Saturday, July 18, 2009

Laramarca: The Pueblo

Laramarca: The Pueblo

Laramarca is a little pueblo tucked high, away in the Andes Mountains of the Huancavelica region of Peru. I am told it sits at around 3700 meters so the oxygen is thin which you notice with any activity where you exert yourself. In the main plaza you will find a beautifully kept common area with benches and fenced in grassy areas. It is bordered on its four sides by the municipal building, the church, the elementary school, and a bakery/cooking institute. The main plaza served as the meeting area for any events that required that the entire village gather together. In the two weeks that we were there we actually able to experience multiple town gatherings that discussed current concerning issues which eventually evolved into some late night celebration complete with fireworks, loud Peruvian music and drinking circles. While we are on the topic, there is one Peruvian tradition that I have not become quite used to and it is this idea of when you drink beers in groups you use one cup and one alcohol source to fill the cup. After you have finished your cup of beer lets say you dump out the foam and pass it on to the next person in the circle to repeat the process. I certainly partook in the ritual but with certain inhibitions. I am now even more concerned with ever present threat of the gripe (flu) nowadays.

Back to my description of Laramarca. The first thing I noticed about the plaza, beyond the immediate surrounding buildings, was the Mirador that looked down on pueblo from higher up on the mountain. On the third day or so I decided to hike up to it and see what it was all about. Essentially from below you see a large cross sitting next to a covered area isolated on the mountain. From the plaza you can tell that it offers the best view of the surroundings. I made my way through the village, up a picturesque wheat field and onto the man made platform known as the Mirador. One thing that Laramarca offers that you cannot put a value on is the incredible view of the Andes. The Mirador reinforced this fact by giving me a 360 degree view of the mountains and valleys that completely surrounded me. I took some photos but as is typical it is difficult to capture this natural beauty in a photograph. I never returned to the Mirador during my time in Laramarca because the first experience I had up there was so incredible.

Most of the buildings in Laramarca are made of Adobe with a few of the more prominent buildings in the plaza being constructed of bricks and mortar. Most of the buildings are homes to the locals with a majority of those doubling as a store to pick up items such as fruits, vegetables, snacks and drinks. The lady with whom Kate and I ate also offered restaurant services at the one humble table that filled the space of her store.

I had a very pleasant experience in this humble little pueblo. It had everything it needed, nothing more, nothing less. Every week or so a truck filled with supplies would arrive to the town allowing all the towns people to restock their shelves and provide determination to earn enough money just to survive. With that said I would like to go more into the people and lifestyle of Laramarca in my next entry.

Here are some photos from my time here:

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