Arequipa

Yay Arequipa. I remember this place fondly. 

 “Arequipa (Ariqipa (Quechua)) – a magnificent “white city” is located at an altitude of 2325 m in the southwestern part of the Country; between the coastal area of the coastal desert and the spurs of the western Andes. It possesses a series of volcanic cones such as “El Misti”, “Chachani”, and “Pichu Pichu”. This beautiful city is practically completely built out of sillar, a type of white volcanic stone. This is why Arequipa is called the White City (“la ciudad blanca”). It is a magnificent example of colonial architecture. The historic centre of Arequipa was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. 
Arequipa is located on the tectonic fracture of the Earth’s crust called “Ring of Fire” (“cadena del fuego”), known for its high frequency of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. The last several strong earthquakes were in 1958, 1960 and 2001.”
 

Bus from Puno to Arequipa with Cruz del Sur – 40 soles. Cheap and comes with a meal. I bought it from the counter on that same morning. Turns out bus to Cusco has a strike.

Impressed with bus – they have a pre-trip video safety instructions while introducing their facilities. Like an aero plane. Even a reading light, and a button to call for assistance. Apparently they monitor each bus using a satellite system. Serious?!?

Welcome to Arequipa!!! Or Arearearearrrrrrrquipa! (the bus companies tout)

 

Aww. Rather calm and peaceful! This picture pretty much conveys how I feel about the city. So much calmer than what I experienced in Cusco / Lima / Puno.

i took a picture of this because it was constructed hundreds of years ago.

The Monastery of Saint Catherine (Monasterio de Santa Catalina)  



Santa Catalina Monastery was built in 1579/1580. The monastery was expanded over the centuries until it became a city within the city, about 20000 sq./m. It is still functioning as a place of worship. At its peak, the monastery housed 450 nuns and their lay-servants, and was closed off from the city by high walls. There are approximately 20 nuns currently living in the northern corner of the complex.


 

 

 

 

i felt a little creeped out to be honest. in my head i was thinking, WHY am i here in this monastery. am i really interested in the ways the nuns lived. i started picturing them with their black veils sitting on this chair. and then i hurried out.

 

i took this picture because i noticed the hat. i wonder if there were figures like these with hats in the churches of other countries, or if this was uniquely tied to their local historical cultural aspects.

mmmm

a volcano this close. like, just at the side of the city. i stared at it for awhile. i wonder if they feel any form of trepidation at all, living this close. hmm. or i am too used to and too sheltered by Singapore’s almost-perpetual safety. this was an aspect i failed to consider in my thesis – the fact that Singapore is so safe it augments the danger in all parts of the world. re: natural disasters

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-480514/Preserved-mummy-500-year-old-Inca-Ice-Maiden-wows-visitors.html

The Incas believed in worshipping the mountains and children were offered as sacrifices. They walked for miles (chewing coca) for weeks.

I feel like… in this trip it hit me that the history of mankind stretches on a timeline so incredibly far back. it’s one of the things i already know, but it just sank in, like a stone at the pit of my stomach, the fact that this history existed and the Incas once ruled an empire so grand it stretched from the Andes to the Amazon, and they believed in gods that my pre-trip self would have dismissed. How our notions of gods has shifted, from nature and mountains and condors to Christ and others today. Culture and beliefs and norms are always changing, ever-changing in the timeline of history.

They spoke about the Incas throughout South America – i just kept hearing references to the Incas (or at least the later part, which is highly influential to my memory)

The Incans didn’t have a writing system. Can you imagine that? Not having a writing system? How do you record your stories? Your memories? Letters?

They had runners – they formed a relay system, messengers who carried messages from one place to another, from Cusco to Quito it took about 10 days, across bridges and slopes and stone pavements. Having climbed all the way up to Machu Picchu I can only say they are insanely fit. Gosh, I am ashamed.

Instead of a writing system, what they’ve found is that the tangible aspects of communication lay within the quipu – knotted strings that look like friendship bands.

While scholars have yet to translate the quipu, we do know that information was embedded in the quipu in a number of different ways. The strings in a quipu were dyed in many different colors, and the strings are connected in many different ways, with a wide variety and number of simple and complex knots. Together the type of wool, the colors, the knots and the joins hold information that was once readable by several South American societies. Today we have only an inkling of what stories these amazing threads might be holding for us.”



The latest in a long history of South American societies to use the technique, the Inca empire used quipus to communicate a wide variety of political, economic, genealogical and other kinds of information to keep their enormous empire working. According to 16th century historians such as Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, quipu were carried throughout the empire by relay riders, called chasquis, who brought the information along the Inca road system, keeping the Inca rulers up to date with the goings on in their farflung empire”
I’m just so blown over by the Incan history, it could be this age or something (since i did learn about the history of civilisations back then but it just didnt register)

The Incas have never seen humans on animals prior to the invasion by the Spaniards, which could be a partial reason for the success of the Spanish conquest

What was Singapore like during the time of the Incas? Who lived here? Did it exist? I don’t even know. Hundreds of years later people / scholars are going to study our society and our ways of living. Maybe this blog will serve as an artefact. LOL. That’s a pretty cool thought HAHAHA

It sounds so crazy and morbid but I feel like I appreciate my life so much more now, now that I’m back, and I just know I’ll never take actions to disappear from the earth no matter how tough things get. I feel so thankful everyday for being alive. This could be partially attributed by the fact that I’m in lala-land, the first weeks of school (we’ll see during practicum) but whenever I feel crappy I think about how simply being alive is such a blessing. It’s such a nice thought, to know I feel like that. I truly hope I’ll still feel like this in my older days. But for now, this life is short, and this life is a blessing.

I mean, it’s times like this again I realise that I learnt and I just want to go back again to learning about everything, not in theory not on papers and pages (though they have their merits) but learning from everything around me

Off to Cusco! HURRAY! Highly anticipated, and the last activity-filled city. At last.

Departure Tax 2.50soles –
I took this bus called (Exclu)Civa from Arequipa to Cusco, and it was awesome. The seats were the most comfy I’ve had. I thought Cruz del Sur was the best, but i heard this company is pretty comparable. In fact this one is more comfy than the Cruz del Sur I took from Puno to Arequipa. 80 soles, i paid.
James, the Columbian guy I met on my Colca Canyon tour, apparently paid 120soles for his ticket (the exact same as mine) which is worth 80 soles. The tour agency ate some I suppose. Mine didn’t, hehe. I guess you have to be careful which company you buy from.

everybody loves llamas!!!

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