300 nude cyclists hit streets in Peru – CBC News

I couldn’t make it out this morning to take pictures of the cyclist for you because I had to deal with a little bit of food poisoning (recovering now- no worries).  But I heard from a friend and reliable source that there weren’t that many nude cyclist out there today. Here is a pic that’s been published in the news. I should mention that this was to bring attention to cyclist safety, that there are not cycling lanes here in Lima, and that thousands of cyclist die every year here in Lima because of this.

Click here to read the story: 300 nude cyclists hit streets in Peru – CBC News.

Verano Negro & Carnival Negro- Chincha and El Carmen!

Last weekend, Matthew, my friend Catherine and I headed down to Chincha for Verano Negro translation “Black Summer”. We took the bus-line Ormeno (I will never ride that dirty bus again). I originally heard about Verano Negro in my trusty “Lonely Planet” book then heard about it over and over again from friends here in Lima. It is the biggest month-long celebration of the year in Chincha, celebrating its Beautiful Blackness! It was an amazing weekend! A beauty pageant, grape stomping, Cajon classes, concerts, dancing and delicious Raspadillas. Click here to read about our first trip to Chincha.
Pageant group dance
It seemed there wasn’t much going on in the Plaza de Armas of Chincha our first night there so we headed to El Carmen. This was the right move!  Because we got to watch El Carmen’s annual Carnival Negro Beauty Pageant.
It was not your typical pageant with the host in a nice suit giving details and statistics of beautiful young ladies as they paraded around the stage at prime time. No, this show started at 10:30 PM (scheduled 9:30 PM) and opened with comedian telling quite a few explicit jokes despite of all the kids in the crowd. The contestants came out dancing to Afro Peruvian music and had to introduce themselves all the while panting in the middle of their choreographed dance routine.
Fabiola's Cheering Section
Cheering section sign
A few of the contestants had cheering sections. All carried large poster pictures of beauty they were supporting. One group of about 20  had long pink balloons that they waved in the air every time their contestant came out. And another group set off mini fireworks for their favorite!
There were also concert performances between each act, including bands and dance groups from other cities in Peru, and even a band from Peru’s rivaling country Chile.
While we were there the pageant had the following sections: a group dance, introductions, another group dance, carnival costumes, swimsuit competition, and the infamous question and answer portion. By 2:00 AM, weary and not sure if they were going to have the evening gown portion of the competition or if they were going to announce the winner- we decided to leave!
"Bienvenidas" - "Carnival Negro"
My favorite contestant was Fabiola who had the large cheering section waving pink balloons. She earned my applaud during the carnival section of the competition. She wore a white carnival costume with feathers and a large Nefertiti style hat, and held a white sign sprinkled with silver glitter in each hand that read “Bienvenidas” – “Carnival Negro” with a white helium balloon attached to each that she let float away as she reached the end of the stage. I learned the next night that she was the winner!!.
Matthew in the spot light with the band
The festivities for Verano Negro in Chincha began the next day. There was a great program schedule of the next two weeks that outlined everything that we could participate in. We decided to attend a grape stomping at the Naldo Navarro bodega (vineyard) and Cajon classes (an Afro-Peruvian drum that is a wooden box with a whole in the back of it) that evening. The grape stomping was supposed to start at high noon so we decided to eat lunch first and arrived with perfect timing at 1:00 PM !  We had a wonderful time, the host was very welcoming. We drank lots of wine and pisco (a Peruvian hard liquor made from grapes), made new friends, enjoyed an Afro-Peruvian band and dance. And yes, of course we got to dance on the grapes!
Dancing on grapes
Afro Peruvian dance and the Criolla Band
After all the dancing, eating and drinking we headed back to the main plaza for the Raspadilla Fair and to meet up with my friend Patricia who is originally from Chincha. A Raspadilla is similar to a snow cone, but with finer shaved ice, and they use a super thick syrup in Peruvian fruit flavors of coconut, passion fruit, cherimoya, peach, strawberry, chicha morado, and more.
The Girls
Cajon Class

