Seven or eight miles more of very gradual downward slope brought us suddenly and unexpectedly to the brink of a magnificent canyon, the densely populated valley of Cotahuasi. The walls of the canyon were covered with innumerable terraces—thousands of them. It seemed at first glance as though every available spot in the canyon had been either terraced or allotted to some compact little village. One could count more than a score of towns, including Cotahuasi itself, its long main street outlined by whitewashed houses. As we zigzagged down into the canyon our road led us past hundreds of the artificial terraces and through little villages of thatched huts huddled together on spurs rescued from the all-embracing agriculture. After spending several weeks in a desert region, where only the narrow valley bottoms showed any signs of cultivation, it seemed marvelous to observe the extent to which terracing had been carried on the side of the Cotahuasi Valley. Although we were now in the zone of light annual rains, it was evident from the extraordinary irrigation system that agriculture here depends very largely on ability to bring water down from the great mountains in the interior. Most of the terraces and irrigation canals were built centuries ago, long before the discovery of America.
No part of the ancient civilization of Peru has been more admired than the development of agriculture. Mr. Cook says that there is no part of the world in which more pains have been taken to raise crops where nature made it hard for them to be planted. In other countries, to be sure, we find reclamation projects, where irrigation canals serve to bring water long distances to be used on arid but fruitful soil. We also find great fertilizer factories turning out, according to proper chemical formula, the needed constituents to furnish impoverished soils with the necessary materials for plant growth. We find man overcoming many obstacles in the way of transportation, in order to reach great regions where nature has provided fertile fields and made it easy to raise life-giving crops. Nowhere outside of Peru, either in historic or prehistoric times, does one find farmers spending incredible amounts of labor in actually creating arable fields, besides bringing the water to irrigate them and the guano to fertilize them; yet that is what was done by the ancient highlanders of Peru. As they spread over a country in which the arable flat land was usually at so great an elevation as to be suitable for only the hardiest of root crops, like the white potato and the oca, they were driven to use narrow valley bottoms and steep, though fertile, slopes in order to raise the precious maize and many of the other temperate and tropical plants which they domesticated for food and medicinal purposes. They were constantly confronted by an extraordinary scarcity of soil. In the valley bottoms torrential rivers, meandering from side to side, were engaged in an endless endeavor to tear away the arable land and bear it off to the sea. The slopes of the valleys were frequently so very steep as to discourage the most ardent modern agriculturalist. The farmer might wake up any morning to find that a heavy rain during the night had washed away a large part of his carefully planted fields. Consequently there was developed, through the centuries, a series of stone-faced andenes, terraces or platforms.
Examination of the ancient andenes discloses the fact that they were not made by simply hoeing in the earth from the hillside back of a carefully constructed stone wall. The space back of the walls was first filled in with coarse rocks, clay, and rubble; then followed smaller rocks, pebbles, and gravel, which would serve to drain the subsoil. Finally, on top of all this, and to a depth of eighteen inches or so, was laid the finest soil they could procure. The result was the best possible field for intensive cultivation. It seems absolutely unbelievable that such an immense amount of pains should have been taken for such relatively small results. The need must have been very great. In many cases the terraces are only a few feet wide, although hundreds of yards in length. Usually they follow the natural contours of the valley. Sometimes they are two hundred yards wide and a quarter of a mile long. To-day corn, barley, and alfalfa are grown on the terraces.
Cotahuasi itself lies in the bottom of the valley, a pleasant place where one can purchase the most fragrant and highly prized of all Peruvian wines. The climate is agreeable, and has attracted many landlords, whose estates lie chiefly on the bleak plateaus of the surrounding highlands, where shepherds tend flocks of llamas, sheep, and alpacas.
We were cordially welcomed by Senor Viscarra, the sub-prefect, and invited to stay at his house. He was a stranger to the locality, and, as the visible representative of a powerful and far-away central government, was none too popular with some of the people of his province. Very few residents of a provincial capital like Cotahuasi have ever been to Lima;—probably not a single member of the Lima government had ever been to Cotahuasi. Consequently one could not expect to find much sympathy between the two. The difficulties of traveling in Peru are so great as to discourage pleasure trips. With our letters of introduction and the telegrams that had preceded us from the prefect at Arequipa, we were known to be friends of the government and so were doubly welcome to the sub-prefect. By nature a kind and generous man, of more than usual education and intelligence, Senor Viscarra showed himself most courteous and hospitable to us in every particular. In our honor he called together his friends. They brought pictures of Theodore Roosevelt and Elihu Root, and made a large American flag; a courtesy we deeply appreciated, even if the flag did have only thirty-six stars. Finally, they gave us a splendid banquet as a tribute of friendship for America.
One day the sub-prefect offered to have his personal barber attend us. It was some time since Mr. Tucker and I had seen a barber-shop. The chances were that we should find none at Parinacochas. Consequently we accepted with pleasure. When the barber arrived, closely guarded by a gendarme armed with a loaded rifle, we learned that he was a convict from the local jail! I did not like to ask the nature of his crime, but he looked like a murderer. When he unwrapped an ancient pair of clippers from an unspeakably soiled and oily rag, I wished I was in a position to decline to place myself under his ministrations. The sub-prefect, however, had been so kind and was so apologetic as to the inconveniences of the "barber-shop" that there was nothing for it but to go bravely forward. Although it was unpleasant to have one's hair trimmed by an uncertain pair of rusty clippers, I could not help experiencing a feeling of relief that the convict did not have a pair of shears. He was working too near my jugular vein. Finally the period of torture came to an end, and the prisoner accepted his fees with a profound salutation. We breathed sighs of relief, not unmixed with sympathy, as we saw him marched safely away by the gendarme.
We had arrived in Cotahuasi almost simultaneously with Dr. Bowman and Topographer Hendriksen. They had encountered extraordinary difficulties in carrying out the reconnaissance of the 73d meridian, but were now past the worst of it. Their supplies were exhausted, so those which we had brought from Arequipa were doubly welcome. Mr. Watkins was assigned to assist Mr. Hendriksen and a few days later Dr. Bowman started south to study the geology and geography of the desert. He took with him as escort Corporal Gamarra, who was only too glad to escape from the machinations of his enemies. It will be remembered that it was Gamarra who had successfully defended the Cotahuasi barracks and jail at the time of a revolutionary riot which occurred some months previous to our visit. The sub-prefect accompanied Dr. Bowman out of town. For Gamarra's sake they left the house at three o'clock in the morning and our generous host agreed to ride with them until daybreak. In his important monograph, "The Andes of Southern Peru," Dr. Bowman writes: "At four o'clock our whispered arrangements were made. We opened the gates noiselessly and our small cavalcade hurried through the pitch-black streets of the town. The soldier rode ahead, his rifle across his saddle, and directly behind him rode the sub-prefect and myself. The pack mules were in the rear. We had almost reached the end of the street when a door opened suddenly and a shower of sparks flew out ahead of us. Instantly the soldier struck spurs into his mule and turned into a side street. The sub-prefect drew his horse back savagely, and when the next shower of sparks flew out pushed me against the wall and whispered, 'For God's sake, who is it?' Then suddenly he shouted. 'Stop blowing! Stop blowing!' "
The cause of all the disturbance was a shabby, hard-working tailor who had gotten up at this unearthly hour to start his day's work by pressing clothes for some insistent customer. He had in his hand an ancient smoothing-iron filled with live coals, on which he had been vigorously blowing. Hence the sparks! That a penitent tailor and his ancient goose should have been able to cause such terrific excitement at that hour in the morning would have interested our own Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was fond of referring to this picturesque apparatus and who might have written an appropriate essay on The Goose that Startled the Soldier of Cotahuasi; with Particular Reference to His Being a Possible Namesake of the Geese that Aroused the Soldiers of Ancient Rome.
The sub-perfect of Cotahuasi, his military aide, and Messrs. Tucker, Hendriksen, Bowman, and Bingham inspecting the local rug-weaving industry. ———
The most unusual industry of Cotahuasi is the weaving of rugs and carpets on vertical hand looms. The local carpet weavers make the warp and woof of woolen yarn in which loops of alpaca wool, black, gray, or white, are inserted to form the desired pattern. The loops are cut so as to form a deep pile. The result is a delightfully thick, warm, gray rug. Ordinarily the native Peruvian rug has no pile. Probably the industry was brought from Europe by some Spaniard centuries ago. It seems to be restricted to this remote region. The rug makers are a small group of Indians who live outside the town but who carry their hand looms from house to house, as required. It is the custom for the person who desires a rug to buy the wool, supply the pattern, furnish the weaver with board, lodging, coca, tobacco and wine, and watch the rug grow from day to day under the shelter of his own roof. The rug weavers are very clever in copying new patterns. Through the courtesy of Senor Viscarra we eventually received several small rugs, woven especially for us from monogram designs drawn by Mr. Hendriksen.
Early one morning in November we said good-bye to our friendly host, and, directed by a picturesque old guide who said he knew the road to Parinacochas, we left Cotahuasi. The highway crossed the neighboring stream on a treacherous-looking bridge, the central pier of which was built of the crudest kind of masonry piled on top of a gigantic boulder in midstream. The main arch of the bridge consisted of two long logs across which had been thrown a quantity of brush held down by earth and stones. There was no rail on either side, but our mules had crossed bridges of this type before and made little trouble. On the northern side of the valley we rode through a compact little town called Mungi and began to climb out of the canyon, passing hundreds of very fine artificial terraces, at present used for crops of maize and barley. In one place our road led us by a little waterfall, an altogether surprising and unexpected phenomenon in this arid region. Investigation, however, proved that it was artificial, as well as the fields. Its presence may be due to a temporary connection between the upper and lower levels of ancient irrigation canals.
