The Spaniards did a real number on the cities and cultures of what is now Latin America. In the Peruvian Andes there are a few remnant facilities like Machu Picchu that remain unexplained but mostly intact. In Lima there are a few places where the precision of the Inca stonework persists. In many places the Spanish built on top of the most religious Inca places in order to establish dominance. In these cases there is sometimes preserved work hidden underneath or used as a foundation. The walls below were part of a main building in what is now Lima. The windows of the three walls line up with each other and the joined areas of the stones are remarkably exact. The few places where there seems to be narrow cracks are the result of subsequent earthquakes
Lima is a real city. Many Americans seem to think that other countries are different; that cities, towns, and people are somehow different from us. In fact people are people pretty much the world over and cultures are adapted to location and need. But the underlying sense of being human, of having fidelity to country and family are pretty similar the world over. In Lima there are stone works from Inca times and modern buildings from the 21st century. The people, as in cities everywhere, are varied in origin and look. The hats and hair of mountain women is evident in the city. It is a predominant feature in the country but the cities are heterogeneous, real melting pots.
Unlike most American cities where the weekends are spent out in the country or at the beach in much of Latin America there is a tendency to gather in urban parks and plazas on weekends and holidays. Thus fountains, statues, walkways, benches, cart rides, and parklands are often great places for a visitor to sit and watch people as they gather in relaxed crowds. Families meet grandparents for a picnic, romantic people of all ages watch the fountains and talk, and others seem to gather because there is comfort in this kind of shared activity.
A stroll or a ride in a horse drawn carriage can make the afternoon memorable for a family.
The people of Lima are pleasant and the time spent in these weekend crowds can be very nice.
Food and beverages are only a few feet away throughout the city. Restaurants can be fast food like or served by elegant tuxedoed waiters. As shown on the building below the politics of the city is a river flowing near the surface. The banners, placards, and graffiti are often political in origin and meaning. Voting is compulsory in both Peru and Ecuador and a fine levied if you miss the vote. You are also unable to get a car registration, drivers license, or take out a loan until you have settled the non-voting fine.
The pattern below seems to be an abstraction, deception perhaps. Something Escher might have drawn. In fact it is part of a museum tile floor and the tiles are hexagonal. I cannot find the edges nor can I convince myself (as I look at the picture) the image is not three dimensional and vertical. Next time I am there I will take a photo with a pair of feet (human) standing on the design just to give my depth perception something to hold on to.
The next few blog pages will take us through the Peruvian countryside to the historic mountain city of Machu Picchu; and after that a visit to Ecuador focusing on the Galapagos Islands and the high park called Antisana.