Around 6:30 PM we head to the 5:00 PM Cajon classes at SOCIAL CREATIVA – again perfect timing. But I did not plan well for drumming, wearing my short green dress. But I didn’t let that stop me, I just wrapped my Vamo ‘pa Chincha t-shirt around me like a diaper and I was ready to go! LOL. We had a great time at a the class, check out this video from the school which also features a great dancer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTqyTSoKIj4&feature=relmfu

La Reina de El Carmen- Fabiola
That night we headed back to El Carmen for Carnival Negro. We got to see the Queen of Carnival Negro, a great concert put on by local and international bands from Cuba and Chile. The closing act was – the internationally acclaimed band/group Peru Negro! If you ever have the opportunity to see Peru Negro, you must it is truly is a treat! Then there was a big dance competition hosted by a fabulous “queen” with braids down his back. He brought girls of all racial backgrounds and from all over Peru on stage, to see who could dance to the Afro Peruvian music the best. They all had moves far better than me or any of my friends back home! The girl from Ica won.

The other queen =) - He had a great voice! (photo via Catherine Ntube)
Peru Negro- (photo via Catherine Ntube)

It was truly great to see how everyone came out to support Verano Negro and Carnival Negro. People of all races came out to appreciate and celebrate Peru’s African culture.It was a weekend filled will love, music, beauty and culture, one we will always remember.

To view the rest of our photo album please click here Verano Negro Photo Album

The following are a few of my favorite photos from the Verano Negro facebook page. (It’s time for me to get a new camera) You can view their albums here: Official Verano Negro albums


Eating Dirt, Making Mud Pies and Building Sand Castles- hazardous dirt

Česky: bábovky z písku Česky: mud pies
Image via Wikipedia

At some point or another whether accidentally or intentionally as children we have eaten dirt, haven’t we?  I remember one of the joys of play out doors while growing up was making mud pies with my friend and next door neighbor Monica. I would grab one of my grandmother’s aluminum pie pans, dig up the dark soil under the tree to used as the filling, various leaves and berries as seasoning and fruits, then sprinkled the lighter gray top soil on as sugar. Of course I also remember going to the beach with my Dad – burying him under the sand, building sand castles with shells as decoration, and just digging holes until I reached water.  These are just a few of the fun memories from my childhood when I’m sure I did indeed ingested some dirt!

I’m sure that you have some similar memories. Guys seemed to love dirt, it was always on your faces, clothes and in your hair. It is still part of all your out-door games…you might have just grabbed a handful of dirt and put it in your mouth, or thrown it at your friends. By now some of you are now creating these dirt filled memories with your own children or are you keeping them nice and clean, and away from the mesmerizing element?
Palacio de Goberno to Cantagallo via google maps
These fond memories are what ran through my mind as I visited Cantagallo, Lima, Peru. A city that most Limaneans don’t even know about (based on my brief survey); although, it sits on the Rimac River and is just behind the Palacio de Gobierno (The Presidential Palace). It is literally less than 3.2km in driving distance from the Palacio de Gobierno.
My friend Carol, a doctor who studies infectious diseases in the jungles of Peru, suggested I visited this town after I asked to go with her on her next trip to the jungle. I thought a trip to the jungle of Tarapoto would be the best way to see how people really live rather than going on a pre-scripted tour for gringos. I figured might fit in as her gofer while she was trying to figure out how to save the world.
Carol informed me that Cantagallo is now inhabited by indigenous people who moved there from the jungle and that a few of them still make traditional crafts. I thought why not? I’ll see and experience something new, another part of Lima, that’s why I’m here, right?
Carol sent an email to her friend Jeiser who would take us there and serve as guide. We decided to go the following day. I Google searched the place before we left, but the only information I could find about this place was on Wikipedia Espanol. The brief paragraph mentioned that Cantagallo was originally settled by 14 Shipibo families in the year 2000, and that it is located between the flower market and the Rimac River, just behind downtown Lima. I knew of the area just behind it the Barrio Altos because you can see it from downtown – a mountain side with shacks of multiple colors scattered all over it and a large cross perched atop.
I assumed that Cantagallo would be very similar to the Barrio Altos that I had seen previously off in the distance.