Hour after hour our pack train painfully climbed the narrow, rocky zigzag trail. The climate is favorable for agriculture. Wherever the sides of the canyon were not absolutely precipitous, stone-faced terraces and irrigation had transformed them long ago into arable fields. Four thousand feet above the valley floor we came to a very fine series of beautiful terraces. On a shelf near the top of the canyon we pitched our tent near some rough stone corrals used by shepherds whose flocks grazed on the lofty plateau beyond, and near a tiny brook, which was partly frozen over the next morning. Our camp was at an elevation of 14,500 feet above the sea. Near by were turreted rocks, curious results of wind-and-sand erosion.
The next day we entered a region of mountain pastures. We passed occasional swamps and little pools of snow water. From one of these we turned and looked back across the great Cotahuasi Canyon, to the glaciers of Solimana and snow-clad Coropuna, now growing fainter and fainter as we went toward Parinacochas. At an altitude of 16,500 feet we struck across a great barren plateau covered with rocks and sand—hardly a living thing in sight. In the midst of it we came to a beautiful lake, but it was not Parinacochas. On the plateau it was intensely cold. Occasionally I dismounted and jogged along beside my mule in order to keep warm. Again I noticed that as the result of my experiences on Coropuna I suffered no discomfort, nor any symptoms of mountain-sickness, even after trotting steadily for four or five hundred yards. In the afternoon we began to descend from the plateau toward Lampa and found ourselves in the pasture lands of Ajochiucha, where ichu grass and other little foliage plants, watered by rain and snow, furnish forage for large flocks of sheep, llamas, and alpacas. Their owners live in the cultivated valleys, but the Indian herdsmen must face the storms and piercing winds of the high pastures.
Alpacas are usually timid. On this occasion, however, possibly because they were thirsty and were seeking water holes in the upper courses of a little swale, they stopped and allowed me to observe them closely. The fleece of the alpaca is one of the softest in the world. However, due to the fact that shrewd tradesmen, finding that the fabric manufactured from alpaca wool was highly desired, many years ago gave the name to a far cheaper fabric, the "alpaca" of commerce, a material used for coat linings, umbrellas, and thin, warm-weather coats, is a fabric of cotton and wool, with a hard surface, and generally dyed black. It usually contains no real alpaca wool at all, and is fairly cheap. The real alpaca wool which comes into the market to-day is not so called. Long and silky, straighter than the sheep's wool, it is strong, small of fiber, very soft, pliable and elastic. It is capable of being woven into fabrics of great beauty and comfort. Many of the silky, fluffy, knitted garments that command the highest prices for winter wear, and which are called by various names, such as "vicuna," "camel's hair," etc., are really made of alpaca.
The alpaca, like its cousin, the llama, was probably domesticated by the early Peruvians from the wild guanaco, largest of the camels of the New World. The guanaco still exists in a wild state and is always of uniform coloration. Llamas and alpacas are extremely variegated. The llama has so coarse a hair that it is seldom woven into cloth for wearing apparel, although heavy blankets made from it are in use by the natives. Bred to be a beast of burden, the llama is accustomed to the presence of strangers and is not any more timid of them than our horses and cows. The alpaca, however, requiring better and scarcer forage—short, tender grass and plenty of water—frequents the most remote and lofty of the mountain pastures, is handled only when the fleece is removed, seldom sees any one except the peaceful shepherds, and is extremely shy of strangers, although not nearly as timid as its distant cousin the vicuna. I shall never forget the first time I ever saw some alpacas. They looked for all the world like the "woolly-dogs" of our toys shops—woolly along the neck right up to the eyes and woolly along the legs right down to the invisible wheels! There was something inexpressibly comic about these long-legged animals. They look like toys on wheels, but actually they can gallop like cows.
The llama, with far less hair on head, neck, and legs, is also amusing, but in a different way. His expression is haughty and supercilious in the extreme. He usually looks as though his presence near one is due to circumstances over which he really had no control. Pride of race and excessive haughtiness lead him to carry his head so high and his neck so stiffly erect that he can be corralled, with others of his kind, by a single rope passed around the necks of the entire group. Yet he can be bought for ten dollars.
On the pasture lands of Ajochiucha there were many ewes and lambs, both of llamas and alpacas. Even the shepherds were mostly children, more timid than their charges. They crouched inconspicuously behind rocks and shrubs, endeavoring to escape our notice. About five o'clock in the afternoon, on a dry pampa, we found the ruins of one of the largest known Inca storehouses, Chichipampa, an interesting reminder of the days when benevolent despots ruled the Andes and, like the Pharaohs of old, provided against possible famine. The locality is not occupied, yet near by are populous valleys.
As soon as we left our camp the next morning, we came abruptly to the edge of the Lampa Valley. This was another of the mile-deep canyons so characteristic of this region. Our pack mules grunted and groaned as they picked their way down the corkscrew trail. It overhangs the mud-colored Indian town of Colta, a rather scattered collection of a hundred or more huts. Here again, as in the Cotahuasi Valley, are hundreds of ancient terraces, extending for thousands of feet up the sides of the canyon. Many of them were badly out of repair, but those near Colta were still being used for raising crops of corn, potatoes, and barley. The uncultivated spots were covered with cacti, thorn bushes, and the gnarled, stunted trees of a semi-arid region. In the town itself were half a dozen specimens of the Australian eucalyptus, that agreeable and extraordinarily successful colonist which one encounters not only in the heart of Peru, but in the Andes of Colombia and the new forest preserves of California and the Hawaiian Islands.
Inca Storehouses at Chinchipampa, near Colta ———
Colta has a few two-storied houses, with tiled roofs. Some of them have open verandas on the second floor—a sure indication that the climate is at times comfortable. Their walls are built of sun-dried adobe, and so are the walls of the little grass-thatched huts of the majority. Judging by the rather irregular plan of the streets and the great number of terraces in and around town, one may conclude that Colta goes far back of the sixteenth century and the days of the Spanish Conquest, as indeed do most Peruvian towns. The cities of Lima and Arequipa are noteworthy exceptions. Leaving Colta, we wound around the base of the projecting ridge, on the sides of which were many evidences of ancient culture, and came into the valley of Huancahuanca, a large arid canyon. The guide said that we were nearing Parinacochas. Not many miles away, across two canyons, was a snow-capped peak, Sarasara.
Lampa, the chief town in the Huancahuanca Canyon, lies on a great natural terrace of gravel and alluvium more than a thousand feet above the river. Part of the terrace seemed to be irrigated and under cultivation. It was proposed by the energetic farmers at the time of our visit to enlarge the system of irrigation so as to enable them to cultivate a larger part of the pampa on which they lived. In fact, the new irrigation scheme was actually in process of being carried out and has probably long since been completed. Our reception in Lampa was not cordial. It will be remembered that our military escort, Corporal Gamarra, had gone back to Arequipa with Dr. Bowman. Our two excellent arrieros, the Tejada brothers, declared they preferred to travel without any "brass buttons," so we had not asked the sub-prefect of Cotahuasi to send one of his small handful of gendarmes along with us. Probably this was a mistake. Unless one is traveling in Peru on some easily understood matter, such as prospecting for mines or representing one of the great importing and commission houses, or actually peddling goods, one cannot help arousing the natural suspicions of a people to whom traveling on muleback for pleasure is unthinkable, and scientific exploration for its own sake is incomprehensible. Of course, if the explorers arrive accompanied by a gendarme it is perfectly evident that the enterprise has the approval and probably the financial backing of the government. It is surmised that the explorers are well paid, and what would be otherwise inconceivable becomes merely one of the ordinary experiences of life. South American governments almost without exception are paternalistic, and their citizens are led to expect that all measures connected with research, whether it be scientific, economic, or social, are to be conducted by the government and paid for out of the national treasury. Individual enterprise is not encouraged. During all my preceding exploration in Peru I had had such an easy time that I not only forgot, but failed to realize, how often an ever-present gendarme, provided through the courtesy of President Leguia's government, had quieted suspicions and assured us a cordial welcome.
Now, however, when without a gendarme we entered the smart little town of Lampa, we found ourselves immediately and unquestionably the objects of extreme suspicion and distrust. Yet we could not help admiring the well-swept streets, freshly whitewashed houses, and general air of prosperity and enterprise. The gobernador of the town lived on the main street in a red-tiled house, whose courtyard and colonnade were probably two hundred years old. He had heard nothing of our undertaking from the government. His friends urged him to take some hostile action. Fortunately, our arrieros, respectable men of high grade, although strangers in Lampa, were able to allay his suspicions temporarily. We were not placed under arrest, although I am sure his action was not approved by the very suspicious town councilors, who found it far easier to suggest reasons for our being fugitives from justice than to understand the real object of our journey.
The very fact that we were bound for Lake Parinacochas, a place well known in Lampa, added to their suspicion. It seems that Lampa is famous for its weavers, who utilize the wool of the countless herds of sheep, alpacas, and vicunas in this vicinity to make ponchos and blankets of high grade, much desired not only in this locality but even in Arequipa. These are marketed, as so often happens in the outlying parts of the world, at a great annual fair, attended by traders who come hundreds of miles, bringing the manufactured articles of the outer world and seeking the highly desired products of these secluded towns. The great fair for this vicinity has been held, for untold generations, on the shores of Lake Parinacochas. Every one is anxious to attend the fair, which is an occasion for seeing one's friends, an opportunity for jollification, carousing, and general enjoyment—like a large county fair at home. Except for this annual fair week, the basin of Parinacochas is as bleak and desolate as our own fair-grounds, with scarcely a house to be seen except those that are used for the purposes of the fair. Had we been bound for Parinacochas at the proper season nothing could have been more reasonable and praiseworthy. Why anybody should want to go to Parinacochas during one of the other fifty-one weeks in the year was utterly beyond the comprehension or understanding of these village worthies. So, to our "selectmen," are the idiosyncrasies of itinerant gypsies who wish to camp in our deserted fair-grounds.
