03 Feb 2013
Lima, founded in 1535, was Spain’s power center in the Americas. That speaks to the beautiful buildings and boulevards.
They have been occupied by Chile, endured major earthquakes, and had 7,000% inflation, crooked politicians. Just 30 years ago there was guerilla fighting that cost 70,000 people their lives.
This century things have been great Peru. It has had the highest rate of economic growth in all of South America, which also speaks to political stability.
We toured the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum, which has reopened after a five-year makeover. Exhibits were of 5,000 years of pre-Columbian art explaining well Andean Civilization. We are talking about 4,000 years before the Incas. Yet they have 45,000 pieces. Much of it reminded me of Egypt.
These agricultural societies worshipped natural forces and with a high need for human sacrifices.
Everybody likes to chat about the erotic galleries.
31 Jan 2013
What a day. Our group spent it on a private 65 ft yacht and a private island.
Sea lions were all out en mass.
Notice they have outside ears. Seals do not. Babies are born with fur.
Sally lightfoot crabs were all over the rocks.
Galapagos marine iguanas have a flat tail for swimming.
Galapagos land iguanas hang around the cactus because that is where they get their food.
Here is a Galapagos mockingbird feeding on a cactus plant. The giant prickly pear cactus, tallest in the world, is grown here.
Galapagos blue footed boobies
A baby brown pelican was practicing his fishing.
We even had time for some water activities before heading home.
30 Jan 2013
We left the ship this morning to take a three-day Galapagos Island excursion with five other couples.
Half of the day was consumed by taking a bus to an airplane, to a bus, to a ferry, to a private minibus for our group. Phew.
We saw two big sinkholes. Also we saw a scalesia forest. (It’s important for the ecosystem)
Moving on we saw a lava tunnel. These are formed when the under water volcanoes erupt and form islands. That is different than when the cone-type land volcanoes erupt and the lava flows down the hill.
Then we saw more giant tortoises than I could count. They, alone, made the trip worth taking.
These tortoises take three hours to mate.
28 Jan 2013
Montecristi is the home of the Panama hat. Funny.
They work well in the tropics being lightweight, light color, and breathable. The good ones can keep out rain as well as sun and can be folded to carry in luggage.
The best ($1,000+) can be wound so tight you can pull them through a wedding ring and put it right back on your head and they will look like new.
Regarding the name, executives working on the Panama Canal wore them and Teddy Roosevelt made them famous when he was down there.
27 Jan 2013
I’m not sure what I expected to see in Panama City, but it certainly wasn’t such a bustling city. Somehow I expected something canalish and instead saw an interesting city.
Everywhere we turned was new construction. Like many other cities, downtown is high rises and the old part of the city is being updated.
The very old is being preserved.
It seems that Panama (the country) has become the fifth most popular retirement center for Americans. To confirm its popularity, I Googled it today and saw recent articles all touting retirement here at sites such as U.S. News, AARP, MSN, Business Week, and NBC News.
It is cheap, and friendly with great weather, and they cater to Americans in several ways.
I know this isn’t cool, but I’m just not thrilled with Frank Gehry architecture.