Ayacucho: Photo impressions of the town
Photo story by Michael Palomino (March 2007)
Impressions of the town
Without speaking Spanish you cannot reach anywhere in the Sierra of Peru. There are missing such as many matters of course that you have to ask the population many times. For example there are hardly road signs. A printed plan of the town of a good editor does not exist. I was lucky to get a plan of the town from a little print office which included at least the names of the quarters, of the rivers and the names of the streets. But the bus lines, churches and the markets I had to draw in the plan...
Hospedaje / Hostal on Jiron 9 de Diciembre "Hospedaje Sebastian"
In Ayacucho it's seldom one can find the indication "Hotel" or "Hostal", but one can find more the indication "Hospedaje" ("hospice"). When the normal tourist does not know this he/she will hardly find a bed...
The hotel sector in Ayacucho in the price class between 20 and 40 Soles is absolutely bad. Mostly the cheap hotels in Ayacucho are administrated by young people who have no idea about repairs or handicraft, or the income is misused for private purpose. The house fronts seem to be good, but when one has installed in a room there occur big failing many times. By this it's possible that the common toilet does not function, that the shower only has cold water, that the shower has no curtain and that the whole bathroom will be wet when one takes a shower, that the toilet smells like a stable of pigs, that the hotel serves as a brothel in the night, that the windows hardly close, or that the beds are a catastrophe and make noise and droop, and besides also the sheets can be disrupt.
The young people who are administrating a hotel simply have no idea. Add to this when the hotel is on Jiron 9 December one has to be prepared for disco noise of the discotheque on this street: From Thursday until Sunday this discotheque on jiron 9 December makes noise until 4 o'clock in the morning and the basses come through the floor, with ministerial authorization of the mayor ("alcalde"). The claims of the hotel sector have no effect. It's clear that the hotels around the discotheque also have the function to be a one night stand place for the visitors of the discotheque, and these visitors don't consider and are setting the TV very loud to go on with the discotheque...
Within two weeks so I changed four times the hotel because of failures like this and there was always a big failure at the end. One hotel was with a neighbor with hens and three cocks so it was not possible to sleep since 4 o'clock in the morning. Also this can become a reason for a hotel change. For a good hotel in Ayacucho with a good sleep you have to spend little more money than in Lima.
Private hospitality is rare because the population mostly is that poor that they have nothing to offer. Many times the houses even don't have any cement floor...
Promotion boards of an Internet café on Jiron 9 December
There is much promotion in Ayacucho. But the normal Peruvian citizen hardly can buy anything of the promoted things. By this some Peruvians feel proud when they have a job only. But this is not written on any board.
Plaza de Armas, trash can / waste bin
The trash cans / waste bins in Ayacucho are only installed in the center of the town, on the Plaza de Armas and in the two pedestrian zones Jiron Asamblea and Jiron 28 de Julio. When one eats a banana for example one has to go to the pedestrian zone to get rid off the banana peel. The trash can / waste bin are constructed in a way so it rains into them and then are corroding. It seems that the trash cans / waste bins are constructed for the climate in Lima where it's never raining...
Trash cans / waste bins on the playground on Prolongacion Jiron Libertad
These two trash canes / waste bins are the only ones of my three months trip in Lima, Ayacucho and Cusco which give the idea of a waste separation. But the symbols for the compost separation are this little that one hardly can see them. And when one looks into the trash cans / waste bins one has to see that the population is not following the waste separation...
Hospedaje Caribe, window without putty
Generally the windows in Peru are a catastrophe and do not close. This can have different reasons. The window panes are not put right into the window frame, or the windows are this simple that the frame cannot close right, or the window is that old that it will be broken soon, or there are missing window panes etc. In the Hospedaje Caribe there were windows with putty broken down in most of the parts so the window panes were in danger to fall out of the frame. The report of missing putty to the staff was NOT followed by a repair.
All in all the windows in Ayacucho let through wind and cold much.
