Monday, 28 July 2008

Still In darkest Peru

First trip over and now in Lima waiting for the second group to arrive. Lima is far different today than it was 3 weeks ago, though neither day could be classed as normal!

3 weeks ago we arrived at the start of a General strike, we managed to get north before all the roads were closed, the strike was started by the miners but it ended up covering the whole country for 3 days, as a bit of a political spotter it was a good way to start the trip but was quite difficult to work out the level of support for the strike. The unions seemed able to cut off each town by putting in barricades to stop traffic but the demonstartions/ protest marches each day seemed to have little support. Walls were also covered with graffiti, with many of the slogans seemed to be aimed at not wanting the strike to be taken over by the communists.

As you enter each town the walls are often painted with political messages and the names of those seeking election as Mayor or local, regional or national representitive.

Today is different as it is National Independance day- 28th July. Since we have been here, we have noticed that each house has a Peru flag outside it, yesterday we found out that each house/ shop has to fly the flag for a month before Independance day, not that the people mind as they take great pride in this day and many wear a small rosette badge on their clothes to celebrate the day. Yesterday in the main square they changed the fountain from water to Pico, the local drink- large queus formed to get their free Pisco drink! Though it was day of celebration, it was noticable that at the corner of each square was placed an anti-riot vehicle or a water cannon and around the sqaure were groups of armed military style police. Then again Lima is a city of varied life styles, in the beach area an apartment sells for $400,000 and this is for the smallest one available, but at the smae time many of the 9 million population live in small huts placed on sandy hills that are not much more than pre fabricated sheds. But what has been the highlight of the trip is the friendleness of the Peruvian people, from the city of Lima to the northern villages to the former Inca stronghold of Cusco, definately a county to visit.

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