Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
A Famous Indian Market - 'The Roof of the World' -
Down to the Pacific Ocean
From the railway terminus, going was easy to Huancayo, the first passably decent place we
had struck for a long time.
This little town is noted for its Indian market, which is held every Sunday, and which is
probably the most important and busy of its kind in the whole of South America. On Saturday
afternoon, and early on Sunday morning, Indians come flocking into town from far and near.
Pottery, leather goods, hand-woven blankets, dies, grain, cleverly carved and painted cala-
bashes, herbs, etc., are sold at low prices, provided the buyer knows how to barter with the
thrifty vendors. Up to thirty thousand people gather weekly in this town, and nowhere else
have I seen such a busy and colourful Indian market.
Whilst here I had the pleasure of meeting Messrs Campe and Goddard, who invited me to
visittheCarnegieobservationstationofwhichtheyareincharge.There,terrestrialmagnetism
and electric currents are being observed, and I spent a most pleasant and instructive day. As
Mr Goddard had formerly been a member of MacMillan's polar expedition we had plenty to
chat about.
Most of the soldiers in Peru are recruited, or rather 'rounded up' among the Indians, the
few whites one sees in uniform being officers, and whilst I was in Huancayo I saw a contin-
gent of future warriors arrive. A cordon of armed soldiers marched ahead, followed by two
long lines of frightened and depressed-looking Indians, who carried small bundles of personal
belongings on their backs. At the rear another armed guard shut in this sad procession, and
lines of soldiers with rifles marched on either side of the files of Indians, making any attempt
to escape difficult and dangerous. Thinking that these dejected-looking Indians were crimin-
als or rebels who were on their way to an internment camp, I made enquiries as to what had
happened, whereupon a Peruvian friend of mine informed me that these were the volunteers
from Ayacucho and that they were on their way to the military barracks where they would be
stuck into uniforms and then told that they were soldiers. In front of the procession one man
carried a small red and white Peruvian flag, and the people who had come out of their houses
to look on, every now and again shouted, ' Vivan los voluntaries de Ayacucho ,' and the poor
Indians, most of whom could not even understand Spanish, then looked more frightened than
ever and huddled together like sheep when a dog worries them. I came to the conclusion that
either the word voluntario (volunteer) must have a different meaning in Peru from what it has
elsewhere, or else that some of the people there have a very strange sense of humour.
Very justly, the average Indian intensely hates the whites, and none of them have the
faintest notion what Peru is - yet, after having been rounded up, and by force brought down
from their mountain homes, these peaceful and industrious men are expected to defend their
Search WWH ::




Custom Search