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Peruvian penguins and a touch of luxury August 8, 2010

Posted by Tracy in : ecotourism, Peru , 2comments


PARACAS, Peru – The pungent scent of the sea washes over the landscape like the rhythmic waves, and I contemplate the pleasure of lingering here in the peaceful beauty of the Paracas Hotel and enjoying a sumptuous breakfast buffet. But I’m scheduled for the first boat to the Ballestas Isles, and the penguins await.
I gather sweater and sunglasses and hat and head for the pier, where 22 people are buckling up with lifejackets and taking their seat aboard our skiff.

As if to see us off, a line of four Peruvian pelicans sails by just over the sparkling surface of the water in search of prey.

Lima’s love affair with light August 6, 2010

Posted by Tracy in : Peru , 1 comment so far


LIMA – One more entry about Lima, just because it deserves it.

This city has been called grey and dreary and at first glance one might understandably think so, given that the coastal fog that shrouds the city lifts so rarely. But that’s given Limeños the inspiration to play with light in ways that other, more sunny cities don’t, to sparkling effect.


Case in point, the Circuito Magico del Agua, the water park in Central Lima.

Huaca Pucllana: The ancient pyramids of Lima July 31, 2010

Posted by Tracy in : Peru, Uncategorized , 3comments


Who knew that Lima’s fashionable Miraflores district was the site of an ancient ruin? Most Limeños, in fact, didn’t even know until relatively recently.

This was the version presented by Alejandro Olivo, our guide, whose grandfather farmed these lands and who used to play soccer here when he was a boy. As far as he knew, these were just hills, and what was once a city off 44 temples was leveled by the wealthy Marsano family in the 1980s to make way for what is now Miraflores. The government finally intervened to seize the land and opened a park and a small visitor’s center here in 1991, and subsequent archaeological investigations revealed a fascinating slice of Lima antiquity.

Peru redux: Lima eight years later July 30, 2010

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LIMA, Peru – I landed in this misty Andean capital a week ago for the wedding of my dear friend and former student, Sara Fajardo. Eight years ago I had come here with her and spent a month divided between here in Lima and in Ayacucho, where we translated for a medical mission and then did interviews with local members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The omnipresent grey mist cast a watercolor wash over the city, dampening its vibrancy, but not for long. Peru’s particular essence began to come back to me as we drove along the coast between towering cliffs and crashing waves toward the sparkling enclave of Miraflores. The cliffs were carved by the ages but soon I saw something different: They had apparently been carved a good bit more recently by bulldozers. I was shocked at the absolute dearth of greenery as we entered the seaside drive – the cliffs on the left had been stripped of the lush vegetation I had remembered, and dust was everywhere. A huge seaside construction project was going on – President Alan Garcia’s new “Costa Verde” – a project that promises “a better Lima for all” when it’s finally finished – “but that will be for my grandchildren, not for me, at the rate they’re going,” said my gravel-voiced taxista, Oscar, with a chuckle.