Friday, 7 August 2015


In that first gloomy winter in Peru, tio Hernan’s Anecdotes gave me a taste of just how much more there was to see and discover, beyond the grey skies of Lima and the confines of mother in law’s sofa.  

The book provided a kind of cheat sheet layman’s introduction to the country’s archaeological sites and rich cultural heritage - so much more than the tourist poster Inca citadel at Machu Picchu.  

But more than that, the stories give a unique human insight into tio Hernan’s hero ‘el sabio’. They show us Tello the man, rather than Tello the father of Peruvian archaeology.  

It seems Tello had his favourite chifa (Chinese restaurant) and he was partial to a good lomo saltado*, an iconic Peruvian – Chinese fusion dish which millions of Peruvians still love to sit down to in homes and restaurants all over the country today.

In which Hernan speculates on the curious origins of a strange expression

‘Korcholis’ was el sabio Tello’s favorite word for whenever he was impressed by something. The word could have been one of his daughter Elenita’s creations. She had rather a splendid repertory of unique words that he called on from time to time.  But I have another theory.