The locals, I know, exist on even less than I do. I see communities of square concrete blocks, corrugated metal roofs kept on with nothing but some rocks. The empty squares of hole-in-the-wall “windows” gape at me as I drive by. I wonder how the homes do when it rains. Electricity is rare; indoor plumbing unusual, climate control, unheard of — even in most hotels. People walk or take buses. Or don’t travel. The cost of gas for Peruvians is roughly the same as in the states — the price of gas is pegged to an international standard. But income isn’t. To own a car is a tremendous burden. The lines on people’s faces tell of lives much harder than my own. Stray dogs wander the streets; the spare energy to round them up and adopt them out or put them down — or neuter family animals that are cared for — just doesn’t exist.
Viewing entries in
When Hiram Bingham slashed his way through the jungle to this place on July 24, 1911, he found two local families still living in the city. They were growing food in the terraces. As is the way of most “discovered by European stories,” he did not truly find Machu Picchu. He merely exposed it to the world. The locals knew, and kept the secret from the Spaniards for 500 years.
My main reservation about travel classes is the carbon footprint we create by our activities when we do these classes, particularly flying. My purpose of this email is not to make you feel guilty but instead to inspire you to make the most out of the footprint that we left behind by doing this trip. We have discussed many of the major anthropogenic impacts on this glorious reef system. In addition, many of you have taken other environmental studies classes from me. We know that there are many environmentally based existential threats to humanity. Based on what I have seen in the scientific literature, we can realistically expect to keep the warming of earth's surface temperature to about 3 degrees centigrade.
In Qorikancha, a temple/museum/cathedral, I learn that the Spanish built the Church of Santo Domingo over-top the Incan Temple. Two earthquakes brought part of the church down. The masonry stone and arches crumbled. In the aftermath of the quake, the foundations of the Incan temple stood prominent and proud among the rubble.
In my other blog I talk from time to time about the process of making something while engaging in all the contiguous steps needed for the entire enterprise. In the course of that linked post, I discuss all the inputs that go into the butchering and breakdown of a sheep, from rendering pieces of flesh into jerky to tanning the hide. In that process, we collect our own tanning materials and even flint knap the cutting tools we use in the butchering process.
Talk is cheap. So is gas--for now.