In Cusco I could find the same miserable circumstances of windows in private houses. There is missing a consciousness in Peru that the architecture in the Sierra has to be better and more solid than in the desert plain on the sea.
Hospedaje Caribe, table of the room with food
In the Sierra of Peru there exist special food traditions which remind of a rough agriculture as e.g. the "Soap of head" (span. "Sopa de Cabeza") with a head of a sheep in the plate. But many times there is missing important food for energy against the cold in the Sierra for the Peruvian population as e.g. butter, honey or good chocolate, because they are too expensive, or because e.g. there is no good chocolate in Peru, and when it's good chocolate it's this expensive that it's sold only at the airport for tourists. On the table there can be seen honey in a bottle from the street trading, a big yogurt bottle and some rings encased with chocolate.
The industry of Peru sells margarine (1 Sol) for a third of the price as the butter (2.50 Soles). The description "Margarina" often is printed in only very little letters, and margarine is sold often as "butter". Butter itself in the Sierra is often sold as "true butter" (span. "mantequilla pura"), and it's not sold in every shop because margarine is cheap (1 Sol) and butter expensive (2.50 Soles). This Peruvians only seldom can afford and the population does not know about the intoxication by the artificial margarine. The government is poisoning the population with low prices and the natural fats of the butter are missing in the nutrition...
Jiron Vivanco, bus line no. 2 with moto taxi aside
The jiron Vivanco is one of the most important meeting points for the market and for the public transport. Almost every bus line is passing this steep street downwards. Every bus line is a company for itself. A bus ticket costs 50 centimos, half the price of Lima. Tickets to change the bus or subscriptions do not exist because there is no union of the bus companies. By this the Peruvians loose much money by spending it for the public transport, and the money is missing for other things e.g. for furniture or toys. Every bus has to be paid for itself which is also an obstacle of communication for the poor population. During rush hour the buses are absolutely overcrowded like sardines, and one asks why the passengers have to pay the full price for this. But the population has no other choice...
Moto taxis are faster, but they often cost six times more (2.50 to 3 Soles), for Peruvians this price is very high. But in case of emergency the moto taxis are a big help, e.g. when it's dark and one does not know any more in which street one is because there are hardly road signs and when it's dark the streets look all the same more or less because almost all the houses only have two floors...
Around the market hall "Santa Clara"
Market "Santa Clara", main entrance 1 at jiron Grau
The market is not limited in the hall. In the street before the hall there are all kinds of market stands which also want to get their profit, with sunshade as a sunscreen.
Market "Santa Clara", main entrance 2 at jiron Carlos Vivanco
These stairs are the most important bus station of the whole town.
Market "Santa Clara", side entrance at jiron Carlos Vivanco
The portal is this striking and at the same time without attracting attention that the tourist is hardly taking notice of it.
Jiron Grau: Natives (span. indígenas) selling cheese on the street
The native indígenas are the direct descendant of the Incas. They are this poor that they hardly can pay the school uniforms for their children. By this in many cases their children stay illiterate and then have no chance on the job market.
So, the Peruvian state is producing his illiterates by the racism of school uniforms. And the illiterate indígenas only can manage some street trading. They often only speak Quechua, too, and often they keep their head above water by xenophobic jokes. Partly they are this poor that they don't even have a chair and they have to sit on the pavement. The more or less white central government in Lima does not help but it would be great for this government to govern the state without the Sierra population.It would be enough to exploit the mines in the Sierra. The Sierra population does not get anything of the mine's profit and the tourists don't know anything of all this because it's not written in the tourist guides...
Jiron Grau, indígenas selling grapes in a wheelbarrow
Often a market stand in the Sierra consists of a wheelbarrow. With this wheelbarrow can be sold grapes, melons, avocados, mangoes etc.
Market stands on jiron Vivanco
At the front of the big market hall "Santa Clara" on jiron Vivanco the pavement is full of market stands. The goods are there, the goods are expensive, and unfortunately the normal Peruvian population can hardly afford anything of it because the money is hardly enough for the rent, for water, bread and bus tickets. The tourists don't know anything of it and are wondering when things are stolen by inattention.