Matthew and I met Jeiser this past Saturday for our visit of Cantagallo. Jesier spoke Spanish and I was quite proud that I could have a full conversation with him for our approximately 30 minute taxi ride. Jesier is a really friendly guy with a warm smile from PucallpaPeru, a Peruvian Amazonian city where the people of Cantagallo are from. He has a degree in Public Health and I think he mentioned he had a heart condition.. that is how he met my friend Carol. Jesier’s sister and his cousins presently live in Cantagallo.
Our taxi pulled up to a dirt field (I found it ironic that  Google maps has a green patch to mark this place) with people walking around and kids playing. We then walked up a hill, through a market and finally walked on a thin dirt path lined with square boxes and shanties that make the humble shotgun homes of Coconut Grove, Florida look grand.
We walked into Jesier’s cousin’s house where we were greeted by his sister and his Aunt Fidela with cheerful smiles. This was a very hot day, and it was even warmer inside their house than out so we only visited for a few minutes then continued on our way. We walked through the paths of Cantagallo walking past dirt covered children as Jesier explained the difficulties of life in Cantagallo. I was told that the majority of homes here are made from garbage cans and what looked to be plywood;  the electricity is turned off at night (not that I remember anything electrical at his cousin’s house) and that there is no police or presence of law whatsoever. Jesier was greeted by quite a few people as we walked along and everyone was very nice to us and greeted us with hand shakes, hugs and the typical Peruvian kiss on the cheek.

 At this point I’m screaming in my head PLEASE DON’T GO! Because this is when I noticed that my dirt path was actually a dirt covered trash path, and Jesier told us that this hill that we were standing on was actually a landfill, and the Rimac River is not  pleasant itself!
We could see the trash sticking out the edge of the hill as it approached the trash lined river. We were told that the landfill was filled with all types of hazardous waste, including dead cats and dogs and supposedly human remains. The people are sick for unknown reasons of course related to living on waste, and all types of sexually transmitted diseases are being shared. It seems that lack of electricity and law has also lead to “banditos” (criminals) ruling the town at night- rapes, burglaries, assaults, and who knows WHAT make this an unsavory place to be at night. Later we ran into a few more friends who told Jesier about a friend of his from college who passed-away two weeks ago. They had found his body just laying there..the cause of death was unknown, and more than likely not investigated.  It’s dangerous here because there is no law, police, or anything that maintains order here. Even though as I mentioned earlier, the President of Peru sits less than 3km away from here.  I found it interesting that in-spite of these inhumane living conditions, the people have prescribed to a  discriminatory class system. Here’s the best way I can think of to explain the mentality; I live in Upper Landfill so I’m better than you and my kids aren’t allowed to play with yours. Which is hard to believe because there are approximately 1,200 children who live there and they literally run the place!  Why they have decided to put this discrimination structure in to place I’m not sure. Discrimination anywhere is always cruel and demoralizing.  I have a few theories; one, it somewhat mimics Peru’s classicist structure; two, perhaps it’s done to others to gain control and power in bad situations; three, just plain lack of education. On another note, one of my friends asked me “why do poor people continue to have so many children?” (more than they can afford). It seems to be a universal commonality among people living in poor situations. My thoughts are that lack of education is the main factor; other factors might be that children having children is usually a cyclical pattern, some of the children are the result of rape (it is illegal to have an abortion in Peru- with the exception of the mother’s life being at risk), and not to be funny but when you have a lack of entertainment – sex tends to be the entertainment. But after experiencing a day in Cantagallo, the idea of  growing-up in the Cabrini Green projects of Chicago seemed to be a preferable option. Where clean water, lights, emergency services and a play ground are at least accessible!

Jesier’s Aunt Fidela brought out the jewelry she made and also explained that she could sew Shipbo designs for me. I purchased two necklaces and she was kind enough to give me a bracelet and necklace set that she thought I should have.

During our visit Matthew and I listened to this family speak to one another in what we differentiated as two maybe three different languages!

(Jesier later confirmed that his mother spoke one Amozonian language and his father another so they grew up conversing in those languages and Spanish).
Jesier then mentioned Ayahuasca and that his cousin Cesar knew how to perform the ceremony. Ayahuasca apparently is used by shaman for medicinal and spiritual purposes. It is known to be a hallucinogenic cure-all. Cesar came out with his bottle of Ayahuasca, a bottle of unpleasant looking brown liquid and we spoke with him for a while. I gathered that he had studied to become a shaman for five or six years and had been a shaman for maybe eight years. I’ve never met a shaman so this was quite interesting to me. I asked him what I should do about my migraines, his response was Ayahuasca. The verdict is still out about that; furthermore, from my understanding the ritual is supposed to be done in harmony with nature and in a safe place. Unfortunately, I don’t believe if I do venture off to try this miraculous drug that it will be in Cantagallo.

