(fake)Santa Catalina Nun] The nuns of the Santa Catalina Monastery. Well, not really. Someone was photographinc models (of a sort) pretending to be nuns. No idea what it was for. Perhaps a cover story in "Nun Fancier" or "Extreme Nun" or "Modern Nun" for all I know. But I figured that I could steal a few poses since it did look pretty cool in an "old world" sort of way. The real nuns of the monastery don't go in the public areas where the tourists go. (Aug 2002)

* [Frank in Club Silencio] Frank having just broken his vow of silence... (Aug 2002)

More Arequipa Shots

* [El Misti] A view of El Misti from Arequipa on our taxi cab tour of the city. (Aug 2002)

* [Arequipa Valley] We stopped for something to drink on our tour of Arequipa. There was a small stand that had fresh juice, papaya and tuna (a.k.a. prickly pear). Both were quite good. The view of the city, with the valley stretching out to the three major mountains (El Misti, Chachani, and Picchu Picchu). Truth be told, I'm not sure which mountains those are, I think Chachani. It's not El Misti (which had only a little snow at the top). The river is the Rio Chile. (Aug 2002)

* [A Llama!] There was a llama tied up near where we got the juice. When I approached him to take his picture, his ears, which had been pointing straight up, went down flat, pointing backwards. I have no idea what that means in llama. He didn't try to spit at me or anything, although I didn't get any closer to him. As I was about to leave, he made a sound. Again, I don't speak llama, so I don't know what this meant, if it was happy, sad, or what, but the sound sounded like an incredibly sad, wailing whine. As if he were saying, "Please...PLEASE don't go...if you only KNEW what it was like...oh...the horrors...THE HORRORS!!!!" On the other hand, perhaps he was saying, "got any spare food?" (Aug 2002)

Islas Ballesta

* [Sea Lions] Sea Lions (or Sea Wolves (Lobos Marineras) as they are called), lying around on the Islas Ballestas. (Aug 2002)

* [Penguins!] On the Ballesta Island there are Humboldt penguins. Here's a shot of one. If you can't spot the penguin, then here's a hint. (Aug 2002)

* [Lots of Sea Lions] Lots and lots and lots of sea lions just lying around making loud, obnoxious belching noises. (Aug 2002)

Paracas National Reserve

* [Paracas Beach] The beach on the Paracas national reserve. (Aug 2002)

* [Outside the Cathedral Cave] Cool cave on the Paracas beach. (Aug 2002)

* [Inside the Cathedral Cave] Inside the Catherdral Cave looking out in Paracas. (Aug 2002)

* [Paracas Beach] Walking along the beach at Paracas National Reserve. (Aug 2002)

* [Cathedral Cave] Looking down towards the Cathedral cave. (Aug 2002)

* [Paracas Pelicans] Pelicans fishing for their own form of ceviche for lunch at Paracas. Two of them are in mid-flip, dunking their heads under water to try to catch a fish. (Aug 2002)


* [Chinatown in Lima] Lima has a huge Chinatown. We went there to look around and have lunch. (Sep 2002)

* [swati in Chinatown in Lima] Swati ponders our many, varied lunch options in Chinatown. (Sep 2002)

* [Frank and Creepy Mannequin in Mercado in Lima] Frank poses with a mannequin friend at the mercado in Lima. There's just something creepy about those mannequins, the staring eyes, the huge smile, I don't know, they started to give me the willies. It's like they used Jim Carrey as a model or something. After seeing about a half dozen or so of them (and that's not including the ones that were missing eyes and stuff like that), I figured I needed a picture with me assuming a similar pose. Perhaps I should have loaned him my hat... (Sep 2002)

* [La Plaza De Armas in Lima] How could I possibly go to a city in Peru, without stopping at La Plaza De Armas? (Sep 2002)

* [Palacio de Gobierno in Lima] The main government building, Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace), at La Plaza De Armas in Lima, at the north end of the plaza. (Sep 2002)

* [Part 1 of 3 of Cathedral Door] Part 1 of 3 of the Cathedral door at La Plaza De Armas. (Sep 2002)

* [Part 2 of 3 of Cathedral Door] Part 2 of 3 of the Cathedral door at La Plaza De Armas. (Sep 2002)

* [Part 3 of 3 of Cathedral Door] Part 3 of 3 of the Cathedral door at La Plaza De Armas. (Sep 2002)

* [A Crowd Gathers in Front of the Palace] A crowd gathers outside the palace before the Changing of the Guard. Note the slide on the trumbone from the band can be seen poking out through the iron bars of the gate. (Sep 2002)

* [The Changing of the Guard] John Cleese would be proud. Two guards from The Ministry of Silly Walks march out in front of the two horn-bearing guards. It's a combination of goose-step (which kind of creeps me out) and bent-knee march, done with the hesitation and confidence of a city-boy walking through a cow pasture. (Sep 2002)

* [More Guards to Change] More guards come out to join the fun. Sadly, the shot is a bit blurry, but it is quite colorful. We never figured out why some places in Peru have the full flag while others only have the red and white striped version without the central emblem (like if Canada went generic). You can see some are doing the high-step and others bent-knee. (Sep 2002)

Addendum (March 2005:) It's now 2.5 years later, and I just received an email from a random person, Edsger, answering the question. He writes:

My friend when those symbols are on our flags means that Peru is in WAR
So I guess that answers my question. And I guess I'm rather glad that those symbols weren't on any of the flags.

* [Still More Guards to Change] Even more guards from The Ministry of Silly Walks come out. Plus a general-type-guy is standing in the doorway, observing the proceedings. Perhaps he understands what's going on. I don't. Two guards eventually come up and face each other, but there are no guards that change! And I'm not making any puns. No new ones come out to relieve the previous shift. They all just march back, leaving the two guys with the long horns to play a fanfare when it's all over. Maybe it's a translation thing, I don't know. And the colorful guards aren't even the ones that are doing the guarding. There are real guards with berets and guns walking around both behind and in front of the gate doing real guarding sort of things (they even asked us to move once it was over). So I'm kind of at a loss as to what went on. (Sep 2002)

This page last modified Oct 10, 2013.
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