These bears largely inhabit the cloud forests of the Andes as the very humid conditions support a wide range of food sources. They are largely arboreal are shy solitary animals, avoiding humans by climbing trees if they can. In the cloud forests they are active day and night, but in the Peruvian desert areas they tend to seek shade during the day.
Getting away from bears, appealing as they are, Peru lies along the Pacific West coast of South America with Ecuador and Columbia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the southeast and Chile to the south.
It has a long and very interesting history, being home to some very ancient cultures from 32nd. century BC, the Inca Empire, the Spanish Empire, through to the present day of being a representational democracy with a history of economic development and prosperity.
Like most countries in this region, the population is widely multiethnic, with Spanish being the main spoken language but with native languages such as Quechuan and Aymaran. This cultural diversity is also naturally reflected in food, arts, music and literature throughout the country. Just as diverse is the climate of Peru, the geography ranges from narrow coastal plains, the highlands and mountains, and the jungle, with regionally defines climates from arid to very humid in the jungle. (By the by...don't you think "jungle" is one of those strangely odd words? I do...the more I look at it the stranger it gets...).
For my inchie this week I have selected an image of the National flower of Peru. the Cantua buxifolia, or Peruvian Magic Tree. The bloom is believed, through an Inca legend, to be symbolic of regret, reconciliation and unity and the colours of red, yellow and green are reflected in the county's flag.
The plant grows well here in Tasmania, the slim pendulous flower trumpets showing glorious transition of yellows, pinks and scarlet, but I have to say that, I was just a tad spoilt for choice...I think if I still had proper knees Peru is a country I would definitely love to visit.
For the matting layer of the inchie I chose an image of some of the extraordinary Nazca lines, found on the Nazca plateau, an arid desert region of Southern Peru. These huge geoglyphs are best seen from the air, or elevated positions, to be able to take in the scope.
Just why these enormous structures were made is not known, although many theories, from appeasing Gods in the heaven, cosmology and astronomy to other religious purposes associated with water availability and even as giant ancient looms for creating string like textiles...I guess that really, no-one has any idea. But they are fascinating to contemplate and I do think it is nice that there are still some secrets left in the world.
Tim and Chris are still quietly working their way through the giant container of Cadbury Favourites that were opened for the chocolate fiends on Easter Sunday. Either that or we have clever container-savvy mice about, as the box is definitely lighter each day. I am quite safe from those as chocolate has never been on my agenda... oh, I forgot, we did have some rather delicious cauliflower fritters made with besan flour...and a most yummo zucchini loaf and roasted tomato salad when a friend visited around lunchtime...but nothing over the top...promise.