Plaza de Armas, handicraft (span. artesanía) of Huamanga stone (span. piedra de Huamanga), an alabaster
The handicraft of the Sierra mostly is very cheap for Europeans. The works of Huamanga stone mostly are churches or religious, Christian bible motives like the birth of "Jesus" in a hut or in an egg etc.
Plaza de Armas: A woman indígena selling pastry on a table
A stand of a native indígena with a chair and a table is absolutely rare.
The phenomenal playground at the Prolongación Libertad
Playground Prolongación Libertad, survey of the plant
In Ayacucho there are some different playgrounds, of course not enough. But this playground on Prolongación Libertad lightens every eye of a child. Such a beautiful plant is missing also in Europe.
Playground Prolongación Libertad, children's castle, sight 01
The children can choose between three slides, and it's also possible to climb up the slides.
Playground Prolongación Libertad, children's castle, sight 02
The children's castle is connected with four swings.
Playground Prolongación Libertad, double slide with a globe 01
The double slide with a globe in a fence structure is the absolute culmination point for the children. For the subconsciousness the slide in form of a curve with a ball in the center gives the feeling of a sculpture of a protecting mother. By this the slide is also a sculpture at the same time. Also the possibility to get into the ball from two points is a splendid idea. The children are not only playing slide with this sculpture but also play tag with it around the sculpture. Add to this the fence structure makes possible climbing and gymnastic exercises. So, the double slide in the form of a mother is phenomenal with many functions and it is absolutely worth copying. This sculpture could also be named simply "mom slide".
big 1 big 2
Playground Prolongación Libertad, double slide with a globe 02
Playground Prolongación Libertad, double slide with a globe 03
Here one can see a child climbing on the "framework"....
Playground Prolongación Libertad, group of persons
Benches on squares are not self-evident in Peru. Many parks in Peru have many plants planted in an order of "gardening technique", and mostly there is also a monument to promote a "national" feeling, but many parks don't have one single bench!
Playground Prolongación Libertad, Urb. Bancarios, picture of the fronts
The side road on the side of the playground is very clean. Such circumstances were very seldom in Ayacucho.
The military parade for a Peruvian flag on the Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas, preparation for the military parade for a Peruvian flag 01
The Peruvian government orders that every Sunday morning has to be a parade for the Peruvian flag in any Plaza de Armas in any town of Peru. So, instead of helping the poor there are organized parades for the national pride. This is leading to nothing...
Plaza de Armas, preparation for the military parade for a Peruvian flag 02
According to indications of the population the soldiers don't get any salary for this parade, but although they are armed. It could be seen that the soldiers themselves found the parade absolutely ridiculous because often they come from families in poverty and they know that all national pride is a big lie.
Some of the soldiers did not want to be taken on a photo. But the police indicated that it's allowed to take photos. Also the police had a jokey smile when they were asked about the sense of this stupid parade...
Plaza de Armas, preparation for the military parade for a Peruvian flag 03
By the time it was too stupid for me to loose time only to present the militarists of the country. When this flag parade on Sunday could be replaced by a help day for the poor it would surely serve more to the country.
Plaza de Armas, preparation for the military parade for a Peruvian flag 04, the flags are waving
The government is proud on the flag. But the government is not proud on the population in the Sierra, and this knows the Sierra population very well. By this 20,000 to 50,000 Peruvian children of the native indígenas are dying every year because there is no money for good houses and enough food. It's a holocaust against Peruvian children in the Peruvian Sierra every year, and there is nothing about it in the European newspapers, and the Peruvian government is doing practically nothing about it and lets the children murder pass as long as the entire population is increasing. Militarism, sarcasms and mass murder are dominating the country. And then, when several children have died, the big migration happens: The indígenas migrate to Lima, and in many cases that's why Lima is getting always bigger and bigger, and the government does not want to accept these connections...