About fifteen years years ago I was on a long business trip through South America. There was a Music Fair in Brazil, visits to customers in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and then…I disappeared! For a week or more there was no contact with the office in San Francisco or with anyone. Just a few years before the country of Peru had been under siege by a group of Maoist terrorists but finally the threat had diminished. So… I headed for Peru, took a hard right turn at Lima and landed in Cusco high in the Andes. I had just been in La Paz, Bolivia for three days. La Paz in 12,000 feet above sea level so I had already made some progress toward acclimating to the altitude, and a few more days in Cusco at 11,000 feet completed the job.
I had heard about the Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, a couple of years before when I was en route from Pakistan to China over the Pamir Mountains. One of the travelers that I met along the way told me about it and said the trek was one of the best ever. In the years since, Machu has become quite well known, but at that time it was still an obscure destination. The trek from just outside Cusco to Machu Picchu took three or four days and followed the Inca Trail over some of the most incredible landscape that I have ever seen. It was a great adventure!
But it was, after all a business trip, right? I came back from the Andes with contact information about the Quechua artists (the descendents of the Inca) near Cusco who produced the beautiful Ocarinas and Panpipes used in the traditional music of the Andes. Soon we began to import those instruments and it has developed into a very nice segment of our business.
A few weeks ago I was down in Peru again and it occurred to me that I did tell the story about the trip to Machu Picchu in one of these Pacific Road articles many years ago, but I never did mention the part about the Ocarinas and Panpipes. Of course that had not happened yet so now you know (as Paul Harvey used to say)…the rest of the story!
On page 120, you can see the Ocarinas that are being produced in the family owned and operated workshop down in Peru. The material is kiln-fired ceramic, which is then fine tuned and hand-painted. Of course the circle isn’t complete until you sell one of these instruments to your customers. The Ocarinas that you see on this page will be arriving soon and we’ll be glad to send some out to you. Just give us a call—1-800-BUY-SAGA (1-800-289-7242).