Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Travel the World - Peru

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...


Peru is in western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile to the south and Ecuador to the north. It is also bordered in the north by Columbia, in the east by Brazil, and in the southeast by Bolivia.

Peru is slightly smaller than the state of Alaska in the USA - and almost twice the size of Texas. Peru is about twice the size of France.

Peru has a coastline of 1,500 miles.

Lima is the capital of Peru. 

There are 43 languages spoken in Peru.

Peru is home to the oldest continuously working University in the Americas.

The Andean Condor, found in Peru, is the largest flying bird in the world. Interestingly, it can fly for 100 miles without flapping its wings.

Peru holds the world records for the maximum number of birds sighted in one place and the greatest number seen in a single day.

The Amazon Rainforest covers almost two-thirds of Peru.

The Amazon River begins in Peru.

One can swim with pink dolphins in Peru. These unique creatures only live in the Amazon River basin. When born, they are actually grey and slowly turn pink as they get older, which results in dolphins in all different shades of pink.

Three-fourths of the world's Alpaca population lives in Peru. With the total global population estimated at 10 million, that means there are more than 7.5 million Alpacas in Peru.

The Peruvian Inca Orchid is one of those dogs that is so ugly, it’s cute. It’s got a hairless, often spotted body then a tuft of white or grey hair on top of its head, making it look like a funny old man. This breed is often 20 inches in height, weighs about 20 pounds and lives upwards of 10 years. They are quite affordable at a cost of $500 for a puppy and are known to be affectionate and gentle. This is a breed that is more intelligent than most and is often used as an obedience, hunting or sighting dog.

Peru is the birthplace of the humble potato so it's not surprising there are more than 4,000 varieties found in the country.

It is widely believe that the small coastal town of Huanchaco Peru is the birthplace of surfing. Local fishermen still ride the surf back to shore with their daily catches while straddling their caballitos de totoras (little reed horses). These handcrafted traditional reed boats date back at least 2,000 years.

At about 6,800 feet in elevation, Cerro Blanco is considered to be one of the world's highest sand dunes, if not the highest. It is located between the Pacific Coast and the Andes Mountains in one of the most arid regions on earth. Although it takes three to four hours to hike to the top of this massive sand pile, sandboarding (think snowboarding on sand) back to the base only takes about thirty minutes.

The deepest canyon in the world, Cotahuasi Canyon, is also found in Peru. At 11,004 feet deep, it is almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

Salt farming in Peru is still done the same way as the Incas. What happens is subterranean salty water is let out into a patchwork of pools, where it then evaporates, leaving the salt behind. It’s a remarkable sight, like a yellow version of rice paddies, in a way. Each family has its own pool!

The main economic activities in Peru are mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.

Among Peru's main exports are: copper, lead, since, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, coffee, asparagus and fish products.

Peruvians celebrate New Year’s by gifting one another yellow underpants on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck in the coming year. It is tradition to wear them inside out (underneath clothing) until midnight, then flip them around at the stroke of midnight.

It takes between 500 and 600 hours and up to six months to spin, dye, and weave a traditional Peruvian poncho. Peruvians generally receive one poncho upon becoming an adult and it is expected to last a lifetime. Nearly every weaving technique known today was invented by Peruvians – and all of them were invented by 3000 B.C..

There is a lot of corn in Peru. It’s not just the yellow kind that you know and love. There is pink, black, purple, white, and orange – a multicolored spectrum of corn. 

People live on Peru's Lake Titicaca (the world's highest navigable lake) on floating islands made of grass.

Peru is home to over 1,700 species of birds, over 500 species of mammals and over 300 species of reptiles. Of the 500 mammal species about 100 are threatened or endangered.

Among the endangered animals of Peru are the Andean bear, the pudu, the jaguar, also known as otorongo and the giant otter.

The vicuna is the national animal of Peru.

There's a rainbow mountain in Peru. Vinicunca is a mountain that’s striped with a load of different colors.

Peru has a hanging cliffside hotel. 
The Sacred Valley of Peru offers its visitors a rare opportunity to stay in a luxury capsule that hangs from the top of a mountain. Here, one can eat, sleep, and laze around in a transparent hanging room and absorb the magical vistas of the mystic valley. Access to the Skylodge Adventure Suites is, however, not very easy. People must climb, hike, and zipline through the mountains and forests to reach the hotel.

There is also a Treehouse hotel in the Peruvian Amazon. Since 90% of all life in the rain forest is found in the treetops, so literally you are living in the richest plant and animal habitat on Earth when you stay in a private bungalow in the Tree house Lodge. 

There is a Floating Restaurant and swimming pool in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon River.

You can tell the relationship status of a native Quechua woman by her hat. Married women wear straw hats, where single women wear knitted caps.

The Quechua people still practice trial marriage in Peru, where women and men choose partners and can end their relationship whenever they so wish. The woman is free to marry again at any time, and the children resulting from the union are regarded as belonging to the community instead of the couple.

Before a Peruvian couple can marry, they must enter a period of servancy, meaning to serve one another. That means the woman works with her mother-in-law and the man with his father-in-law. This is seen as a test of their readiness for marriage. During this time, they may sleep together under the same roof, usually with the man’s family, and the couple usually doesn’t marry until they conceive a child, showing their union is fruitful.

Peru is home to the Puya Raimondii, the world's tallest flowering plant. Towering over humans, a bromeliad, (relative of the pineapple) can take up to a century or more to bloom. In full bloom, each plant flaunts up to 8,000 white flowers resembling lilies. It blooms only once in its lifetime and then dies.

Peru is the sixth largest producer of gold. Peru produces over 162 tons of gold a year, worth over 7 trillion dollars.

Peru is now making one of the most expensive coffees in the world by picking arabica beans out of the dung of a long-nosed jungle critter called the coati, a tropical cousin of the raccoon. 

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Peru... There are penguins in Peru. These Humboldt penguins are found along the Pacific coast. The total world population of the Humboldt penguins is around 12,000 breeding pairs, with about 8,000 of the pairs in Chile and the other 4,000 pairs in Peru.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Punch Set: Stampin' UP Penguin Place stamped with VersaFine Clair Nocturne and Concord & 9th Marmalade Ink

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White, Recollections Black, and SU Pool Party and Pumpkin Pie CS

Stencil/Ink: Circle Stencil (unknown vendor) and Concord & 9th Aqua Sky Ink

Dies: Pink Fresh Diagonal Stitched Rectangle

Embellishments: Taylored Expressions Drop Tiny Diamonds

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