Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
90Trip End Aug 14, 2009
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On our first day, relaxing in the square, we were treated to The Beatles 'Magical Mystery Tour' played on Peruvian Pipes. 'Hey Jude' sounds really good.
Legend has it that the name "Arequipa" was coined by the Incas. The story goes that Inca leader Mayta Capac & his soldiers camped there, when breaking camp some asked if they could stay & he replied "Ari quepay", which in local Quechua means "Yes, stay here". Sounds like a load of old bull to me.
The first inhabitants did some drawings on some walls 8,000 years ago, Spanish Conquistadores built a city here in 1540 & now it's a UNESCO Heritage site.
The traffic in Arequipa is manic, hundreds of little yellow Daewoo taxis perpetually circling the one way system hoping to pick up fares. When the drivers want to attract you, they play sirens which replicate police cars, ambulances or swanee whistles - most confusing.
Nobody gives way at junctions & pedestrians take their life in their hands when crossing the road. There are Zebra Crossings, but I think the white strips are only there to make it easier to mop up the blood.
Monastery of Santa Catalina
The monastery was severely damaged by earthquakes in 1958 & 1960, restored & opened to the public in 1970.
We had our first Pisco Sour here, it's very similar to a Margareta, quite refreshing. I also discovered a new cocktail - The "Machu Picchu" which is Pisco (the local fire water), Orange, Mint & Grenadine.
Juanita - The Ice Maiden (sorry no pictures - they were banned)
We went to a museum & saw a fascinating exhibition of 'Juanita - the Ice Maiden'.
This was about a chance discovery in 1995, of the mummified remains of a 500 year old human sacrifice, at the top of Ampato Volcano.
It was discovered by Johan Reinhard, an anthropologist, when a nearby volcano erupted in 1995 & showered hot ash on Ampato, melting the ice at top & releasing "Juanita". They were very lucky that the mummy had only been exposed for 3 weeks & was still frozen when discovered.
The human sacrifice was a beautiful young Inca girl of about 12 - 14 years of age who had been taken from Cusco by Inca Priests up the 6,380m high volcano, to appease the Gods. This was a difficult climb even with modern equipment but it was accomplished by this young girl. They think she was drugged then killed with blow to head & laid in the grave in foetal position together with gold & silver offerings.
Incas sacrificed young girls to appease the mountain gods & prevent natural disasters.
Girls were selected for sacrifice at an early age & trained in a special sanctuary in Cusco. They were being prepared for the moment when they were to become Gods themselves.
The Incas thereby had a supply of maidens ready to sacrifice when disasters struck.
(In modern times, this sacrificial function is generally carried out at the High School Prom.)
Juanita is currently 'resting' from the exhibition (her place has been taken by one of the other mummies) & is being studied by scientific teams who are investigating her genealogy, diet, viruses & bacteria that affected her.
Since this discovery, several other mummies have been found on other mountains throughout the Andes but none in such good condition.