I travelled to Arequipa (southern Peru) in 1998.

My favourite stop was at the Colca Canyon. This canyon is reportedly the deepest in the world and thought to be twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA! Unlike most of the Grand Canyon, portions of the Colca canyon are habitable, with pre-Colombian terraced fields supporting agriculture up to this date.

There's a mandatory stop for all travellers at 'Cruz del Condor' (Condor's Cross), have you guessed what you can find there? ;)

Andean condors. The condor population of South America is unfortunately dwindling, but in the Colca Canyon, visitors can see them at fairly close range. I did, ten years ago.

I remember the place was crowded, some young people were loud and annoying, but finally got quiet when the first condors appeared. SILENCE. I remeber a couple of them flying like if they were suspended by a thread, magestic, huge, and I could see them... from above!

I'll try to find some of the old pics I wrote about in my previous post, 'film' ones, VERY poor quality, far and blury, but precious memories of an espectacular place.

My sister went to Arequipa last weekend, she works in tourism and had to go for an 'inspection' of services... Work or pleasure? I sooo wanted to jump in her bag and visit such place again, but I couldn't, bag was too small (stupid thing! grrr)

She brought something for my mother: a set of table mats. Yes. The ones you see here. There are hand made by women from the Colca Canyon. Ethnias such as the Coyaguas and Cabanas have been doing it for centuries. The lucky ones work with old machines, but most traditional pieces are hand stitched. The work is not perfect, and that's what makes these handcrafts so precious.

Like their mothers and grandmothers, women from those villages or valleys pay attention to their surroundings and make flora and fauna the main characters of their lovely artworks.

My sister brought back a little piece of it, she picked 'birds', and personally, I think she made a good choice (Looove the hummingbirds!!!)


Markus Jais said...

I can imagine that the sight of the huge Conder is amazing.
I have a similar feeling when I watch the huge Cinerous Vultures (wingspan up to 295cm, femails weight up to 12kg) in Spain. Massive and fascinating birds.
The population has increased dramatically during the last 20 years in Spain (now way more than 1.000 pairs).

It's sad to read that the Condor population is declining.

Q said...

Dear Mel,
I am so happy I found you!
I also am a avid bird watcher and photgrapher! My main blog, Q's Corner, has all sorts of pictures of the birds in my backyard.
Thank you for your comment on Walking In Beauty. I will look for those grains you mentioned. Learning about new to me foods is very exciting!
These placemats your sister brought to your mother are very beautiful!
The Condors must be amazing. I have only seen pictures. I too am in love with the Hummingbirds.
Wonderful getting to know you.

mon@rch said...

I always love finding these neat bird related items! Thanks for sharing and glad to see Q's Corner has found you! She has a wonderful blog!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I just love this kind of art. I have seen some pillows made in the same manner. I have often thought I wouldlike to try to make something like this but I am not patient enough for this kind of work.

I want to see the Condors in the Grand Canyon. Sometime soon I hope to go there.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mel,
Those table mats are beautiful!
How fortunate you have been to see a condor! I have never seen one but would love to some day.

Mel said...

Hi Markus, q, mon@rch, lisa and ruthiej!

Markus, I know there are a few projects focusing on recovering andean condor's populations, but couldn't find published serious works about them :(

Sherry (aka q!) What a joy to read your posts! Hope you can find the kiwicha, I'll try to find you some info related to exciting foods that are also healthy ;)

Mon@rch, next time I travel to Arequipa (hopefully soon!!!) I'll get a bunch of stuff to send bird-bloggers around the world, so, stay tunned! hahaha... I love this stuff and hopefully I'll be able to share it with friends in the future (not only the bird part but the culture!)

Lisa, same as to mon@rch! I'll start making a list of bird-bloggers to send cool stuff too when I'm able to do so :)
Maybe it will finally inspire you to try your own ;)

Ruthiej, I've seen condors, but you've seen many wonderful birds that I haven't, so, we are kind of 'even' hahaha :)