The Tejadas were not anxious to spend the night in town—probably because, according to our contract, the cost of feeding the mules devolved entirely upon them and fodder is always far more expensive in town than in the country. It was just as well for us that this was so, for I am sure that before morning the village gossips would have persuaded the gobernador to arrest us. As it was, however, he was pleasant and hospitable, and considerably amused at the embarrassment of an Indian woman who was weaving at a hand loom in his courtyard and whom we desired to photograph. She could not easily escape, for she was sitting on the ground with one end of the loom fastened around her waist, the other end tied to a eucalyptus tree. So she covered her eyes and mouth with her hands, and almost wept with mortification at our strange procedure. Peruvian Indian women are invariably extremely shy, rarely like to be photographed, and are anxious only to escape observation and notice. The ladies of the gobernador's own family, however, of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry, not only had no objection to being photographed, but were moved to unseemly and unsympathetic laughter at the predicament of their unfortunate sister.
After leaving Lampa we found ourselves on the best road that we had seen in a long time. Its excellence was undoubtedly due to the enterprise and energy of the people of this pleasant town. One might expect that citizens who kept their town so clean and neat and were engaged in the unusual act of constructing new irrigation works would have a comfortable road in the direction toward which they usually would wish to go, namely, toward the coast.
As we climbed out of the Huancahuanca Valley we noticed no evidences of ancient agricultural terraces, either on the sides of the valley or on the alluvial plain which has given rise to the town of Lampa and whose products have made its people well fed and energetic. The town itself seems to be of modern origin. One wonders why there are so few, if any, evidences of the ancient regime when there are so many a short distance away in Colta and the valley around it. One cannot believe that the Incas would have overlooked such a fine agricultural opportunity as an extensive alluvial terrace in a region where there is so little arable land. Possibly the very excellence of the land and its relative flatness rendered artificial terracing unnecessary in the minds of the ancient people who lived here. On the other hand, it may have been occupied until late Inca times by one of the coast tribes. Whatever the cause, certainly the deep canyon of Huancahuanca divides two very different regions. To come in a few hours, from thickly terraced Colta to unterraced Lampa was so striking as to give us cause for thought and speculation. It is well known that in the early days before the Inca conquest of Peru, not so very long before the Spanish Conquest, there were marked differences between the tribes who inhabited the high plateau and those who lived along the shore of the Pacific. Their pottery is as different as possible in design and ornamentation; the architecture of their cities and temples is absolutely distinct. Relative abundance of flat lands never led them to develop terracing to the same extent that the mountain people had done. Perhaps on this alluvial terrace there lived a remnant of the coastal peoples. Excavation would show.
Scarcely had we climbed out of the valley of Huancahuanca and surmounted the ridge when we came in sight of more artificial terraces. Beyond a broad, deep valley rose the extinct volcanic cone of Mt. Sarasara, now relatively close at hand, its lower slopes separated from us by another canyon. Snow lay in the gulches and ravines near the top of the mountain. Our road ran near the towns of Pararca and Colcabamba, the latter much like Colta, a straggling village of thatched huts surrounded by hundreds of terraces. The vegetation on the valley slopes indicated occasional rains. Near Pararca we passed fields of barley and wheat growing on old stone-faced terraces. On every hand were signs of a fairly large population engaged in agriculture, utilizing fields which had been carefully prepared for them by their ancestors. They were not using all, however. We noticed hundreds of terraces that did not appear to have been under cultivation recently. They may have been lying fallow temporarily.
Our arrieros avoided the little towns, and selected a camp site on the roadside near the Finca Rodadero. After all, when one has a comfortable tent, good food, and skillful arrieros it is far pleasanter to spend the night in the clean, open country, even at an elevation of 12,000 or 13,000 feet, than to be surrounded by the smells and noises of an Indian town.
The next morning we went through some wheat fields, past the town of Puyusca, another large Indian village of thatched adobe houses placed high on the shoulder of a rocky hill so as to leave the best arable land available for agriculture. It is in a shallow, well-watered valley, full of springs. The appearance of the country had changed entirely since we left Cotahuasi. The desert and its steep-walled canyons seemed to be far behind us. Here was a region of gently sloping hills, covered with terraces, where the cereals of the temperate zone appeared to be easily grown. Finally, leaving the grain fields, we climbed up to a shallow depression in the low range at the head of the valley and found ourselves on the rim of a great upland basin more than twenty miles across. In the center of the basin was a large, oval lake. Its borders were pink. The water in most of the lake was dark blue, but near the shore the water was pink, a light salmon-pink. What could give it such a curious color? Nothing but flamingoes, countless thousands of flamingoes—Parinacochas at last!
The Parinacochas Basin is at an elevation of between 11,500 and 12,000 feet above sea level. It is about 150 miles northwest of Arequipa and 170 miles southwest of Cuzco, and enjoys a fair amount of rainfall. The lake is fed by springs and small streams. In past geological times the lake, then very much larger, had an outlet not far from the town of Puyusca. At present Parinacochas has no visible outlet. It is possible that the large springs which we noticed as we came up the valley by Puyusca may be fed from the lake. On the other hand, we found numerous small springs on the very borders of the lake, generally occurring in swampy hillocks—built up perhaps by mineral deposits—three or four feet higher than the surrounding plain. There are very old beach marks well above the shore. The natives told us that in the wet season the lake was considerably higher than at present, although we could find no recent evidence to indicate that it had been much more than a foot above its present level. Nevertheless a rise of a foot would enlarge the area of the lake considerably.
When making preparations in New Haven for the "bathymetric survey of Lake Parinacochas," suggested by Sir Clements Markham, we found it impossible to discover any indication in geographical literature as to whether the depth of the lake might be ten feet or ten thousand feet. We decided to take a chance on its not being more than ten hundred feet. With the kind assistance of Mr. George Bassett, I secured a thousand feet of stout fish line, known to anglers as "24 thread," wound on a large wooden reel for convenience in handling. While we were at Chuquibamba Mr. Watkins had spent many weary hours inserting one hundred and sixty-six white and red cloth markers at six-foot intervals in the strands of this heavy line, so that we might be able more rapidly to determine the result in fathoms.
Arrived at a low peninsula on the north shore of the lake, Tucker and I pitched our camp, sent our mules back to Puyusca for fodder, and set up the Acme folding boat, which we had brought so many miles on muleback, for the sounding operations. The "Acme" proved easy to assemble, although this was our first experience with it. Its lightness enabled it to be floated at the edge of the lake even in very shallow water, and its rigidity was much appreciated in the late afternoon when the high winds raised a vicious little "sea." Rowing out on waters which we were told by the natives had never before been navigated by craft of any kind, I began to take soundings. Lake Titicaca is over nine hundred feet deep. It would be aggravating if Lake Parinacochas should prove to be over a thousand, for I had brought no extra line. Even nine hundred feet would make sounding slow work, and the lake covered an area of over seventy square miles.
It was with mixed feelings of trepidation and expectation that I rowed out five miles from shore and made a sounding. Holding the large reel firmly in both hands, I cast the lead overboard. The reel gave a turn or two and stopped. Something was wrong. The line did not run out. Was the reel stuck? No, the apparatus was in perfect running order. Then what was the matter? The bottom was too near! Alas for all the pains that Mr. Bassett had taken to put a thousand feet of the best strong 24-thread line on one reel! Alas for Mr. Watkins and his patient insertion of one hundred and sixty-six "fathom-markers"! The bottom of the lake was only four feet away from the bottom of my boat! After three or four days of strenuous rowing up and down the eighteen miles of the lake's length, and back and forth across the seventeen miles of its width, I never succeeded in wetting Watkins's first marker! Several hundred soundings failed to show more than five feet of water anywhere. Possibly if we had come in the rainy season we might at least have wet one marker, but at the time of our visit (November, 1911), the lake had a maximum depth of 4 1/2 feet. The satisfaction of making this slight contribution to geographic knowledge was, I fear, lost in the chagrin of not finding a really noteworthy body of water.
Who would have thought that so long a lake could be so shallow? However, my feelings were soothed by remembering the story of the captain of a man-of-war who was once told that the salt lake near one of the red hills between Honolulu and Pearl Harbor was reported by the natives to be "bottomless." He ordered one of the ship's heavy boats to be carried from the shore several miles inland to the salt lake, at great expenditure of strength and labor. The story told me in my boyhood does not say how much sounding line was brought. Anyhow, they found this "fathomless" body of water to be not more than fifteen feet deep.
Notwithstanding my disappointment at the depth of Parinacochas, I was very glad that we had brought the little folding boat, for it enabled me to float gently about among the myriads of birds which use the shallow waters of the lake as a favorite feeding ground; pink flamingoes, white gulls, small "divers," large black ducks, sandpipers, black ibis, teal ducks, and large geese. On the banks were ground owls and woodpeckers. It is not surprising that the natives should have named this body of water "Parinacochas" (Parina = "flamingo," cochas = "lake"). The flamingoes are here in incredible multitudes; they far outnumber all other birds, and as I have said, actually make the shallow waters of the lake look pink. Fortunately they had not been hunted for their plumage and were not timid. After two days of familiarity with the boat they were willing to let me approach within twenty yards before finally taking wing. The coloring, in this land of drab grays and browns, was a delight to the eye. The head is white, the beak black, the neck white shading into salmon-pink; the body pinkish white on the back, the breast white, and the tail salmon-pink. The wings are salmon-pink in front, but the tips and the under-parts are black. As they stand or wade in the water their general appearance is chiefly pink-and-white. When they rise from the water, however, the black under-parts of the wings become strikingly conspicuous and cause a flock of flying flamingoes to be a wonderful contrast in black-and-white. When flying, the flamingo seems to keep his head moving steadily forward at an even pace, although the ropelike neck undulates with the slow beating of the wings. I could not be sure that it was not an optical delusion. Nevertheless, I thought the heavy body was propelled irregularly, while the head moved forward at uniform speed, the difference being caught up in the undulations of the neck.