So you ask, what has the government done to help the Shipibo people who live here in Lima? From what I understand up until this point nothing – but several people have told me that there are plans to build a highway along the Rimac, hence they will be displaced then the government will have to provide them with housing. We shall see. So, you ask why did this group of Shipibo people leave their lush jungle to come to the slums of Cantagallo? Jesier doesn’t know himself. The only explanation he has received is that it’s because they believe there children will have the opportunity to have a better education in Lima. But Jesier says that no one from here has gone to college, they are not teaching their children Shipibo so that they can assimilate into the Spanish world. It’s sad too that they don’t know about the animals, plants and streams in the life filled jungle their tribe come from. They are only learning  to survive in a slum.

Meanwhile Jesier who was born in Pucallpa, educated in Puacallpa, has graduated from college, studied in Europe, and still lives and works in Pucallpa. For some reason this particular group of Shipibo have continued dreaming this unfulfilled dream that moving to the capital of their country would somehow make life better.

What I will remember most about Cantagallo is that it was filled with children, laughing and playing just like I did when I was a kid. Like my 11-year-old little sister does now, our god-children do, and as our children and your children will in the future.
There were happy little faces in this place, playing in kiddie pools and shooting Super Soakers in the hot summer sun. There were kids running around playing tag and girls walking around chatting it up. But there were also sullen little faces in this place, walking slowly sitting in corners. All of them happy or sad their faces were smudged with dirt!
Do you remember coming home from the park or play ground – your clothes covered in dirt from playing? I do, I remember my grandmother saying “ooh baby you need to go take a shower, you smell like the great outdoors”.
As we left Cantagallo the last  images that remain with me are of two little boys covered in dirt, playing in the dirt park, digging a hole in the trash filled dirt underneath the sidewalk. I remember playing in dirt – all kids play in dirt, if allowed.
Unfortunately, my Peruvian friends remind me that this is Peru, and this isn’t the only slum town here. You can see another one in my friend Ric Francis’ blog titled Golden Slum, which describes an even more profound existence.  And the more you really think about it, there are more places like this all over the world. I really don’t know how we would end this epidemic, I’m sure it’s by taking just one step at a time, helping or giving hope.
People always say things like “the world is your oyster”, “you have to make your opportunity”, “I made it out of the ghetto, so can you”; but do the babies born here in this place really have that chance without a helping hand?
I am just asking that you remember how blessed you are. – You just happened to be born to the parents you were born to, in the city, state, and country you were born in. Be thankful for the dirt you played in!
Everyone should be able to play in clean dirt!
If you have the resources to make a difference, please find a way to do so.
A few organizations you can take a look at:
        Lima, Peru


What are your thoughts, suggestions, comments, on this global issue? Please leave a comment.


Photo by Ric Francis

This is not about a movie – this is someone’s reality, this is someone’s every day, this is someone’s life.

Its citizens endure life in what is probably the dirtiest shanty community at the highest altitude in the world. It has no running water, no sewage system and its grounds are contaminated by mercury used to separate rock from gold. While coca leaves or altitude sickness pills may help one survive the high elevation, there’s nothing to provide relief from the horrible smell; the horrendous sanitary conditions result from the unregulated disposal of garbage and human waste.


Read more here: GOLDEN SLUM. by Ric Francis

Cusco, Aguas Callientes; Machu Picchu- what to do, where to stay, what to eat, and more!

This post is derived from an email that I just sent to a new friend that is going to Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Getting there:

Don’t just purchase a connecting flight from the US on LAN there are less expensive options on Peruvian operated airlines such as:

This also goes for traveling anywhere in Peru. Just watch out on Peruvian Airlines they have two sets of prices – one for Peruvians and the other for non-natives. Don’t try to be sneaky and buy the Peruvian ticket – I have a friend that was hit with the price difference at the airport.

