Saturday, June 25, 2016

Getting to know Huaraz

Huaraz is a small town in Peru (120,000 people) about 250 miles northeast of Lima that lies at 10,000 feet in the tropical zone (10 degrees south of the ecuator) -- probably one of the few places where you find palm trees growing at this altitude!  It starts to get cold as soon as the sun sets, down to about 40 degrees in the middle of the night, but then warms up quickly after the sun comes up, to a little over 70 degrees.  And the sun is intense at this altitude, so it feels much hotter than 70.  If you need to go out early, you put on a couple of extra layers and then pull them off within an hour or two.  White skinned folks like me have to wear sunscreen when I'm outside for long periods of time.

We're in the dry season now, which lasts roughly from April to November.  It's just a few degrees colder than the rainy season, and the town is full of tourists interested in hiking or mountain climbing.  During the rest of the year, it's sunny in the morning and rains for a few hours in the afternoon, sometimes intensely.  The average daily rainfall during that season is about a quarter of an inch.  The mountains, which are now a dull light brown, will become a lively green, with flowers blooming everywhere.

We've been walking around several neighborhoods, looking for a house or apartment and asking friends for any leads that they have.  There are a couple of places in the center of town where people pay to place notices -- about cars for sale, houses or apartments for sale or rent, etc. -- but for the most part the only way to find places for rent is to walk the streets and look for notices posted on buildings, or ask people who live in the area.  We plan to rent for several months until we get to know the area and find a place that we want to buy.  There are plenty of places for rent, but most are on the second or third floor -- not good for Sonia -- and are not furnished.  We have to go back to Lima on Monday to continue the immigration process for me and Marcos, and we'll probably make one more "short" trip here before we move here for good.

Plaza de Armas (main square)

A woman selling freshly squeezed orange juice near the plaza.  She's peeling each orange first in order to be able to squeeze more juice from it.

Typical adobe houses in Yarush, a community just above Huaraz

Marcos's favorite playground near our hotel

Huascarán, the tallest peak in Peru, as the sun is about to set behind me

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