Flamingos on Lake Parinacochas, and Mt. Sarasara ———
The flamingo is an amusing bird to watch. With its haughty Roman nose and long, ropelike neck, which it coils and twists in a most incredible manner, it seems specially intended to distract one's mind from bathymetric disappointments. Its hoarse croaking, "What is it," "What is it," seemed to express deep-throated sympathy with the sounding operations. On one bright moonlight night the flamingoes were very noisy, keeping up a continual clatter of very hoarse "What-is-it's." Apparently they failed to find out the answer in time to go to bed at the proper time, for next morning we found them all sound asleep, standing in quiet bays with their heads tucked under their wings. During the course of the forenoon, when the water was quiet, they waded far out into the lake. In the afternoon, as winds and waves arose, they came in nearer the shores, but seldom left the water. The great extent of shallow water in Parinacochas offers them a splendid, wide feeding ground. We wondered where they all came from. Apparently they do not breed here. Although there were thousands and thousands of birds, we could find no flamingo nests, either old or new, search as we would. It offers a most interesting problem for some enterprising biological explorer. Probably Mr. Frank Chapman will some day solve it.
Next in number to the flamingoes were the beautiful white gulls (or terns?), looking strangely out of place in this Andean lake 11,500 feet above the sea. They usually kept together in flocks of several hundred. There were quantities of small black divers in the deeper parts of the lake where the flamingoes did not go. The divers were very quick and keen, true individualists operating alone and showing astonishing ability in swimming long distances under water. The large black ducks were much more fearless than the flamingoes and were willing to swim very near the canoe. When frightened, they raced over the water at a tremendous pace, using both wings and feet in their efforts to escape. These ducks kept in large flocks and were about as common as the small divers. Here and there in the lake were a few tiny little islands, each containing a single deserted nest, possibly belonging to an ibis or a duck. In the banks of a low stream near our first camp were holes made by woodpeckers, who in this country look in vain for trees and telegraph poles.
Occasionally, a mile or so from shore, my boat would startle a great amphibious ox standing in the water up to his middle, calmly eating the succulent water grass. To secure it he had to plunge his head and neck well under the surface.
While I was raising blisters and frightening oxen and flamingoes, Mr. Tucker triangulated the Parinacochas Basin, making the first accurate map of this vicinity. As he carried his theodolite from point to point he often stirred up little ground owls, who gazed at him with solemn, reproachful looks. And they were not the only individuals to regard his activities with suspicion and dislike. Part of my work was to construct signal stations by piling rocks at conspicuous points on the well-rounded hills so as to enable the triangulation to proceed as rapidly as possible. During the night some of these signal stations would disappear, torn down by the superstitious shepherds who lived in scattered clusters of huts and declined to have strange gods set up in their vicinity. Perhaps they thought their pastures were being preempted. We saw hundreds of their sheep and cattle feeding on flat lands formerly the bed of the lake. The hills of the Parinacochas Basin are bare of trees, and offer some pasturage. In some places they are covered with broken rock. The grass was kept closely cropped by the degenerate descendants of sheep brought into the country during Spanish colonial days. They were small in size and mostly white in color, although there were many black ones. We were told that the sheep were worth about fifty cents apiece here.
On our first arrival at Parinacochas we were left severely alone by the shepherds; but two days later curiosity slowly overcame their shyness, and a group of young shepherds and shepherdesses gradually brought their grazing flocks nearer and nearer the camp, in order to gaze stealthily on these strange visitors, who lived in a cloth house, actually moved over the forbidding waters of the lake, and busied themselves from day to day with strange magic, raising and lowering a glittering glass eye on a tripod. The women wore dresses of heavy material, the skirts reaching halfway from knee to ankle. In lieu of hats they had small variegated shawls, made on hand looms, folded so as to make a pointed bonnet over the head and protect the neck and shoulders from sun and wind. Each woman was busily spinning with a hand spindle, but carried her baby and its gear and blankets in a hammock or sling attached to a tump-line that went over her head. These sling carry-alls were neatly woven of soft wool and decorated with attractive patterns. Both women and boys were barefooted. The boys wore old felt hats of native manufacture, and coats and long trousers much too large for them.
At one end of the upland basin rises the graceful cone of Mt. Sarasara. The view of its snow-capped peak reflected in the glassy waters of the lake in the early morning was one long to be remembered. Sarasara must once have been much higher than it is at present. Its volcanic cone has been sharply eroded by snow and ice. In the days of its greater altitude, and consequently wider snow fields, the melting snows probably served to make Parinacochas a very much larger body of water. Although we were here at the beginning of summer, the wind that came down from the mountain at night was very cold. Our minimum thermometer registered 22 deg. F. near the banks of the lake at night. Nevertheless, there was only a very thin film of ice on the borders of the lake in the morning, and except in the most shallow bays there was no ice visible far from the bank. The temperature of the water at 10:00 A.M. near the shore, and ten inches below the surface, was 61 deg. F., while farther out it was three or four degrees warmer. By noon the temperature of the water half a mile from shore was 67.5 deg. F. Shortly after noon a strong wind came up from the coast, stirring up the shallow water and cooling it. Soon afterwards the temperature of the water began to fall, and, although the hot sun was shining brightly almost directly overhead, it went down to 65 deg. by 2:30 P.M.
The water of the lake is brackish, yet we were able to make our camps on the banks of small streams of sweet water, although in each case near the shore of the lake. A specimen of the water, taken near the shore, was brought back to New Haven and analyzed by Dr. George S. Jamieson of the Sheffield Scientific School. He found that it contained small quantities of silica, iron phosphate, magnesium carbonate, calcium carbonate, calcium sulphate, potassium nitrate, potassium sulphate, sodium borate, sodium sulphate, and a considerable quantity of sodium chloride. Parinacochas water contains more carbonate and potassium than that of the Atlantic Ocean or the Great Salt Lake. As compared with the salinity of typical "salt" waters, that of Lake Parinacochas occupies an intermediate position, containing more than Lake Koko-Nor, less than that of the Atlantic, and only one twentieth the salinity of the Great Salt Lake.
When we moved to our second camp the Tejada brothers preferred to let their mules rest in the Puyusca Valley, where there was excellent alfalfa forage. The arrieros engaged at their own expense a pack train which consisted chiefly of Parinacochas burros. It is the custom hereabouts to enclose the packs in large-meshed nets made of rawhide which are then fastened to the pack animal by a surcingle. The Indians who came with the burro train were pleasant-faced, sturdy fellows, dressed in "store clothes" and straw hats. Their burros were as cantankerous as donkeys can be, never fractious or flighty, but stubbornly resisting, step by step, every effort to haul them near the loads.
Our second camp was near the village of Incahuasi, "the house of the Inca," at the northwestern corner of the basin. Raimondi visited it in 1863. The representative of the owner of Parinacochas occupies one of the houses. The other buildings are used only during the third week in August, at the time of the annual fair. In the now deserted plaza were many low stone rectangles partly covered with adobe and ready to be converted into booths. The plaza was surrounded by long, thatched buildings of adobe and stone, mostly of rough ashlars. A few ashlars showed signs of having been carefully dressed by ancient stonemasons. Some loose ashlars weighed half a ton and had baffled the attempts of modern builders.
In constructing the large church, advantage was taken of a beautifully laid wall of close-fitting ashlars. Incahuasi was well named; there had been at one time an Inca house here, possibly a temple—lakes were once objects of worship—or rest-house, constructed in order to enable the chiefs and tax-gatherers to travel comfortably over the vast domains of the Incas. We found the slopes of the hills of the Parinacochas Basin to be well covered with remains of ancient terraces. Probably potatoes and other root crops were once raised here in fairly large quantities. Perhaps deforestation and subsequent increased aridity might account for the desertion of these once-cultivated lands. The hills west of the lake are intersected by a few dry gulches in which are caves that have been used as burial places. The caves had at one time been walled in with rocks laid in adobe, but these walls had been partly broken down so as to permit the sepulchers to be rifled of whatever objects of value they might have contained. We found nine or ten skulls lying loose in the rubble of the caves. One of the skulls seemed to have been trepanned.
On top of the ridge are the remains of an ancient road, fifty feet wide, a broad grassy way through fields of loose stones. No effort had been made at grading or paving this road, and there was no evidence of its having been used in recent times. It runs from the lake across the ridge in a westerly direction toward a broad valley, where there are many terraces and cultivated fields; it is not far from Nasca. Probably the stones were picked up and piled on each side to save time in driving caravans of llamas across the stony ridges. The llama dislikes to step over any obstacle, even a very low wall. The grassy roadway would certainly encourage the supercilious beasts to proceed in the desired direction.
In many places on the hills were to be seen outlines of large and small rock circles and shelters erected by herdsmen for temporary protection against the sudden storms of snow and hail which come up with unexpected fierceness at this elevation (12,000 feet). The shelters were in a very ruinous state. They were made of rough, scoriaceous lava rocks. The circular enclosures varied from 8 to 25 feet in diameter. Most of them showed no evidences whatever of recent occupation. The smaller walls may have been the foundation of small circular huts. The larger walls were probably intended as corrals, to keep alpacas and llamas from straying at night and to guard against wolves or coyotes. I confess to being quite mystified as to the age of these remains. It is possible that they represent a settlement of shepherds within historic times, although, from the shape and size of the walls, I am inclined to doubt this. The shelters may have been built by the herdsmen of the Incas. Anyhow, those on the hills west of Parinacochas had not been used for a long time. Nasca, which is not very far away to the northwest, was the center of one of the most artistic pre-Inca cultures in Peru. It is famous for its very delicate pottery.
