National Geographic : 1942 Aug
The Pith of Peru Pan American-Grace Airways, Inc. Soaring High above Arequipa Is Icy-topped El Misti This third largest city of Peru itself is 7,550 feet above sea level; the snowy summit of the volcano is over 11,500 feet higher. The gleaming white town is built of sillar, an easily cut porous lava (page 172). ward into heaps of almost inaccessible rocky wilderness. Worthless waste? Why, there was gold in those hills, and treasures of silver and copper and lead, and so on. Take the single example of that "impossible" Cerro de Pasco region. American-financed mines had reaped millions of dollars' worth of mineral wealth out of Cerro de Pasco, up there 15,000 feet high in the Andes! And I recall Salaverry, the next port of call after Talara, where the wonders of Peru began to dawn on me. I remember going ashore and taking a motorcar to Trujillo, a few miles inland, arriving in time to be doused with water at every stop, in a democratic celebration of the Carnival. My chauffeur laughed uproariously, until he got a pailful of Carnival spirit. An Archeological High Spot We drove out to Chan-Chan, one of the world's archeological high spots, which had been the capital of the great Chimui dynasty. One time it was a city of a quarter million, surrounded by a wall 40 feet high, a large part of which still remains. Palaces, temples, aqueducts, forts, big burial mounds-all were built of adobe mud, and still stand in impressive ruins after nearly 2,000 years.* I shall never forget Mollendo, port of the turbulent tide. There I was towed ashore on a tin-ore scow with scores of pelicans hitch hiking on its gunwales. A half dozen other passengers and I were hoisted in a wooden "basket" and dumped on the quay with an assortment of other American cargo. I turned to my seat mate and asked him if he could speak English. "That depends if you'll be understandin' me," he replied, with a rich Scotch burr. * See "Air Adventures in Peru" and "A Forgotten Valley of Peru," by Robert Shippee, NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC MAGAZINE, January, 1933, and January, 1934, respectively.