Friday, 24 October 2014

If the (strawberry pink) jumper fits

In a country not short on spectacular landscapes,  for me the Mantaro Valley,  in Peru´s Central Andean Highlands, is one of the most beautiful.  I may be biased.  This is where my husband was born. These are the mountain streams where he learnt to swim, and the rural setting chimes with my own cherished memories of a childhood spent roaming the Devonshire moors in Southern England.  

La Huaycha  Hernan Ponce Sanchez
Although at more than 3,000 metres above sea level, the adventures and tales told here, like most things in Peru, seem more dramatic, more vibrant, shot through with the Ponce family´s own special brand of magic realism.

Tio Hernan was born here in the small town of Concepción, and the play of light over the valley´s streams and terracotta roofed villages is a favourite theme in the young artist's paintings. 
Huaytapallana- Morada Campesina 
 Hernan Ponce Sanchez

Tello also visited and studied the valley on various occasions. In 1942 the expedition to the Alto Urubamba river basin stopped off for three days in Huancayo, the region's largest town, before heading southwards, and Hernan tells us this story of how a singular purchase the archaeologist made there was to bring unexpected consequences further along the road. 

If the (strawberry pink) jumper fits
In which it is proven that first impressions can be deceptive

On the eve of our continuing journey southwards from Huancayo, Tello asked some of us to accompany him to purchase some items, one of which being a woolen jumper. And so it was that Mejía Xesspe, Pedro Rojas Ponce, myself and the archaeologist found ourselves, late that afternoon, on Calle Real, the busiest commercial avenue in all of this central region of Peru.