Our third camp was on the south side of the lake. Near us the traces of the ancient road led to the ruins of two large, circular corrals, substantiating my belief that this curious roadway was intended to keep the llamas from straying at will over the pasture lands. On the south shores of the lake there were more signs of occupation than on the north, although there is nothing so clearly belonging to the time of the Incas as the ashlars and finely built wall at Incahuasi. On top of one of the rocky promontories we found the rough stone foundations of the walls of a little village. The slopes of the promontory were nearly precipitous on three sides. Forty or fifty very primitive dwellings had been at one time huddled together here in a position which could easily be defended. We found among the ruins a few crude potsherds and some bits of obsidian. There was nothing about the ruins of the little hill village to give any indication of Inca origin. Probably it goes back to pre-Inca days. No one could tell us anything about it. If there were traditions concerning it they were well concealed by the silent, superstitious shepherds of the vicinity. Possibly it was regarded as an unlucky spot, cursed by the gods.
The neighboring slopes showed faint evidences of having been roughly terraced and cultivated. The tutu potato would grow here, a hardy variety not edible in the fresh state, but considered highly desirable for making potato flour after having been repeatedly frozen and its bitter juices all extracted. So would other highland root crops of the Peruvians, such as the oca, a relative of our sheep sorrel, the anu, a kind of nasturtium, and the ullucu (ullucus tuberosus).
On the flats near the shore were large corrals still kept in good repair. New walls were being built by the Indians at the time of our visit. Near the southeast corner of the lake were a few modern huts built of stone and adobe, with thatched roofs, inhabited by drovers and shepherds. We saw more cattle at the east end of the lake than elsewhere, but they seemed to prefer the sweet water grasses of the lake to the tough bunch-grass on the slopes of Sarasara.
Viscachas were common amongst the gray lichen-covered rocks. They are hunted for their beautiful pearly gray fur, the "chinchilla" of commerce; they are also very good eating, so they have disappeared from the more accessible parts of Peru. One rarely sees them, although they may be found on bleak uplands in the mountains of Uilcapampa, a region rarely visited by any one on account of treacherous bogs and deep tams. Writers sometimes call viscachas "rabbit-squirrels." They have large, rounded ears, long hind legs, a long, bushy tail, and do look like a cross between a rabbit and a gray squirrel.
Surmounting one of the higher ridges one day, I came suddenly upon an unusually large herd of wild vicunas. It included more than one hundred individuals. Their relative fearlessness also testified to the remoteness of Parinacochas and the small amount of hunting that is done here. Vicunas have never been domesticated, but are often hunted for their skins. Their silky fleece is even finer than alpaca. The more fleecy portions of their skins are sewed together to make quilts, as soft as eider down and of a golden brown color.
After Mr. Tucker finished his triangulation of the lake I told the arrieros to find the shortest road home. They smiled, murmured "Arequipa," and started south. We soon came to the rim of the Maraicasa Valley where, peeping up over one of the hills far to the south, we got a little glimpse of Coropuna. The Maraicasa Valley is well inhabited and there were many grain fields in sight, although few seemed to be terraced. The surrounding hills were smooth and well rounded and the valley bottom contained much alluvial land. We passed through it and, after dark, reached Sondor, a tiny hamlet inhabited by extremely suspicious and inhospitable drovers. In the darkness Don Pablo pleaded with the owners of a well-thatched hut, and told them how "important" we were. They were unwilling to give us any shelter, so we were forced to pitch our tent in the very rocky and dirty corral immediately in front of one of the huts, where pigs, dogs, and cattle annoyed us all night. If we had arrived before dark we might have received a different welcome. As a matter of fact, the herdsmen only showed the customary hostility of mountaineers and wilderness folk to those who do not arrive in the daytime, when they can be plainly seen and fully discussed.
The next morning we passed some fairly recent lava flows and noted also many curious rock forms caused by wind and sand erosion. We had now left the belt of grazing lands and once more come into the desert. At length we reached the rim of the mile-deep Caraveli Canyon and our eyes were gladdened at sight of the rich green oasis, a striking contrast to the barren walls of the canyon. As we descended the long, winding road we passed many fine specimens of tree cactus. At the foot of the steep descent we found ourselves separated from the nearest settlement by a very wide river, which it was necessary to ford. Neither of the Tejadas had ever been here before and its depths and dangers were unknown. Fortunately Pablo found a forlorn individual living in a tiny hut on the bank, who indicated which way lay safety. After an exciting two hours we finally got across to the desired shore. Animals and men were glad enough to leave the high, arid desert and enter the oasis of Caraveli with its luscious, green fields of alfalfa, its shady fig trees and tall eucalyptus. The air, pungent with the smell of rich vegetation, seemed cooler and more invigorating.
We found at Caraveli a modern British enterprise, the gold mine of "La Victoria." Mr. Prain, the Manager, and his associates at the camp gave us a cordial welcome, and a wonderful dinner which I shall long remember. After two months in the coastal desert it seemed like home. During the evening we learned of the difficulties Mr. Prain had had in bringing his machinery across the plateau from the nearest port. Our own troubles seemed as nothing. The cost of transporting on muleback each of the larger pieces of the quartz stamping-mill was equivalent to the price of a first-class pack mule. As a matter of fact, although it is only a two days' journey, pack animals' backs are not built to survive the strain of carrying pieces of machinery weighing five hundred pounds over a desert plateau up to an altitude of 4000 feet. Mules brought the machinery from the coast to the brink of the canyon, but no mule could possibly have carried it down the steep trail into Caraveli. Accordingly, a windlass had been constructed on the edge of the precipice and the machinery had been lowered, piece by piece, by block and tackle. Such was one of the obstacles with which these undaunted engineers had had to contend. Had the man who designed the machinery ever traveled with a pack train, climbing up and down over these rocky stairways called mountain trails, I am sure that he would have made his castings much smaller.
Mr. Tucker on a Mountain Trail near Caraveli ———
The Main Street of Chuquibamba ———
It is astonishing how often people who ship goods to the interior of South America fail to realize that no single piece should be any heavier than a pack animal can carry comfortably on one side. One hundred and fifty pounds ought to be the extreme limit of a unit. Even a large, strong mule will last only a few days on such trails as are shown in the accompanying illustration if the total weight of his cargo is over three hundred pounds. When a single piece weighs more than two hundred pounds it has to be balanced on the back of the animal. Then the load rocks, and chafes the unfortunate mule, besides causing great inconvenience and constant worry to the muleteers. As a matter of expediency it is better to have the individual units weigh about seventy-five pounds. Such a weight is easier for the arrieros to handle in the loading, unloading, and reloading that goes on all day long, particularly if the trail is up-and-down, as usually happens in the Andes. Furthermore, one seventy-five-pound unit makes a fair load for a man or a llama, two are right for a burro, and three for an average mule. Four can be loaded, if necessary, on a stout mule.
The hospitable mining engineers urged us to prolong our stay at "La Victoria," but we had to hasten on. Leaving the pleasant shade trees of Caraveli, we climbed the barren, desolate hills of coarse gravel and lava rock and left the canyon. We were surprised to find near the top of the rise the scattered foundations of fifty little circular or oval huts averaging eight feet in diameter. There was no water near here. Hardly a green thing of any sort was to be seen in the vicinity, yet here had once been a village. It seemed to belong to the same period as that found on the southern slopes of the Parinacochas Basin. The road was one of the worst we encountered anywhere, being at times merely a rough, rocky trail over and among huge piles of lava blocks. Several of the larger boulders were covered with pictographs. They represented a serpent and a sun, besides men and animals.
Shortly afterwards we descended to the Rio Grande Valley at Callanga, where we pitched our camps among the most extensive ruins that I have seen in the coastal desert. They covered an area of one hundred acres, the houses being crowded closely together. It gave one a strange sensation to find such a very large metropolis in what is now a desolate region. The general appearance of Callanga was strikingly reminiscent of some of the large groups of ruins in our own Southwest. Nothing about it indicated Inca origin. There were no terraces in the vicinity. It is difficult to imagine what such a large population could have done here, or how they lived. The walls were of compact cobblestones, rough-laid and stuccoed with adobe and sand. Most of the stucco had come off. Some of the houses had seats, or small sleeping-platforms, built up at one end. Others contained two or three small cells, possibly storerooms, with neither doors nor windows. We found a number of burial cists—some square, others rounded—lined with small cobblestones. In one house, at the foot of "cellar stairs" we found a subterranean room, or tomb. The entrance to it was covered with a single stone lintel. In examining this tomb Mr. Tucker had a narrow escape from being bitten by a boba, a venomous snake, nearly three feet in length, with vicious mouth, long fangs like a rattlesnake, and a strikingly mottled skin. At one place there was a low pyramid less than ten feet in height. To its top led a flight of rude stone steps.
Among the ruins we found a number of broken stone dishes, rudely carved out of soft, highly porous, scoriaceous lava. The dishes must have been hard to keep clean! We also found a small stone mortar, probably used for grinding paint; a broken stone war club; and a broken compact stone mortar and pestle possibly used for grinding corn. Two stones, a foot and a half long, roughly rounded, with a shallow groove across the middle of the flatter sides, resembled sinkers used by fishermen to hold down large nets, although ten times larger than any I had ever seen used. Perhaps they were to tie down roofs in a gale. There were a few potsherds lying on the surface of the ground, so weathered as to have lost whatever decoration they once had. We did no excavating. Callanga offers an interesting field for archeological investigation. Unfortunately, we had heard nothing of it previously, came upon it unexpectedly, and had but little time to give it. After the first night camp in the midst of the dead city we made the discovery that although it seemed to be entirely deserted, it was, as a matter of fact, well populated! I was reminded of Professor T. D. Seymour's story of his studies in the ruins of ancient Greece. We wondered what the fleas live on ordinarily.
