Friday, November 27, 2015

The Bucket List gets shorter every day!

The Battle of Junín was a military engagement of the Peruvian War of Independence, fought in the highlands of the Junín Region on August 6, 1824. The preceding February the royalists had regained control of Lima, and having regrouped in TrujilloSimón Bolívar in June led his rebel forces south to confront the Spanish under Field Marshal José de Canterac. The two armies met on the plains of Junín, a desolate place on the altiplano.
Note:  Unfortunately, Bolívar himself couldn't attend, being laid up with tuberculosis nearby. (He may well have died from the disease at a later time.)
The battle is commemorated by a 30+ meter high (about 100 ft.) obelisk on the lonely, windy plains at over 14,000 feet altitude.  We have passed it on the Central Highway, oh, about 50 times, usually going at about 60+ mph, and have commented numerous time, "Oh, when we get time, we need to visit."  It is way out there, further than this looks, and we have never had the time.
Until last week, that is.  We finally pulled up to the gate, paid our 20 soles (about $6), picked up Carlos the guide, and arrived.
To our surprise, there was a small museum in the base of the obelisk.
Carlos gave us a detailed explanation of the murals, and how the battle went.
Interestingly, in the end, it was really more of a skirmish than a big battle, with less than 2,500 involved, with about 400 casualties.  However, the Spanish took off, and their decline in the region began.
BUT, meanwhile...
So there you have it!  One more checkmark on the ol' bucket list!
We hope that you are having luck getting all those important things done in your life also.
Dave & Paula

Friday, November 20, 2015

One man's noxious weed... another's fragrant exotic planting.
For much of my life, either by own decision or by order of my parents and others, I have sought to destroy the evil vine, honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum).  Without exaggeration, I know that I have untangled and yanked more than a ton of this stuff in my 61 years.
Not only does it invade everything, and grow like a weed (!), it can even strangle other plants in its enthusiasm.
Imagine my surprise to learn that here in altitudinous, cold Huancayo, where it rarely freezes but threatens all the time, this herbivorous bane of my existence is not only encouraged, but is sold in nurseries!!  It has wisely disguised itself with an intoxicating aroma, and by adopting the soothing and disingenuous name, "madre de la selva," or "mother of the jungle."  It has done this in order to be taken in and nurtured, before leaping upon and strangling the region.
We hope that in your part of the world, weeds are understood for what they are.
Dave & Paula

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ooof! Have we really descended that far?!

Prepare for some serious whining.
We're on a nine-day road trip, by far not our longest.  It began with a Stake Conference at the other end of the Mission.  This consists of three two-hour long meetings over a weekend, combining five to twelve congregations of the Church.  As usual, I spoke in all three, Paula in two.
The next morning, we held a Zone Conference for the missionaries in that same city, then hot-footed it across the Mission for another Zone Conference on Wednesday.
Then I got sick.  Too many hands shaken over too many days.  (See "viral particles" below).
I tried to get work done at the hotel, I really did.  Tomorrow we have another Stake Conference for which I need to prepare.  There are reports and letters to answer.
So what did we do?  What else do you do when you hit the bottom of the curve?
That's correct.  You watch cat videos on YouTube.  While the missionaries have rules against using the internet for anything other than letters and Church information, we, sadly, can watch cat videos.
After feebly chuckling for about half an hour, we looked at each other and cried, "What are we doing?!" and went to bed.
We hope that your lives have found greater meaning than ours at the moment.  On the other hand, you've just got see, "Why Cats Are Afraid of Cucumbers."  It's a classic.
Dave & Paula 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Useful signs, Peru

When we were in Bogotá, it took a little while to recognize the street signs.  Here in Peru, we've had to learn some new ones.  Some are obvious:
Others, though also pretty clear, haven't been obeyed since cars could even GO 55 kilometers/hour.
Some are unique to the region.  Honestly, if I saw any signs warning me of alpacas crossing the road back in North Carolina, I wasn't paying attention.
Not sure on this one.  I remember a James Bond movie where his car shot stuff at the bad guys.  Maybe they mean, like Jaime Bondo or something down here.
There must be a lot of wild teenagers in Peru.  This ones instructs them not to burn rubber on the road.
They are not kidding with this one.  When it rains here, the mountains have a habit of shedding their attachments.  It would be prudent to make like the little figure and skeedaddle.
We're always learning something down here.
We hope you follow the instructions on the signs wherever YOU live.
Dave & Paula