Don Quixote, Bill Gates and Searchers for Centuries : Yanahuara, Peru. December 2008.

This is the place in Peru my late father most would have loved to see, the library at the Monasterio de Recoleta.

Not Machu Picchu or the remains of the cities in the Sacred Valley, not the walk by the sea in posh Miraflores. He would have best liked this old room filled with old books. The monasterio is in Yanahuara, a neighborhood across a small river from one of Peru's most conservative cities, Arequipa.
That book shown to the left is supposed to be an early, perhaps even first edition, of "Don Quixote." The book shown below is an early written dictionary of Quechua, the language spoken by the Incas and still spoken today in the Andes. I wondered how Quechua influences the Spanish of the Andes. Is it the cause of the slushy s sound I heard? Asiento (the word for seat in Spanish) becomes ashiento, gracias ..more like grashias.

Faraway Things

Recoleta also houses a neat collection of stuffed birds and animals from the Amazon, which were used to instruct priests heading into what for them was the unknown. The monastery itself is lovely, prettier than these pictures show. It's well worth the short walk from Arequipa.

My husband and I saw this sign for the Bill Gates school of informatica and matematicas not far from the monastery. It seems like people in Yanahuara have been striving for all kinds of knowledge for quite a while in this blessed little bit of real estate, or so it seemed to this daytripper.

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