Our next stopping-place was the small town of Andaray, whose thatched houses are built chiefly of stone plastered with mud. Near it we encountered two men with a mule, which they said they were taking into town to sell and were willing to dispose of cheaply. The Tejadas could not resist the temptation to buy a good animal at a bargain, although the circumstances were suspicious. Drawing on us for six gold sovereigns, they smilingly added the new mule to the pack train; only to discover on reaching Chuquibamba that they had purchased it from thieves. We were able to clear our arrieros of any complicity in the theft. Nevertheless, the owner of the stolen mule was unwilling to pay anything for its return. So they lost their bargain and their gold. We spent one night in Chuquibamba, with our friend Senor Benavides, the sub-prefect, and once more took up the well-traveled route to Arequipa. We left the Majes Valley in the afternoon and, as before, spent the night crossing the desert.
About three o'clock in the morning—after we had been jogging steadily along for about twelve hours in the dark and quiet of the night, the only sound the shuffle of the mules' feet in the sand, the only sight an occasional crescent-shaped dune, dimly visible in the starlight—the eastern horizon began to be faintly illumined. The moon had long since set. Could this be the approach of dawn? Sunrise was not due for at least two hours. In the tropics there is little twilight preceding the day; "the dawn comes up like thunder." Surely the moon could not be going to rise again! What could be the meaning of the rapidly brightening eastern sky? While we watched and marveled, the pure white light grew brighter and brighter, until we cried out in ecstasy as a dazzling luminary rose majestically above the horizon. A splendor, neither of the sun nor of the moon, shone upon us. It was the morning star. For sheer beauty, "divine, enchanting ravishment," Venus that day surpassed anything I have ever seen. In the words of the great Eastern poet, who had often seen such a sight in the deserts of Asia, "the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy."
Arequipa is one of the pleasantest places in the world: mountain air, bright sunshine, warm days, cool nights, and a sparkling atmosphere dear to the hearts of star-gazers. The city lies on a plateau, surrounded by mighty snow-capped volcanoes, Chachani (20,000 ft.), El Misti (19,000 ft.), and Pichu Pichu (18,000 ft.). Arequipa has only one nightmare—earthquakes. About twice in a century the spirits of the sleeping volcanoes stir, roll over, and go to sleep again. But they shake the bed! And Arequipa rests on their bed. The possibility of a "terremoto" is always present in the subconscious mind of the Arequipeno.
One evening I happened to be dining with a friend at the hospitable Arequipa Club. Suddenly the windows rattled violently and we heard a loud explosion; at least that is what it sounded like to me. To the members of the club, however, it meant only one thing—an earthquake. Everybody rushed out; the streets were already crowded with hysterical people, crying, shouting, and running toward the great open plaza in front of the beautiful cathedral. Here some dropped on their knees in gratitude at having escaped from falling walls, others prayed to the god of earthquakes to spare their city. Yet no walls had fallen! In the business district a great column of black smoke was rising. Gradually it became known to the panic-stricken throngs that the noise and the trembling had not been due to an earthquake, but to an explosion in a large warehouse which had contained gasoline, kerosene, dynamite and giant powder!
In this city of 35,000 people, the second largest of Peru, fires are so very rare, not even annual, scarcely biennial, that there were no fire engines. A bucket brigade was formed and tried to quench the roaring furnace by dipping water from one of the azequias, or canals, that run through the streets. The fire continued to belch forth dense masses of smoke and flame. In any American city such a blaze would certainly become a great conflagration.
While the fire was at its height I went into the adjoining building to see whether any help could be rendered. To my utter amazement the surface of the wall next to the fiery furnace was not even warm. Such is the result of building houses with massive walls of stone. Furthermore, the roofs in Arequipa are of tiles; consequently no harm was done by sparks. So, without a fire department, this really terrible fire was limited to one warehouse! The next day the newspapers talked about the "dire necessity" of securing fire engines. It was difficult for me to see what good a fire engine could have done. Nothing could have saved the warehouse itself once the fire got under way; and surely the houses next door would have suffered more had they been deluged with streams of water. The facts are almost incredible to an American. We take it as a matter of course that cities should have fires and explosions. In Arequipa everybody thought it was an earthquake!
A day's run by an excellent railroad takes one to Puno, the chief port of Lake Titicaca, elevation 12,500 feet. Puno boasts a soldier's monument and a new theater, really a "movie palace." There is a good harbor, although dredging is necessary to provide for steamers like the Inca. Repairs to the lake boats are made on a marine—or, rather, a lacustrine—railway. The bay of Puno grows quantities of totoras, giant bulrushes sometimes twelve feet long. Ages ago the lake dwellers learned to dry the totoras, tie them securely in long bundles, fasten the bundles together, turn up the ends, fix smaller bundles along the sides as a free-board, and so construct a fishing-boat, or balsa. Of course the balsas eventually become water-logged and spend a large part of their existence on the shore, drying in the sun. Even so, they are not very buoyant. I can testify that it is difficult to use them without getting one's shoes wet. As a matter of fact one should go barefooted, or wear sandals, as the natives do.
The balsas are clumsy, and difficult to paddle. The favorite method of locomotion is to pole or, when the wind favors, sail. The mast is an A-shaped contraption, twelve feet high, made of two light poles tied together and fastened, one to each side of the craft, slightly forward of amidships. Poles are extremely scarce in this region—lumber has to be brought from Puget Sound, 6000 miles away—so nearly all the masts I saw were made of small pieces of wood spliced two or three times. To the apex of the "A" is attached a forked stick, over which run the halyards. The rectangular "sail" is nothing more nor less than a large mat made of rushes. A short forestay fastened to the sides of the "A" about four feet above the hull prevents the mast from falling when the sail is hoisted. The main halyards take the place of a backstay. The balsas cannot beat to windward, but behave very well in shallow water with a favoring breeze. When the wind is contrary the boatmen must pole. They are extremely careful not to fall overboard, for the water in the lake is cold, 55 deg. F., and none of them know how to swim. Lake Titicaca itself never freezes over, although during the winter ice forms at night on the shallow bays and near the shore.
A Lake Titicaca Balsa at Puno ———
A Step-Topped Niche on the Island of Koati ———
When the Indians wish to go in the shallowest waters they use a very small balsa not over eight feet long, barely capable of supporting the weight of one man. On the other hand, large balsas constructed for use in crossing the rough waters of the deeper portions of the lake are capable of carrying a dozen people and their luggage. Once I saw a ploughman and his team of oxen being ferried across the lake on a bulrush raft. To give greater security two balsas are sometimes fastened together in the fashion of a double canoe.
One of the more highly speculative of the Bolivian writers, Senor Posnansky, of La Paz, believes that gigantic balsas were used in bringing ten-ton monoliths across the lake to Tiahuanaco. This theory is based on the assumption that Titicaca was once very much higher than it is now, a hypothesis which has not commended itself to modern geologists or geographers. Dr. Isaiah Bowman and Professor Herbert Gregory, who have studied its geology and physiography, have not been able to find any direct evidence of former high levels for Lake Titicaca, or of its having been connected with the ocean.
Nevertheless, Senor Posnansky believes that Lake Titicaca was once a salt sea which became separated from the ocean as the Andes rose. The fact that the lake fishes are fresh-water, rather than marine, forms does not bother him. Senor Posnansky pins his faith to a small dried seahorse once given him by a Titicaca fisherman. He seems to forget that dried specimens of marine life, including starfish, are frequently offered for sale in the Andes by the dealers in primitive medicines who may be found in almost every market-place. Probably Senor Posnansky's seahorse was brought from the ocean by some particularly enterprising trader. Although starfish are common enough in the Andes and a seahorse has actually found its resting-place in La Paz, this does not alter the fact that scientific investigators have never found any strictly marine fauna in Lake Titicaca. On the other hand, it has two or three kinds of edible fresh-water fish. One of them belongs to a species found in the Rimac River near Lima. It seems to me entirely possible that the Incas, with their scorn of the difficulties of carrying heavy burdens over seemingly impossible trails, might have deliberately transplanted the desirable fresh-water fishes of the Rimac River to Lake Titicaca.
Polo de Ondegardo, who lived in Cuzco in 1560, says that the Incas used to bring fresh fish from the sea by special runners, and that "they have records in their quipus of the fish having been brought from Tumbez, a distance of more than three hundred leagues." The actual transference of water jars containing the fish would have offered no serious obstacle whatever to the Incas, provided the idea happened to appeal to them as desirable. Yet I may be as far wrong as Senor Posnansky! At any rate, the romantic stories of a gigantic inland sea, vastly more extensive than the present lake and actually surrounding the ancient city of Tiahuanaco, must be treated with respectful skepticism.
Tiahuanaco, at the southern end of Lake Titicaca, in Bolivia, is famous for the remains of a pre-Inca civilization. Unique among prehistoric remains in the highlands of Peru or Bolivia are its carved monolithic images. Although they have suffered from weathering and from vandalism, enough remains to show that they represent clothed human figures. The richly decorated girdles and long tunics are carved in low relief with an intricate pattern. While some of the designs are undoubtedly symbolic of the rank, achievements, or attributes of the divinities or chiefs here portrayed, there is nothing hieroglyphic. The images are stiff and show no appreciation of the beauty of the human form. Probably the ancient artists never had an opportunity to study the human body. In Andean villages, even little children do not go naked as they do among primitive peoples who live in warm climates. The Highlanders of Peru and Bolivia are always heavily clothed, day and night. Forced by their climate to seek comfort in the amount and thickness of their apparel, they have developed an excessive modesty in regard to bodily exposure which is in striking contrast to people who live on the warm sands of the South Seas. Inca sculptors and potters rarely employed the human body as a motif. Tiahuanaco is pre-Inca, yet even here the images are clothed. They were not represented as clothed in order to make easier the work of the sculptor. His carving shows he had great skill, was observant, and had true artistic feeling. Apparently the taboo against "nakedness" was too much for him.
