Peru Day 1 – What a day!!

So much to tell!

Tim didn’t like the lack of hot water at the hotel and when he complained they moved us to a bigger room – a much bigger room (4 beds and a huge bathroom) with tons of hot water.  Tim is very happy with the new room and we are going to spend 2 more nights here (more on that later).

After breakfast Tim and I had planned on doing the local museums but we ran across an entry on a local Incan ruin right near where we are staying called Huaca Pucclana.  We got a taxi and he said he would wait for us while we visited and then take us downtown to Central Lima for the museums.

The ruin is a place of games, by which they mean human sacrifices, arts and banquets.  The pyramid is built from little rooms made of mud bricks and concrete that get built and sealed over the centuries.  They are still going through it now.  They had some amazing pottery that was also ‘sacrificed’ where they would built a pot and then break it and bury it.  Tim liked the idea a lot and I expect a round of Raku students will be destroying pots next year.

We also met a very strange looking Peruvian hairless dog also known as a hot dog.  Gino (our driver) kept saw that I was trying to photograph it so he went and held it for me so all my photos are of Gino holding the dog.  Its an Incan dog and all Incan sites are required to have one on site.  The guide was very informative and told us about the old fish gods and then pointed to the new gods – McDonald’s and Starbucks (which are plentiful).

There was no charge for the site because of some cultural days thing going on all week – though they almost wouldn’t let me in because my camera looked to professional – which I talked my way out of – ‘this old thing?’

Speaking of cameras – I decided that I’m probably not going to shoot much video this trip.  Video is really a solo activity for me to shoot and talk to the camera and the rhythm isn’t right with everything else I want to shoot.

We met this English guy named John and he told us about another ruin that was free this week but outside of town.  He told us about the bus but we ended up negotiating with our taxi driver (who took the taxi light off his car) and he agreed to drive us the rest of the day.  Our next stop was the gas station – which at $16 US a gallon has finally convinced Tim that we will not be renting – where we got some munchies sandwiches, water, candy, and for me some Gatorade.

We then drove about 30km south of Lima to Pachacamac.  The site was huge (and again free) and really had 5 distinct ancient complexes, a museum, a snack bar, a bookstore, some local artisans, and several Incan dogs.

I loved watching the decorative weavers mixing colored yarns by hand and painting scenes with yarn on the loom.  It was pretty cheap to get one but we didn’t want to pick much up this early in the trip.  I got a real kick out of the Chess set that has the Incans face off against the Spanish.  One craftsman Sixto Seguil Dorregaray was doing some amazing carved gourds and jewelry and I picked up a couple of small items for Jenny (but don’t tell her).

The site was vast and really a barren wasteland of sand and stone.  If you tried to go where you shouldn’t a guard would whistle from out of nowhere and tell you to get back on the path.  We drove from site to site and were really glad to have the car and driver.

The largest of the sites was the Temple of the Sun that you could climb all the way to the top of.  When you got here you found yourself overlooking the pacific – it was wonderful.

I at this point was a little ahead of Tim who I saw talking to four ladies who looked like American hippies.  He later told me that they were smoking pot and blowing on their ocarinas.  Our driver who didn’t speak English asked if they were Bruja – which he explained were like women on Halloween ie witches and we all had a big laugh.

Tim loved seeing some of the original polychromed wall (though its hard sometimes cause he touches everything!)

The sun sets here around 6pm so by 5 we started to head back.  I noticed some ads and it appears both Whitesnake and Megadeath are visiting Lima soon.  Tim saw an ad that had Brad Pitt selling something and I found a poster for Indiana Jones openings on Thursday!

On the way back to Lima we passed this big white mansion that we recognized from the tour-book as we stopped and with 30 min left visited the Museo Pedro de Osma this huge Mansion with Cusco school paintings and a museum of religious silver (that was really well done – all glass and lights and just a sleek display).

Our last stop with the driver was to a Pharmacy where Tim purchased a new diabetic testing kit and supplies since it fell out of his bag at customs (don’t worry Michelle his blood is perfect!).  At the hotel the driver tried to get some more money from us and we gave in since he was such a great guy all day.

We then walked to the local tourist area where they had a Marriott and a mall, a movie theater, bowling alley, Starbucks, food court etc.. it was really nice over the ocean and Tim and I reflected on why our downtown wasn’t as nice.

We found a restaurant – La Dama Juana that had a buffet of Peruvian dishes (and desserts).  They was a show during dinner and for an extra $20 they put you next to the stage – we didn’t and so instead they sat us 10 feet away from it – a perfect view.

The buffet was great – stews of every meat – and I ate so much flan.  They asked where we were from and then put an American flag on the table – when you looked around the room you could see where everyone was from.  The floor show was amazing – one traditional dance after the other – the scissor dance looked like modern hip hop acrobatics and during once dance they kept lighting their backsides on fire!  At one point Tim turned to me and said that the show was going on longer than his capacity to eat!

Afterwards we went back to the hotel to plan Tuesday (it was an amazing first day).  Today we will do the local museums and then catch a luxury bus fist thing Wed morning to Nazca and then perhaps another luxury bus Wed night to Cusco.  We will see how long we stay in Nazca.  We still want to be in Cusco on Thursday for the Corpus Christi celebration.

I got up and showered and stuff and came down to write this entry.  I think I didn’t pack enough Q-tips!  Funnily enough its very cold here and we haven’t seen any bugs.

Thats it for day one.  2 Incan ruins, 1 museum, 1 floor show (and 7 rolls of film).

See you all soon – the luxury bus is supposed to have WiFi! so that would be from my iPhone.


[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]