Peru– Climate, Topography, Geography and Culture

Peru is a very mountainous land. There are even mountains jutting up throughout Lima. The spine of the Andes mountains covers a great deal of this nation. Lima is a desert city of about eight million in population. While in the city, there is little awareness of the desert region it is in, however, as soon as one goes to the outskirts of Lima, many areas look like the film set to Lawrence Of Arabia. There is nothing but sand laced with pre Inca ruins. It NEVER rains there. Our host IMB missionary John Phalm said that after serving there for many years, he recalls only a couple occasions where rain came down in drops. That is why the famous Nazca lines south of Lima have been perfectly preserved! They have dark cloud build ups much like south Florida, but only a fine mist comes forth. The water in this metropolis is supplied through rivers, aqueducts and irrigation. The Peruvian people are obviously largely Hispanic and most will tell you they “speak a little English.” Their weather was about the same as south Florida at the time of our visit. They are headed for their winter as we approach summer. They have no freezes or frost as they are only eighteen degrees from the equator (we are thirty six degrees from the equator). They have a dry heat and lack our awful humidity which is nice. Peru is a poor country but nothing like Haiti or countries in Africa. Cusco was the following city we visited via plane after we landed in Lima. It is cool even in the summer because it is 11,000 feet above sea level. That is two miles high! Most people are affected by altitude sickness in one way or another. I woke up with severe headaches and by the grace of God they were gone after a couple of aspirin. Cusco is the heart and soul of the Inca Valley and Inca Trail. We visited many archaeological sites here. Cusco is also the stepping stone to Machu Picchu and we took a train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. When traveling throughout the Andes to Machu Picchu, one observes many snow capped mountains in the distance. An Austrian lady told me that she thought the Andes were superior to her native Alps in both size and beauty. The beauty of Machu Picchu cannot be put into words and even pictures do not do it justice. The famous site is actually lower than Cusco at about 8000 feet (one and one half miles). The Inca Trail and Inca Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu is filled with Peruvians who cling to some of the culture and religion of the original Incas. There is also a strong Catholic presence here. Yes, it would be great grounds for evangelism. The Peruvians take pride in their cuisine and it is indeed very good. I had a hamburger in Machu Picchu prior to boarding a train for Cusco. It was good, and even a casual glance at the meat would tell one that it did not come from what we are use to in the USA. I will spare you from going into detail about some of their sources for meat. There are a plethora of Peruvian dishes that a visitor should try. We stayed in a hostel in Lima the first night, and in Machu Picchu the third night. They are basically abbreviated hotels. One gets their own bedroom/bath, yet common space is limited and there are rather tight quarters. I never heard the phrase “bed bugs” on the entire trip, yet I do not think I was the only one who thought of them. Praise God there were none. Our IMB hosts John and Jessica Phalm and from our end Jessica Thompson did a marvelous job coordinating the rather complex logistics during our first few days. Things went well because of prayer and careful planning. Peruvians are a bit insulted when we tell them that …”back in America we…” Their retort is “we are from South America.” It is best to identify our nation as the USA or “back in the states.” After a three day archaeological adventure that took us to eastern Peru and skirting the jungles of the Amazon River basin, we made our way back to Lima for the real purpose of our trip— a solid week of mission work and evangelism.

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