Among the thirty-six islands in Lake Titicaca, some belong to Peru, others to Bolivia. Two of the latter, Titicaca and Koati, were peculiarly venerated in Inca days. They are covered with artificial terraces, most of which are still used by the Indian farmers of to-day. On both islands there are ruins of important Inca structures. On Titicaca Island I was shown two caves, out of which, say the Indians, came the sun and moon at their creation. These caves are not large enough for a man to stand upright, but to a people who do not appreciate the size of the heavenly bodies it requires no stretch of the imagination to believe that those bright disks came forth from caves eight feet wide. The myth probably originated with dwellers on the western shore of the lake who would often see the sun or moon rise over this island. On an ancient road that runs across the island my native guide pointed out the "footprints of the sun and moon"—two curious effects of erosion which bear a distant resemblance to the footprints of giants twenty or thirty feet tall.
The present-day Indians, known as Aymaras, seem to be hard-working and fairly cheerful. The impression which Bandelier gives, in his "Islands of Titicaca and Koati," of the degradation and surly character of these Indians was not apparent at the time of my short visit in 1915. It is quite possible, however, that if I had to live among the Indians, as he did for several months, digging up their ancient places of worship, disturbing their superstitious prejudices, and possibly upsetting, in their minds, the proper balance between wet weather and dry, I might have brought upon myself uncivil looks and rough, churlish treatment such as he experienced. In judging the attitude of mind of the natives of Titicaca one should remember that they live under most trying conditions of climate and environment. During several months of the year everything is dried up and parched. The brilliant sun of the tropics, burning mercilessly through the rarefied air, causes the scant vegetation to wither. Then come torrential rains. I shall never forget my first experience on Lake Titicaca, when the steamer encountered a rain squall. The resulting deluge actually came through the decks. Needless to say, such downpours tend to wash away the soil which the farmers have painfully gathered for field or garden. The sun in the daytime is extremely hot, yet the difference in temperature between sun and shade is excessive. Furthermore, the winds at night are very damp; the cold is intensely penetrating. Fuel is exceedingly scarce, there is barely enough for cooking purposes, and none for artificial heat.
Food is hard to get. Few crops can be grown at 12,500 feet. Some barley is raised, but the soil is lacking in nitrogen. The principal crop is the bitter white potato, which, after being frozen and dried, becomes the insipid chuno, chief reliance of the poorer families. The Inca system of bringing guano from the islands of the Pacific coast has long since been abandoned. There is no money to pay for modern fertilizers. Consequently, crops are poor. On Titicaca Island I saw native women, who had just harvested their maize, engaged in shucking and drying ears of corn which varied in length from one to three inches. To be sure this miniature corn has the advantage of maturing in sixty days, but good soil and fertilizers would double its size and productiveness.
Naturally these Indians always feel themselves at the mercy of the elements. Either a long rainy season or a drought may cause acute hunger and extreme suffering. Consequently, one must not blame the Bolivian or Peruvian Highlander if he frequently appears to be sullen and morose. On the other hand, one ought not to praise Samoans for being happy, hospitable, and light-hearted. Those fortunate Polynesians are surrounded by warm waters in which they can always enjoy a swim, trees from which delicious food can always be obtained, and cocoanuts from which cooling drinks are secured without cost. Who could not develop cheerfulness under such conditions?
On the small island, Koati, some of the Inca stonework is remarkably good, and has several unusual features, such as the elaboration of the large, reentrant, ceremonial niches formed by step-topped arches, one within the other. Small ornamental niches are used to break the space between these recesses and the upper corners of the whole rectangle containing them. Also unusual are the niches between the doorways, made in the form of an elaborate quadrate cross. It might seem at first glance as though this feature showed Spanish influence, since a Papal cross is created by the shadow cast in the intervening recessed courses within their design. As a matter of fact, the cross nowy quadrant is a natural outcome of using for ornamental purposes the step-shaped design, both erect and inverted. All over the land of the Incas one finds flights of steps or terraces used repeatedly for ornamental or ceremonial purposes. Some stairs are large enough to be used by man; others are in miniature. Frequently the steps were cut into the sacred boulders consecrated to ancestor worship. It was easy for an Inca architect, accustomed to the stairway motif, to have conceived these curious doorways on Koati and also the cross-like niches between them, even if he had never seen any representation of a Papal cross, or a cross nowy quadrant. My friend, Mr. Bancel La Farge, has also suggested a striking resemblance which the sedilia-like niches bear to Arabic or Moorish architecture, as shown, for instance, in the Court of the Lions in the Alhambra. The step-topped arch is distinctly Oriental in form, yet flights of steps or terraces are also thoroughly Incaic.
The principal structure on Koati was built around three sides of a small plaza, constructed on an artificial terrace in a slight depression on the eastern side of the island. The fourth side is open and affords a magnificent view of the lake and the wonderful snow-covered Cordillera Real, 200 miles long and nowhere less than 17,000 feet high. This range of lofty snow-peaks of surpassing beauty culminates in Mt. Sorata, 21,520 feet high. To the worshipers of the sun and moon, who came to the sacred islands for some of their most elaborate religious ceremonies, the sight of those heavenly luminaries, rising over the majestic snow mountains, their glories reflected in the shining waters of the lake, must have been a sublime spectacle. On such occasions the little plaza would indeed have been worth seeing. We may imagine the gayly caparisoned Incas, their faces lit up by the colors of "rosy-fingered dawn, daughter of the morning," their ceremonial formation sharply outlined against the high, decorated walls of the buildings behind them. Perhaps the rulers and high priests had special stations in front of the large, step-topped niches. One may be sure that a people who were fond of bright colors, who were able to manufacture exquisite textiles, and who loved to decorate their garments with spangles and disks of beaten gold, would have lost no opportunity for making the ancient ceremonies truly resplendent.
On the peninsula of Copacabana, opposite the sacred islands, a great annual pageant is still staged every August. Although at present connected with a pious pilgrimage to the shrine of the miraculous image of the "Virgin of Copacabana," this vivid spectacle, the most celebrated fair in all South America, has its origin in the dim past. It comes after the maize is harvested and corresponds to our Thanksgiving festival. The scene is laid in the plaza in front of a large, bizarre church. During the first ten days in August there are gathered here thousands of the mountain folk from far and near. Everything dear to the heart of the Aymara Indian is offered for sale, including quantities of his favorite beverages. Traders, usually women, sit in long rows on blankets laid on the cobblestone pavement. Some of them are protected from the sun by primitive umbrellas, consisting of a square cotton sheet stretched over a bamboo frame. In one row are those traders who sell parched and popped corn; in another those who deal in sandals and shoes, the simple gear of the humblest wayfarer and the elaborately decorated high-laced boots affected by the wealthy Chola women of La Paz. In another row are the dealers in Indian blankets; still another is devoted to such trinkets as one might expect to find in a "needle-and-thread" shop at home. There are stolid Aymara peddlers with scores of bamboo flutes varying in size from a piccolo to a bassoon; the hat merchants, with piles of freshly made native felts, warranted to last for at least a year; and vendors of aniline dyes. The fabrics which have come to us from Inca times are colored with beautifully soft vegetable dyes. Among Inca ruins one may find small stone mortars, in which the primitive pigments were ground and mixed with infinite care. Although the modern Indian still prefers the product of hand looms, he has been quick to adopt the harsh aniline dyes, which are not only easier to secure, but produce more striking results.
As a citizen of Connecticut it gave me quite a start to see, carelessly exposed to the weather on the rough cobblestones of the plaza, bright new hardware from New Haven and New Britain—locks, keys, spring scales, bolts, screw eyes, hooks, and other "wooden nutmegs."
At the tables of the "money-changers," just outside of the sacred enclosure, are the real moneymakers, who give nothing for something. Thimble-riggers and three-card-monte-men do a brisk business and stand ready to fleece the guileless native or the unsuspecting foreigner. The operators may wear ragged ponchos and appear to be incapable of deep designs, but they know all the tricks of the trade! The most striking feature of the fair is the presence of various Aymara secret societies, whose members, wearing repulsive masks, are clad in the most extraordinary costumes which can be invented by primitive imaginations. Each society has its own uniform, made up of tinsels and figured satins, tin-foil, gold and silver leaf, gaudy textiles, magnificent epaulets bearing large golden stars on a background of silver decorated with glittering gems of colored glass; tinted "ostrich" plumes of many colors sticking straight up eighteen inches above the heads of their wearers, gaudy ribbons, beruffled bodices, puffed sleeves, and slashed trunks. Some of these strange costumes are actually reminiscent of the sixteenth century. The wearers are provided with flutes, whistles, cymbals, flageolets, snare drums, and rattles, or other noise-makers. The result is an indescribable hubbub; a garish human kaleidoscope, accompanied by fiendish clamor and unmusical noises which fairly outstrip a dozen jazz bands. It is bedlam let loose, a scene of wild uproar and confusion.
The members of one group were dressed to represent female angels, their heads tightly turbaned so as to bear the maximum number of tall, waving, variegated plumes. On their backs were gaudy wings resembling the butterflies of children's pantomimes. Many wore colored goggles. They marched solemnly around the plaza, playing on bamboo flageolets, their plaintive tunes drowned in the din of big bass drums and blatant trumpets. In an eddy in the seething crowd was a placid-faced Aymara, bedecked in the most tawdry manner with gewgaws from Birmingham or Manchester, sedately playing a melancholy tune on a rustic syrinx or Pan's pipe, charmingly made from little tubes of bamboo from eastern Bolivia.