Food, places to stay, things to do and more:
I would also recommend reading the beginning of July and  my June blog posts:  http://gettingtoknowtheworld.com/2011/07/    https://gettingtoknowtheworld.com/2011/06/ . They are all about Cusco. And you should definitely not miss out on some of the things there – there are food recommendations throughout.  I totally recommend going on a 4 wheeler and taking the Sacred Valley Tour! Matthew and I had a blast on that trip.

There is a great pizza place that I didn’t mention in the blog  off of Ave. Sol that has an amazing “Lomo Saltado” Pizza. It’s off on Garcilazo de la Vega. Here’s the map with the pin of the approximate location.

Machu Picchu / Aguas Calientes– during peak season purchase your Machu Picchu ticket a week to two weeks in advance

Bring a hat =)

Getting there:

The Colectivo- really comfy lol but tons of fun

After arriving to Cusco there are two options that I know of

  • You can take a bus to Ollyantatambu and then take a train to Aguas Calientes (stay over night) then you go to Machu Pichu from there. You should buy your ticket in advance during the peak season.
  • Or, you can take a van from Cusco – 5 hours to Santa Maria  (stay overnight)> a colectivo to Santa Theresa > then a combi to Aguas Calientes (stay over night – I stayed at Quello Mayo http://quellomayo.co.uk/) then you go to Machu Picchu from there.   (This is what I did – cost less but that 5 hour van is why it cost less)
Remember there are mudslides during the rain season (Quello Mayo is closed until April because of this), so take caution with both of these options.

Additional info:

So, I never finished writing about Machu Picchu. But this blog post is about the journey there: https://gettingtoknowtheworld.com/2011/09/17/adventures-from-lima-to-cusco-machu-pichu-and-beyond-part-i/
But the best restaurant in Aguas

An amazing appetizer

Calientes  there is Indio Feliz http://www.indiofeliz.com/en/menu.html I was in love with the salad chaski  the S/.50 menu is a great deal.  Also, if you don’t eat there don’t eat anywhere else except for a Pizza place because the food is not fresh and you may get sick.

This is the hotel I stayed at .. http://www.wiracochainn.com/es/index.html They have clean rooms, with private bathrooms and hot water. In addition they will start breakfast early for you if you ask. it typically stars at 6 am – I asked for a 4am breakfast so I could go to the bus at 5am to Machu Picchu.


I would also NOT recommend doing the bike ride tours on the road to Machu Picchu from Ollyatatambu.. I saw two people after having an accident on the roads there.. NOT SO PRETTY.  and waiting on the side of the road for a ride to come by after visiting a tiny clinic. If you do – be experienced & stay on the side of the road.

Ok so i am inspired to write part 2 now. =)  But there might also be a part 3 of Adventures from Lima to Cusco, Machu Picchu and Beyond! Hmm maybe later today.

Please leave a comment – especially if you have any additional advice or questions =)

Combi Music vs 2.0 – Madonna’s Material Girl from the album Like a Virgin

I’ve finally updated my playlist “Combi Music”.  It now has even more of your favorite hits from the 80s, that I hear while listening to the radio on the bus or in a taxi here in Lima, Peru. The queen of 80s music Madonna definitely on the radio waves more frequently than any other artist. So I have to give this update to her and one of my favorite songs in 1985  “Material Girl”.  My favorite song in 1985 was “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston. For some reason I remember singing both of these songs while in the cafeteria at Highland Oaks Elementary School.

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is also on this list, but that song scared me to death when my parents took me to see the Jackson 5 World tour. lol   One of the most popular songs out right now in Peru is “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” a very catchy song by a Brazilian artist Michel Teló. The lyrics are below in Portuguse and English via http://lyricstranslate.com . So join me and sing along http://grooveshark.com/playlist/Combi+Music/65087915

Ai Se Eu Te Pego

Nossa, nossa
Assim você me mata
Ai, se eu te pego,
Ai, ai, se eu te pego

Delícia, delícia
Assim você me mata
Ai, se eu te pego
Ai, ai, se eu te pego

Sábado na balada
A galera começou a dançar
E passou a menina mais linda
Tomei coragem e comecei a falar

