When I first got to Pátapo, I was confused that it was called “tierra de miel.” To me, “miel” was honey, but here, honey is “miel de abeja” – “honey from bees.” Miel is used more to mean what I would call syrup. Pátapo started out as a sugar cane plantation, and the main crop in the surrounding area is still sugar cane. To make the sugar you extract the juice and boil it down, hence, the miel.
The other thing that confused me were the steam engines. Almost all of the pueblos around here have steam engines in their Parque Principal or as is the case of Pátapo, at the town entrance. The thing is, there are no railroad tracks and I didn’t understand why each town had one of these engines.
Francisco is our resident expert on The Ciudadela (the Chimú ruins on the hill next to our town). He has devoted the last 16 years (when he wasn’t at work cutting cane) to exploring the ruins and collecting historical articles and photos of the town. The other day we were looking at old photographs and I got the answer about the trains. Up until the 1950’s the trains were used to bring the cane from the fields to the factories. Of course, now it is brought by truck.