At the close of the festival, on a Sunday afternoon, the costumes disappear and there occurs a bull-baiting. Strong temporary barriers are erected at the comers of the plaza; householders bar their doors. A riotous crowd, composed of hundreds of pleasure-seekers, well fortified with Dutch courage, gathers for the fray. All are ready to run helter-skelter in every direction should the bull take it into his head to charge toward them. It is not a bullfight. There are no picadors, armed with lances to prick the bull to madness; no banderilleros, with barbed darts; no heroic matador, ready with shining blade to give a mad and weary bull the coup de grace. Here all is fun and frolic. To be sure, the bull is duly annoyed by boastful boys or drunken Aymaras, who prod him with sticks and shake bright ponchos in his face until he dashes after his tormentors and causes a mighty scattering of some spectators, amid shrieks of delight from everybody else. When one animal gets tired, another is brought on. There is no chance of a bull being wounded or seriously hurt. At the time of our visit the only animal who seemed at all anxious to do real damage was let alone. He showed no disposition to charge at random into the crowds. The spectators surrounded the plaza so thickly that he could not distinguish any one particular enemy on whom to vent his rage. He galloped madly after any individual who crossed the plaza. Five or six bulls were let loose during the excitement, but no harm was done, and every one had an uproariously good time.
Such is the spectacle of Copacabana, a mixture of business and pleasure, pagan and Christian, Spain and Titicaca. Bedlam is not pleasant to one's ears; yet to see the staid mountain herdsmen, attired in plumes, petticoats, epaulets, and goggles, blowing mightily with puffed-out lips on bamboo flageolets, is worth a long journey.
The Vilcanota Country and the Peruvian Highlanders
In the northernmost part of the Titicaca Basin are the grassy foothills of the Cordillera Vilcanota, where large herds of alpacas thrive on the sweet, tender pasturage. Santa Rosa is the principal town. Here wool-buyers come to bid for the clip. The high prices which alpaca fleece commands have brought prosperity. Excellent blankets, renowned in southern Peru for their weight and texture, are made here on hand looms. Notwithstanding the altitude—nearly as great as the top of Pike's Peak—the stocky inhabitants of Santa Rosa are hardy, vigorous, and energetic. Ricardo Charaja, the best Quichua assistant we ever had, came from Santa Rosa. Nearly all the citizens are of pure Indian stock.
They own many fine llamas. There is abundant pasturage and the llamas are well cared for by the Indians, who become personally attached to their flocks and are loath to part with any of the individuals. Once I attempted through a Cuzco acquaintance to secure the skin and skeleton of a fine llama for the Yale Museum. My friend was favorably known and spoke the Quichua language fluently. He offered a good price and obtained from various llama owners promises to bring the hide and bones of one of their "camels" for shipment; but they never did. Apparently they regarded it as unlucky to kill a llama, and none happened to die at the right time. The llamas never show affection for their masters, as horses often do. On the other hand I have never seen a llama kick or bite at his owner.
The llama was the only beast of burden known in either North or South America before Columbus. It was found by the Spaniards in all parts of Inca Land. Its small two-toed feet, with their rough pads, enable it to walk easily on slopes too rough or steep for even a nimble-footed, mountain-bred mule. It has the reputation of being an unpleasant pet, due to its ability to sneeze or spit for a considerable distance a small quantity of acrid saliva. When I was in college Barnum's Circus came to town. The menagerie included a dozen llamas, whose supercilious expression, inoffensive looks, and small size—they are only three feet high at the shoulder
tempted some little urchins to tease them. When the llamas felt that the time had come for reprisals, their aim was straight and the result a precipitate retreat. Their tormentors, howling and rubbing their eyes, had to run home and wash their faces. Curiously enough, in the two years which I have spent in the Peruvian highlands I have never seen a llama so attack a single human being. On the other hand, when I was in Santa Rosa in 1915 some one had a tame vicuna which was perfectly willing to sneeze straight at any stranger who came within twenty feet of it, even if one's motive was nothing more annoying than scientific curiosity. The vicuna is the smallest American "camel," yet its long, slender neck, small head, long legs, and small body, from which hangs long, feathery fleece, make it look more like an ostrich than a camel.
In the churchyard of Santa Rosa are two or three gnarled trees which have been carefully preserved for centuries as objects of respect and veneration. Some travelers have thought that 14,000 feet is above the tree line, but the presence of these trees at Santa Rosa would seem to show that the use of the words "tree line" is a misnomer in the Andes. Mr. Cook believes that the Peruvian plateau, with the exception of the coastal deserts, was once well covered with forests. When man first came into the Andes, everything except rocky ledges, snow fields, and glaciers was covered with forest growth. Although many districts are now entirely treeless, Mr. Cook found that the conditions of light, heat, and moisture, even at the highest elevations, are sufficient to support the growth of trees; also that there is ample fertility of soil. His theories are well substantiated by several isolated tracts of forests which I found growing alongside of glaciers at very high elevations. One forest in particular, on the slopes of Mt. Soiroccocha, has been accurately determined by Mr. Bumstead to be over 15,000 feet above sea level. It is cut off from the inhabited valley by rock falls and precipices, so it has not been available for fuel. Virgin forests are not known to exist in the Peruvian highlands on any lands which could have been cultivated. A certain amount of natural reforestation with native trees is taking place on abandoned agricultural terraces in some of the high valleys. Although these trees belong to many different species and families, Mr. Cook found that they all have this striking peculiarity—when cut down they sprout readily from the stumps and are able to survive repeated pollarding; remarkable evidence of the fact that the primeval forests of Peru were long ago cut down for fuel or burned over for agriculture.
Near the Santa Rosa trees is a tall bell-tower. The sight of a picturesque belfry with four or five bells of different sizes hanging each in its respective window makes a strong appeal. It is quite otherwise on Sunday mornings when these same bells, "out of tune with themselves," or actually cracked, are all rung at the same time. The resulting clangor and din is unforgettable. I presume the Chinese would say it was intended to drive away the devils—and surely such noise must be "thoroughly uncongenial even to the most irreclaimable devil," as Lord Frederick Hamilton said of the Canton practices. Church bells in the United States and England are usually sweet-toned and intended to invite the hearer to come to service, or else they ring out in joyous peals to announce some festive occasion. There is nothing inviting or joyous about the bells in southern Peru. Once in a while one may hear a bell of deep, sweet tone, like that of the great bell in Cuzco, which is tolled when the last sacrament is being administered to a dying Christian; but the general idea of bell-ringers in this part of the world seems to be to make the greatest possible amount of racket and clamor. On popular saints' days this is accompanied by firecrackers, aerial bombs, and other noise-making devices which again remind one of Chinese folkways. Perhaps it is merely that fundamental fondness for making a noise which is found in all healthy children.
On Sunday afternoon the plaza of Santa Rosa was well filled with Quichua holiday-makers, many of whom had been imbibing freely of chicha, a mild native brew usually made from ripe corn. The crowd was remarkably good-natured and given to an unusual amount of laughter and gayety. For them Sunday is truly a day of rest, recreation, and sociability. On week days, most of them, even the smaller boys, are off on the mountain pastures, watching the herds whose wool brings prosperity to Santa Rosa. One sometimes finds the mountain Indians on Sunday afternoon sodden, thoroughly soaked with chicha, and inclined to resent the presence of inquisitive strangers; not so these good folk of Santa Rosa.
Indian Alcaldes at Santa Rosa ———
Native Druggists in the Plaza of Sicuani ———
To be sure, the female vendors of eggs, potatoes, peppers, and sundry native vegetables, squatting in two long rows on the plaza, did not enjoy being photographed, but the men and boys crowded eagerly forward, very much interested in my endeavors. Some of the Indian alcaldes, local magistrates elected yearly to serve as the responsible officials for villages or tribal precincts, were very helpful and, armed with their large, silver-mounted staffs of office, tried to bring the shy, retiring women of the market-place to stand in a frightened, disgruntled, barefooted group before the camera. The women were dressed in the customary tight bodices, heavy woolen skirts, and voluminous petticoats of the plateau. Over their shoulders were pinned heavy woolen shawls, woven on hand looms. On their heads were reversible "pancake" hats made of straw, covered on the wet-weather side with coarse woolen stuff and on the fair-weather side with tinsel and velveteen. In accordance with local custom, tassels and fringes hung down on both sides. It is said that the first Inca ordered the dresses of each village to be different, so that his officials might know to which tribe an Indian belonged. It was only with great difficulty and by the combined efforts of a good-natured priest, the gobernador or mayor, and the alcaldes that a dozen very reluctant females were finally persuaded to face the camera. The expression of their faces was very eloquent. Some were highly indignant, others looked foolish or supercilious, two or three were thoroughly frightened, not knowing what evil might befall them next. Not one gave any evidence of enjoying it or taking the matter as a good joke, although that was the attitude assumed by all their male acquaintances. In fact, some of the men were so anxious to have their pictures taken that they followed us about and posed on the edge of every group.
Men and boys all wore knitted woolen caps, with ear flaps, which they seldom remove either day or night. On top of these were large felt hats, turned up in front so as to give a bold aspect to their husky wearers. Over their shoulders were heavy woolen ponchos, decorated with bright stripes. Their trousers end abruptly halfway between knee and ankle, a convenient style for herdsmen who have to walk in the long, dewy grasses of the plateau. These "high-water" pantaloons do not look badly when worn with sandals, as is the usual custom; but since this was Sunday all the well-to-do men had put on European boots, which did not come up to the bottom of their trousers and produced a singular effect, hardly likely to become fashionable.
The prosperity of the town was also shown by corrugated iron roofs. Far less picturesque than thatch or tile, they require less attention and give greater satisfaction during the rainy season. They can also be securely bolted to the rafters. On this wind-swept plateau we frequently noticed that a thatched roof was held in place by ropes passed over the house and weights resting on the roof. Sometimes to the peak of a gable are fastened crosses, tiny flags, or the skulls of animals—probably to avert the Evil Eye or bring good luck. Horseshoes do not seem to be in demand. Horses' skulls, however, are deemed very efficacious.