Puno (a.m.) / Moquegua (p.m.), Peru
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
11/09/2001 Hotel El Mirador 415 KM 210168 KM

We see sturdy, stone fences throughout Peru. They are all handcrafted without mortar as has been done for centuries.

We crossed the Andes yet again after first crossing from Chile into Argentina in July, later through Bolivia and now through Peru east to west.

Alabaster fills the windows inside Pomata’s church.

During our drive today, we stopped off at the small village of Pomata, which is home to an exquisite Andean baroque church.

Before departing Puno, Jim and I visited the Cathedral, where local cholitas posed with us.

After a few nights in Cusco, we returned to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.

11 September 2001 – Every American will remember where they were when they learned that an American Airlines plane, complete with passengers, flew into the World Trade Center. Jim and I were in Puno. I had just checked out of the hotel, when Jim ran over exclaiming, “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center.” The hotel manager had found Jim at breakfast to share the wretched news and offer condolences.

Jim and I dashed to a room to watch Peruvian news cover the event and saw that not only had one plane crashed, but another one hit the other tower and a third plane flew into the Pentagon. We both shook our heads in disbelief. America was under attack. I spent the remainder of the day driving in a haze, full of wonder and dread. I drove by signs looking right at them, but not seeing see them, as my focus was on America and the ramifications of this disaster.

Jim and I have seen evidence first-hand of anti-US sentiment on our world journey, but were they capable of this? But closer to home, where was the United States’ multi-billion dollar Intelligence? How could the massive CIA and FBI departments not know anything of this horrible event? We could feed, educate and vaccinate the entire needy world for what America spends on Intelligence. And, three of our planes go down killing thousands…

Not until early evening did our short-wave radio receive a BBC signal, which told us that the Twin Towers had collapsed and a fourth plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. What a nightmare! What a devastating tragedy! Countless dead. Children to grow up without a parent. A new America is before us.

Already, the media speculates bin Laden is behind the attacks. I can only hope that American politicians will look to hard evidence before annihilating Afghanistan and her poverty-stricken people. And, what in the world will happen to those Western missionaries, two Americans, on trial in Afghanistan? I can only imagine a certain death for them now.

But before jumping to judgment, let’s remember that when McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma building, America’s first response was to blame Islamic fundamentalists and we were dead wrong. And if America proves that Islamic radicals are behind today’s horrible destruction, I hope, with all my might, that Americans will not blame all Muslims. The Koran doesn't condone the evil deeds committed today nor will the majority of Muslims.

Perhaps this will make Americans take a serious look at US foreign policy. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps – I could list a hundred potential outcomes from this tragedy. But, no matter the decisions made by our government on retaliation – and I fear a severely heavy-handed response creating more hatred in our enemies – nothing entitled anyone in the world to kill thousands of innocent civilians today. Absolutely no rationale – political or religious – can condone what the suicide bombers did on 11 September 2001 in the USA.

  World Trade Center (Jim)
  Crossing the Andes (Jim)