Nossa, nossa
Assim você me mata
Ai, se eu te pego
Ai, ai se eu te pego

Delícia, delicia
Assim você me mata
Ai, se eu te pego
Ai, ai, se eu te pego

Ah when I get my hands on you…

Wow, wow
You’re gonna kill me that way
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)

Delicious, delicious
You’re gonna kill me that way
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)

Saturday party night
Everyone began to dance
The hottest girl of the place passed me by
So I got the guts up and began to say to her

Wow, wow
You’re gonna kill me that way
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)

Delicious, delicious
You’re gonna kill me that way
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)

What Every Dad Should Know About Their Daughter via Faith Promise Blog

For some reason that whole a dad’s goal in his life is to “keep your daughter off the pole” disturbs me. As if that’s what a girl’s automatically going to do if you don’t have this goal in mind. Girls are much more than that.

This blog post I just read seems like much better advice. And will also accomplish the goal of “keeping your daughter of the pole”.

Affirm Her”

Set the Standard”

Talk About the Standard”

Read the blog by clicking here: Faith Promise Blog.

I must say that this of course is not all of it. What would you add-on? Please leave a comment.

Where are your ancestors from?

I went to an Internations http://www.internations.org event last night, which is a great cocktail party where expats from various countries and Peruvians who have lived abroad (there are actually events around the world). It takes place once a month on a Friday. I happened to arrive before Matthew, so I got the occasional guy that would come up to me to see if I was single or not. I saw this one guy staring at me from across the room and about 5 minutes later the following conversation began:

European guy: But what county is your family from?

Me: I’m African-American – so some country in Africa

European guy: But which country?

Me: (really) So, they brought African’s over in ships and they didn’t keep records of where people were from. (Stank face)

European guy: I’m not trying to be I just, I lived in Africa for a while and you look like you are from Angola.

Me: Where are you from?

European guy: Portugal

Me: #WhyAmIHavingThisConversation – oh really I actually have Portuguese ancestors as well.

European guy: Oh so we’re brothers (the direct Spanish translation of siblings is brothers)

This conversation continued for another 5 minutes are so and my thoughts were “why is he acting like he didn’t know about slavery. He’s from Portugal-your Portuguese ancestors were the ones who started the slave trade to the Americas- #BRAZIL hello”

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade began around the mid-fifteenth century when Portuguese interests in Africa moved away from the fabled deposits of gold to a much more readily available commodity — slaves. By the seventeenth century the trade was in full swing, reaching a peak towards the end of the eighteenth century. It was a trade which was especially fruitful, since every stage of the journey could be profitable for merchants — the infamous triangular trade.

Who Started the Triangular Trade?

For two hundred years, 1440-1640, Portugal had a monopoly on the export of slaves from Africa. It is notable that they were also the last European country to abolish the institution – although, like France, it still continued to work former slaves as contract laborers, which they called libertos or engagés à temps. It is estimated that during the 4 1/2 centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Portugal was responsible for transporting over 4.5 million Africans (roughly 40% of the total).

via  http://africanhistory.about.com/od/slavery/tp/TransAtlantic001.htm

I was wondering what your thoughts are about this. Please leave a comment about the conversation and how you would have responded.

Also please send out a quick PSA to your European friends about the African slave trade to the Americas. Thank you. FYI this is the second time I’ve had a conversation like this at an Internations event.

*** I have met really great people at the Internations Events and will continue to go =)

Don’t go chasing waterfalls- Las Cataratas de Palacala

Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to. I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all, but I think you’re moving too fast. ~ TLC 

So this is the song that I chorus singing in my head for a few seconds yesterday morning at 5:30am as I got ready to go see a waterfall. Did I listen NO.

Last Monday when I visited the Hogar San Francisco de Asis one of the volunteers Ivet invited me to go with her friends to see a waterfall. Sounds cool – why not. I spoke to Matthew about it and he was ready to go too. Ivet mentioned bringing water, a few snacks, wearing sneakers, and that we would have to meet her then take a colectivo to Chosico and take a bus to the waterfall in Surco (Surco is a district in the province of Huarochirí, in the region of Lima, Peru). Doesn’t sound to bad about 2-3 hours from our apartment. I also invited a few other friends and my friend Catherine from Texas decided to come along for the ride.

