The new and expensive cultural center of Huaraz: half of the money to construct it, half of the money in the pockets of officials.

Here we want to talk about our second home Huaraz (our first home being our frosted and freezing tent), the small but swarming city at the foot of Cordillera Blanca that smells like roasted chicken after nightfall. It hosted us one third of the time before and after each climb and played well its role of oasis of bakery, sleep in beds, food with vitamins, repair shops, wireless internet, hot shower, human contact and more…

Debris flow hazard map of Huaraz. Computed with RAMMS?

The urban crevasse… dangerous road work in Huaraz

Huaraz is the touristic center of Cordillera Blanca but not only. The region is rich thanks to mining and the authorities do their best to spend the public money in the loudest possible way. All officials drive brand new Toyota pick-up trucks and at the time of our stay (summer 2012), they were renewing all road surfaces almost simultaneously.

Cultural activities in Huaraz. Razor blades are fixed to the legs of the animals to accelerate the outcome.

As every day, a streetband (Guggenmusik like) from a neighbouring village celebrates a local holiday…

…Virgen de Chavin, Virgen del Carmen, Virgen de Candelaria, playing the same songs and drinking lots of beers.

Huaraz is an outpost of modernity and urban life. In the lateral valleys at the foothill of Cordillera Blanca, people live in small villages and are almost self-sustaining. They speak quechua, women wear the traditional Andean costume and carry babies or wood or food in a coloured piece of cloth thrown over the shoulders. Mules are the every day means of transport. In addition to providing for their needs they grow flowers (for export) and eucalyptus trees and farm sheep and cows.

The craftsgirl who forged our “estacas” (also the only reliable one).

Our hauling bag custom-made by Yuraq Janka.

Repair shop in the hotel room. Plugging holes with lama slime.

The streets of Huaraz are built according to a square pattern. The “collectivo” terminals, on opposite sides mark the limit of the city center. The “Plaza de Armas” (there is one in each Peruvian city) is flanked by bank branches and the decorative tourism police station. Following the Avenida Mariscal Luzusriaga lined with archways that shelter hawkers of all kinds, you end up in the market quarter with its food stores, slaughterhouses and canteens. On the way, you have passed by the Casa de Guias and the Parque Ginebra with its shops and restaurants, the only very hideout of gringos eager for inflated prices.

The cost of laundry goes with the weight…of dirt?

Having a shave done is an experience.

Playing billiard in a room with 20 pool tables, 100 teenage guys and 0 girl.

The city center is full of restaurants or stands selling food. They can be categorized as follows: “pollerias” for roasted chicken, french fries and salad, open in the evening, “cebicherias”, for raw fish salads and other fish specialities, open only at noon, “chifas” for Chinese food, “pasticerias” for empanadas, hamburgers and pastry, traditional restaurants proposing all the same menus: soup and salad with either lomo saltado (beef) or picante de cuy (guinea pig) or chicharrones de pollo (chicken) or trucha frita (truit) and vegetarian restaurants (we found three in the whole city).

Lost: three guinea pigs going by the name of Nifnif, Nafnaf, Noufnouf. Last seen near the market.

Fantastic cakes!



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