Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Travels: Sacred Valley Fun Facts

Hello, friends and family! Here I am in Peru, continuing my journey with Ashley. This is a photo of me in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco, the hub of the Sacred Valley region.

Since arriving in Peru, I´ve learned many things about Amerindian culture, and Ashley asked me to share a few fun facts.

First: In the Sacred Valley, a rainbow signifies that the gods are communicating with Pacha Mama (mother earth). Many older people won´t talk when a rainbow is out, because they don´t want to interrupt.

Second: The Amerindian culture recognizes three levels of existence, roughly translated as heaven, earth and hell. The levels are symbolized by animals -- the condor for heaven, the snake for hell (sound familiar?) and the puma for earth. The nearby town of Calca even has a giant statue of a puma.

Third: The locals here use the mountainsides as billboards, stripping areas of vegetation and putting down lime or other rocks in the shape of words. This is most commonly done by schools, political parties and municipalities. If you look at Ashley´s pictures from Cusco two weekends ago, you´ll see some examples.

Finally: Driving along the road in Peru, you´ll notice tall sticks leaning out into the road, topped with a cluster of red plastic bags. This makeshift flag means that the house is serving home-brewed chicha, a fermented corn drink. Ashley and I haven´t tried it, but we hear that it´s an acquired taste.

Stop by later for more fun facts about Peru!

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