Piura

Catacaos Travel Blog

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Earthquake News
The news all over the TV when I arrived in Piura was the earthquake that had just happened.  It took place in southern Peru when Angela and I were on the bus, less than 15 minutes from Piura.  We didn’t feel a thing and I didn’t know anything had happened until I tried to make a phone call and the lines were all down.  Passing by a tv in a restaurant I saw the news and watched shocked.  The epicenter was south of Lima, and the cities most affected were Ica, Pisco and another nearby.  Churches collapsed on the day of the feast of the Assumption, when many were in church at mass.  Houses fell and much of the area was devasted.
Cathedral
  Early forecasts were that about 40 had perished but that number increased to over 500 after a few days of recovery efforts.  The quakes registered almost 8.0 on the Richter scale, the strongest earthquakes in Peru in 50 years.  It’s a wonder the destruction wasn’t worse.  The earthquakes in Ancash in 1970 were not as strong but the loss of life was many many times more and the destruction was worse.  I had planned to visit Pisco and Ica as a tourist but it’s clear now that with so much infrastructure damaged or destroyed, that won’t be possible.  Instead I will see if I can do something for the relief effort.  There are relief tents set up all over Peru accepting donations of money, clothes and food and medicines.  People are donating blood, and internation relief is starting to arrive.
Cathedral
  But there will be months of work of recuperation to be done.

After the news I quietly got something to eat and called it a night.  The hostel had a super saggy mattress and by morning my back was killing me.  Not that I slept much from the noise coming from the room next door and the walls were paper thin, almost as if the couple were in my own room.  The sound even filtered through the life-saving earplugs Sadhbh had bought for me in Huaraz.  I resolved to change hostels in the morning, despite the cheap price of California Hostel.  It wasn’t worth the lovebirds and decades old beds. 

There wasn’t a whole lot to see in Piura beyond a handful of museums and churches.
Altar in Cathedral
  It could be easily done in a day.  Cathedral in the morning and then church and religious museum of El Carmen and then Vicus museum.  Grau museum and a couple more churches in the late afternoon to early evening.  Only problem was that El Carmen was closed and the Vicus museum was closed as well and wouldn’t reopen until October.  I tried the Carmen church later in the afternoon and talked with some security guards on the street and then a guy nearby, and finally my persistence paid off.  There was a man selling books in the plaza who had keys to the church and he agreed to open it for me.  There was a very nice religious art collection there but it didn’t take long to see.  The Grau museum likewise, was very small.  It’s the restored house of Admiral Grau, the hero of the Peruvian navy in the battle of Angamos with Chile.
Plaza de Armas
  Peru lost the battle but Grau was a hero and died in the fight.  He is revered all over Peru to this day (Fico told me in Lima that he knows his great grandson, who is a chef with Astrid and Gaston in Bogota, Colombia).  The house and museum was nicely restored and it was pleasant to walk through and see the antique furniture and personal effects of the admiral. 

That was about it for Piura.  I enjoyed just sitting and watching people walk by.  There is a very relaxed feeling to Piura, and in the couple days I was there I noticed that the streets were less full with cars and that there were fewer people out and about.  The ones that were strolled along without hurry.  Piura is boring, but relaxing.  I didn’t mind that there wasn’t much to see. 

p.s.  Girls in Piura are the prettiest I've seen yet in Peru ;)


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Earthquake News
Earthquake News
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cathedral
Altar in Cathedral
Altar in Cathedral
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
Dove Statue
Dove Statue
Guys playing cards
Guys playing cards
Mosaic
Mosaic
Picanteria
Picanteria
Plaza Grau
Plaza Grau
Monument to Admiral Grau
Monument to Admiral Grau
Battle of Angamos vs. Chile
Battle of Angamos vs. Chile
El Carmen church
El Carmen church
The Carmen Church - Christ
The Carmen Church - Christ
Apostles
Apostles
Banner
Banner
St. Hyacinth, Polish saint
St. Hyacinth, Polish saint
Chair used by Pope JP II
Chair used by Pope JP II
Collection of crucifixes
Collection of crucifixes
Piura river...polluted and dirty
Piura river...polluted and dirty
Hole in the sidewalk
Hole in the sidewalk
Plaza Pizarro
Plaza Pizarro
Catacaos
photo by: Belluomo