Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"What Time do the Condors come out?"

I have finally slowed down to tourist time.  I remember my brother-in-laws' story about the moose crossing and the tourists in Northern B.C., and now I am asking around to find out when the best time of day it is to see the condors fly.  I had a conversation with a young guy who assured me that 6:00 am is the best time to see them.  He is probably right, but logistically that will be a tough nut to crack.

I think for the first time since I started this blog, I am actually planned ahead.  I don't know if that is such a good thing, as one never knows what the next day brings in this touring business.


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I wandered around town this morning, and took in the sights. While certainly part of the tourist scene, Chivay is pretty laid back.  I think the main reason there are so few touistas in town is that we are at the height of the rainy season. The nice Tourism lady provided me with a map of the area, as well as a chart confirming that February is the high point for rain, thunder, and lightening.  Well, I am here and I have rain gear....

The Colca Valley is the goal, and the Condors live and fly throughout the canyon...


 These people are very devout, and I was trying to get a shot of the cross cut into the nearby mountain...

I question whether a pub in southern Peru can really call itself "Irish", but what the heck, if the Irish really are upset, they can start a war over it...


All of the local bikes, of which there are many, have dirt tires..I wonder why that is??


The church is at the focus of the town plaza, and it is very Catholic from what I can tell.  I am drawn to these buildings, and certainly appreciate their architecture...but...a friend of mine said to me that "they build the Churches bigger than life so that the people will always have to look up.." I understand some of the history of the Church in the New World, in terms of the enslavement and the dislocation of the cultures, and certainly there was an agenda which did not respect the local values and customs..however it is clear to me that there is a place in the minds and souls of these people for a higher power.  They live and work in extraordinarily tough conditions, and for the most part seem to be doing it happily and with an inner contentment that I do not see in Northern American cities.   It is interesting for me to read that over 75% of the present worlds' Catholic population is located in Latin America and the southern hemisphere.  With the Pope's resignation, perhaps there will be a different focus in the coming years...


This depiction of the Condor is as close as I may get to the real thing, as the weather does not look promising, and if I were flying the deepest canyon in the world, I think I would stay in my nest...


A local apalca picture baby...



I took a tour of the local market.  Lots and lots of fresh products. I believe that there are thousands of different varieties of potatoes, for example.


Corn that is corn...



 These are the buttons from the top of cactus plants....
 I bought one, and it was sweet, with small seeds inside, like a pomegranate..

There are a series of statues in the plaza which are amazingly life-like.  I don't know the material which the artists used, but they are amazing.  

This guy seems to be ecstatic that he ripped a chunk of leather out of the belly of a fox, or some other creature....

This guy is wearing a mask because he is about to do some serious harm with his big sword...

 This guy is just plain happy because he has a dead squirrel and a flower....


She just don't care.....

 This fellow is celebrating with a big cup of coffee, or something...





Now this guy is my favourite.  I wonder if it is a coincidence that he is wearing military fatigues??


 Pretty life-like, eh?


This portrayal seems to be realistic, in that I have seen these huge flutes being played.


This wall mural was just plain weird...




 I wonder if this guy is a Canucks fan???







Local bike with a chain guard, and mud tires?  Should I be paying attention?


This fellow is working on an old sewing machine.  He and his shop reminded me  of the fellow in Cartegena who took 3 hours to repair my friends' Garmin.  Things are not made to be thrown away...



 These four characters and their charge had quite a conversation with the old guy tourist.  The young guy was in grade six, and very smart. He explained to me that he was going to be a mining engineer and mine for gold.  He wanted to know if there was a lot of gold in Canada.  I didn't tell him that I thought there were a lot of Canadian mining companies in Peru and that they should be hiring Peruvian mining engineers...

You can see that two of the five are without ice cream, so old guy bought a round and learned about when the condors come out...
 Young Ronald explained that the condors come out at 6:00 am, and that if I wanted to see them, I needed to leave from the village at 5:00 am on my moto.  He also warned me that they are so big that they routinely take away baby alpacas, such as "Blanchito" here.  He said she was only four days old....
Well, if I see any Condors carrying white apalcas, I will be convinced that they are truly huge birds...

Wikipedia says that they routinely reach a wingspan of 10 feet six inches 

In case they don't fly, or the rains come, or my batteries fail, this is what I am after: