Wednesday, June 26, 2013


My hosts- Marsue, Susana & Ima
Andreas, Claudia, Luis Antonia
As always the best part of any trip, is meeting old friends and making new ones. This trip was "quieter" than the last, and we did not venture out as much, but this gave us the chance to "catch-up" with those we really came to see. The children, some now in their teens, have grown into lovely young people and are a joy to be with. Most speak English, Marsu and Andreas being the most fluent in conversation.  One of the "high-lights", tho not in a positive way, were the string of break-ins in the neighborhood where we were staying in Piura. There were four in the neighborhood within a week, all by the same men, who had a car and were armed. The 2nd was at Lucio and Elena's  while Judy and the housekeeper were upstairs. The men used a huge instrument, trying to break thru the thick wrought iron gates. Fortunately, a neighbor heard them and yelled. Police were called, and Lucio had the gate so reinforced the next day, it is now hard for anyone to open.

When Judy and I returned from Chaparri, the banditos had struck again across the street and there was an armed guard at the corner (not unusual in the more affluent neighborhoods). Of the four homes struck, in broad day, one was ransacked. Needless to say, all were on pins and needles!

Outdoor concert by students
The first week we were in Piura, was festivals galore. I was able to attend several concerts with the family, the best being by the college students themselves.  The Piurianas are famous for their music and it is so easy to get caught up in their rhythm.

Next came Corpus Christi  Mass and Processions. It was inspiring to see so many thousands praying. Students lined the walkways, wearing white gloves and holding candles or Star-War like wands that glowed.

Corpus Christi Procession
The next week was a grand festa at the girls school for Father's Day- almost a bigger celebration than in the USA.  Each class did a dance of a different country and in many cases the girls were as good as professionals.  The costumes were colorful, and the music wonderful.

Ima in her Spanish flaminco dress
30 flaminco dancers
One Sunday after Mass, and a Chinese dinner (this family's favorite) we went to the beach at Colon, about and hour's drive west of Piura. Needless to say, whenever I hit the ocean I am home! It is winter now in Peru so not many people at the seaside- which was nice for us!

Family at Colon

In the shade at Colon

Another highlight of the trip was a visit to a ranch which raises the PERVUVIAN PASO HORSE. The hacienda, Los Ficus, is south of Lima in the Lurin Valley. To get to this marvelous place, one travels through slums, rural villages, cultivated fields, and small towns.

Los Ficus

The Peruvian Paso is a breed of light pleasure saddle horse known for its smooth ride. It is distinguished by a natural, four-beat, lateral gait called the paso llano (a side walk). Instead of a trot, the Peruvian Paso performs an ambling four beat gait between the walk and the canter.

The hacienda

 It is a lateral gait, in that it has four equal beats and is performed laterally- left hind, left fore, right hind, right fore. Intrstingly enough, when performing they most often us the music from the area of Piura, as the beat of that music perfectly fits the gait of this horse. This characteristic gait was utilized for the purpose of covering long distances over a short period of time without tiring the horse or rider. The gait is natural and does not require extensive training. Peruvian Paso foals can be seen gaiting alongside their dams within a few hours of their birth.

A yearling on the lung line

We watched all stages of training
The gait supplies essentially none of the vertical bounce that is characteristic of the trot, and hence posting (moving up and down with each of the horse's footfalls) is unnecessary. It is also very stable, as the execution of the gait means there are always two, and sometimes three, feet on the ground. Because the rider feels no strain or jolt, gaited horses such as the Peruvian Paso are often popular with riders who have back trouble.

Smooth-gaited horses, generally known as Palfreys, existed in the Middle Ages. Peruvian Pasos trace their ancestry to these ambling Jennets, which contributed strength and stamina and to the glorious Andalusians which added style, conformation and action. Horses arrived in South America during the Spanish Conquest, beginning with the arrival of Pizarro in 1531.

These small, yet elegant, horses are bred for their gentle temperament and spirit and training starts before they are a year old.  We were able to see the stages of training, beginning at  eight months of age on a long line.  We spent a  lovely afternnoon at the hacienda, enjoying these beautiful creatures and a true Peruvian meal, Pisco sours included.

Dancer & horse

Not sure who is more beautiful

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