Tag Archives: Cristo Redentor


Juanita was a little girl, not a teenager yet, when she traveled on foot, for days into the mountains, to the highest peak, to be sacrificed to the Inca  God, Apu Ampato. She was one of several children who were chosen to apease the angry god, who caused the volcano to erupt. Of course you give God the best you have:  innocent, virginal children, some ostensibly were of royalty.

Juanita was found by an  anthropologist, Dr. Johan Reinhard, in l995. The most astonishing thing to me was that her umbilical cord was with her. In Inca tradition, all mothers kept her child’s cord for as long as he or she lived, because it could prove useful if it contacted any diseases. Because of this, we have the  DNA of the sacrificed children. I remember the political commotion caused by the religious right  during the Bush administration about using umbilical cords for stem cell research. Whew. We have a lot to learn.

Jaunita was scanned at john’s Hopkins.They found out she had been killed by a blow to the temple above her right eye. The DNA showed she had eaten, fasted, and been sedated  prior to her death.

Juanita, who spends much of her time in the lab being studied, is taking a break from all that probing , and is resting, fully clothed in the same robes she had on 5 centuries ago in the small museum in Arequipa.  Visitors marvel at her small body,  pulled up into a fetal position, looking quite serene.

I expected grisly. It was anything but. Nat. Geo made a video of Juanita. It’s worth looking up.


Rio in Five Hours

Rio in five hours.

The towering 98ft limestone Cristo Redentor sits in the middle of the Tijuca national park, a tropical jungle smack in the middle of the city.
The artsy neighborhood of Santa Teresa, the Catedral Metropolitana downtown, (depending on who you talk to 26-46% of Brazilians are catholic) and 1300 foot high Sugarloaf, a huge granite and quartz rock that over looks Copacabana, and Ipanema beaches. Whew. This is the city version of eight cities in ten days.

A van full of folks from Europe, South Africa, Brazil, and the U.S.,   

 led by a young, fast talking guide sped through the city as if we were being pursued.

“When I say stick together, ju shud be together. When I say ju hav 20 minutes, ju hav that. If ju become lat, it is bad for ju-not for me. I tell ju that if ju are late ju will be sorry because ju will miss the sunset from Sugerloaf mountain and it is best part of trip!”
Warned, we careened around a narrow mountain road to a busy parking area where there were long lines of tourists waiting to board park vans to haul them further up the hill to the elevators or steps that finally end at the feet of the Cristo. 

 Raphael retrieved our tickets and whisked us past the queue.
At the base of the elevators he commanded, ” we meet here at twenty minutos past three. Everybody together. OK?” 
We were there. The van was not. We waited. Maybe fifteen minutes later we were winding our way down through the hilly neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Aging, elegant homes stood tall above us like so many widows with veiled eyes.   

On the downside slope below them were shops filled with what appeared to be artistic stuff. We didn’t have time to browse.
When we parked on a side street, Raphael announced:
“We will not see the sunset. The traffic is bad because it is Friday.”
“It’s Thursday!”we rang out.
“Ahhh. It’s bad traffic for Thursday,” he laughed.
You had to love him.
Separately we explored stairs  

that were covered with tiles representing places around the world.

“Remember. I say important to stay together. It’s worse here.”
By this time no one was listening. We certainly didn’t stay together. I wandered into Balaze Gardi. A truly wonderful exhibit of black and white photographs showing our planet’s troubling issue with water. For some sobering reminders have a look at his website.

 I wanted to see more, spend more time, but I didn’t. I hate being the last person on the bus.
Next, the conical cathedral. Lovely. I liked it best reflected in the office building across the street.

 “Five minutoes!” he called to us as we poured out of the van. “Only five!”
It was dark as we pulled up to Pao de Acucar or Sugarloaf which is actually two mountains.
Waiting for the Italian cable car up to the highest point there was a sign that read: ‘Do not feed the wild animals.” Now this is an extremely high volume pedestrian area. “What animals are here?” I asked.
Raphael, a master of improv, said ” Nada. No animales live here now. Maybe before.”
Then he recanted. “Monkeys. But it is winter and they are gone for the winter.”
Gone for the winter? The temperature is in the 70s-f. It is not cold. Nevertheless, maybe they have gone to Columbia, or Florida-somewhere quiet.
Finally we reached the top. The view was spectacular as promised. “We will meet together. Here. Twenty minutoes. Together.”