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New World glory:

September 18, 2013 by Uncategorized No Comments

“Make you feel better,” he said. “You stay in bed today, senor. Not good to go out Good Friday night anyway. Christ dies today. Until He rises to heaven on Sunday, there is no one to punish men’s acts. Thieves and drunks will be out. Maybe terrorists too, you beware, senor.”

THAT EVENING, feeling somewhat better, I attended Ayacucho’s Good Friday night procession highlight of the year in this Andean religious center famed for its 30 churches. Just off the Plaza de Armas, I elbowed my way into a dense crowd waiting for the life-size image of Christ to be borne out of a church in a ceremonial glass coffin.

Just then—it was exactly 7:32 p.m.—there was a tremendous blast, as if two subway trains had collided directly beneath our feet. I took three steps and froze. The man behind me broke into wailing prayer. For three or four seconds the old stone church towers swayed and shuddered, Then, a moment of eerie stillness, followed by a cacophony of screams. And, in fact, that’s what it was measuring, we learned later, 5. 1 on the Richter scale, this, however, was not one of the earthquakes Brady had predicted. Damage in the city itself was slight, unlike the nearby villages where eight persons were killed by the quake and a dozen more were injured.

DWARFED by the vastness of South America, Peru has a vastness of its own. Superimposed on a map of the United States, it would stretch from Chicago and New York City in the north to Miami in the south. AREA: 1,285,216 sq km (496,225 sq mi), third largest nation on the continent. POPULATION: 17,031,000, fourth on the continent. Nearly half—mostly whites and mestizos—are concentrated along the coast. The rest are Indians, mainly Quechua and Aymara subsistence farmers in the mountains. CAPITAL: Lima, pop. 4,738,000. RELIGION: Roman Catholic. LANGUAGE: Spanish.

Dressed to fill Lima’s stylish role, Peru’s 1981 Senorita Playa (Miss Beach), Paulina Muro (above left), models fashions in Camino Real Shopping Center (above). True to its translation—royal road—the mall in the San Isidro section draws travelers on the high road of life. Old World glitter: Bullfighting roared into Peru with Pizarro. Lima’s Plaza de Acho, oldest bullring in the Americas, draws matadors (above) and aficionados from Spain and Latin America.

New World glory: The “lost city” of Machu Picchu graces a lofty berth high above the Urubamba River (overleaf). For 500 years the Inca ruins lay concealed, until found by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and explored with help from the National Geographic Society. Somehow the outpost escaped detection by Pizarro’s forces, which in 1533 sacked and plundered nearby Cuzco, the Incas’ royal city.

Anguish written on her face, a woman in the Andean village of Paschal mourns the loss of loved ones in the earthquake that struck the Ayacucho region on Good Friday, 1981. Repeated aftershocks drove terrified villagers out of their crumbling adobe houses to set up makeshift straw huts and tents in the main square.

In 1970 residents of Hungary, north of Lima, had no forewarning when a massive earthquake broke loose a glacier. The subsequent avalanche buried Hungary Piety perseveres as celebrants at Ayacucho’s Good Friday night procession last April transport an ornate glass coffin containing a statue of Christ. Only 20 minutes before, the Andean religious center had been violently jarred by an earthquake, which measured more than 5 on the Richter scale.