The day came we were up by 5:30am out the door by 6am, met Catherine, took a bus to meet Ivet in La Molina, met her friends at the ovalo, got in a colectivo to the park in Chosico, met the rest of the group, and finally we were all on the bus (and all got seats) on the way to Surco. We arrived at a tienda (store) used the restroom and got some crackers.  We then bought the 2 soles ticket to see the waterfall. At this point I’m thinking ok maybe we’ll have about a 30 minute walk to the waterfall. But then the guy at the ticket booth says that are two options, either walk to the waterfall that was 45 minutes away or walk to the one that was 4 hours away. I say “45 minutes”, because I have had one to many so-called “easy” bad “hiking” experiences. A few other people agreed, but the majority wanted to see the waterfall that was 4 hours away. And the guy said that the walk was flat mostly – oh haven’t I heard that before. Don’t go chasing waterfalls….

And we were off to our 4 hour journey. Then someone announces there’s a short cut. I’ve done one of these “short cuts” up a mountain before short cut is aka for steeper climb and not using the wide easy path. SMH. OK we go along and see what we think is the top and ok this short cut really worked EHH wrong.

We moved passed the sandy rocky part and were finally seeing beautiful green pastures, and the donkeys and horses that the pounds of manure that we’d passed belonged too. Have you ever seen a beetle roll dung into a perfect little ball – almost reminds you of a truffle. (The delirious thoughts you have) My ears began hurting as I adjusted to the altitude but overall I was fine. Within about an hour-and-a-half I started to feel exhausted and Matthew begins to say “I thought we came here to see a waterfall I would have stayed home for hiking”. But then we stop for some fruit that we are able to clean off in a natural stream that is coming from the waterfall we are chasing. The fruit was pretty tasty.  A nice little break until we had to climb what I like to call “Rocky/Boulder Road”.  Now I started to hear Chanima, Kameela, and the rest of the youth choirs’ voices directed by Ms. Donna singing Move Mountain. I really wished and prayed this mountain would move because every muscle beyond my waist was in pain, hips, thighs, calves, shins, ankles, feet, and toes.

Move mountain!

Chorus 1
Let me tell you how to move a mountain,
(that’s too hard for you to climb).
Let me tell you how to move a mountain,
(one that hides the bright sunshine).

(When you hands are bleeding and torn),
(and your feet and weary and worn);
(when you try to climb up),
(but the rocks and reels makes the going tough),
just say move mountain, move mountain,
mountain get out of my way.

Chorus 2
Let me tell you how to move a mountain,
(when the climbing gets you down).
Let me tell you how to move a mountain,
(when you’ve traveled your last round).

(When you friends have left you behind),
(and your way, you cannot find);
(when your prayer is for help,)
(but you stand alone feeling by yourself),
just say move mountain, move mountain,
mountain get out of my way.

If you have the faith the size of a mustard seed,
just say move mountain, move mountain,
move mountain, mountain get out of my way.

wanted to jump in and swim but the water was too cold

And then we saw the  reservoir and had to take a break to take a few fun photos. We had an amazing view. Unfortunately the water was cold so we couldn’t go swimming. Of course at this point we thought that we were almost there (this thought is wrong about 99% of the time).

1 more km smh

And finally we get to a sign that says < Surco 4 km and Palacala > 1 km.

So we were 4/5th of the way there. We climb the last km and at this point we no longer are looking at the clouds that circle the tops of mountains we are in them. So we are now cold and wet – I of course am wearing a halter top and shorts, without a jacket or sweater in sight. But then we finally see it a beautiful water fall as we look across to the other side of the mountain. That must be it, and guess what I don’t need to walk there because I don’t see a path to it. I came I saw I conquered. Wrong there’s a lovely red arrow on the ground directing us to move forward. Let me tell you how to move a mountain…

Well after going around a narrow curve, ducking under a few tree limbs, and balancing on top of wet rocks on a muddy path we made it to Las Cataratas de Palacala.  It wasn’t huge but it was beautiful. The whole journey as arduous as it was a beautiful one. And who would have known that I could hike 5km up hill mountain.  God makes glorious places and sometimes you have to chase waterfalls to see them.

(But lesson learned (again) get more details, and do not trust non westerners when they say a walk is easy, flat, or short)
Want to see more photos click here!