. Its also the place where the tourists gather so naturally its the place where the tour agency touts gather to try and sign up punters ... in general , however , they were a good natured and polite bunch rather than unnecessarily aggressive and several just wanted to chat after they had explained the tours they had on offer . One guide was telling me how he wanted to improve his English as much as possible so he could become an "official tourist guide" and move on from touting to going with the groups on the buses to the local sites of interest ... fair play to him , I wish him good luck. When I sat in the plaza the locals were also very friendly and curious , some of them asking me questions and one family wanted a picture of me with them - they had about six kids but they were all very well behaved including one girl who spoke very good English which she was learning at school and in a night class ... funny to think my mug-shot may end up in their family album for years to come. On Thursday in the square there was a parade for the Peruvian Independence day by classes from the local schools wearing traditional and colourful Peruvian costumes (apart from one class who seemed to have chosen to wear their tracksuits ?) - was quite a spectacle but not that easy to get clear photos due to the proud mums and dads (understandably) marching alongside snapping and videoing away themselves. Away from the Plaza Mayor Trujillo had the usual number of interesting & photogenic colonial churches such as El Carmen , La Merced , San Agustin , San Francisco and San Lorenzo.Been thinking I should make a bit more of an effort to sample the traditional local dishes rather than the stuff I have been eating all the way like the ubiquitous chicken , rice , and beans ...
. so for starters I tried "lomo saltado" (stir-fried beed with potatoes , rice , onions in a sauce of ginger,vinegar & chilli) and "escabeche" (fish with onions , peppers , eggs & olives) both of which were really nice. The preparations for the "Fiestas Patrias" continued - aside from the aforementioned school parade , there was a very loud party somewhere near the hostel (may of course be unrelated to Independence Day) , fireworks cracking off on the Friday night , people wearing their red & white badges and all the shops putting up "Feliz 28 July" banners and Peruvian flags with "Viva El Peru". I took my sea-drenched camera to the Panasonic centre to see what could be done - they said it would cost 100 soles (about 16 UK pounds) and take 2 days to fix , which I wasnt too unhappy with ... but when I went back on the Saturday morning to collect it before I left for Lima alas they then said it wasnt repairable ... the service man was actually quite funny as with the camera in one hand he simulated tying a noose round his neck and pulling it , with a sympathetic smile. They didnt charge me anything for taking a look at it which was very nice - in England these sort of things incur "call out" charges just for peoples time to tell you they cannot fix it ... so in Lima I will have to incur the expense of yet another new camera :( I cant go onwards for another 5 months with just the broken screen Canon. On the second day I succumbed to one of the tour agency touts and signed up for a full day trip which went to the "Huacas del Sol y de la Luna" ("Moche" pyramids of the sun and the moon) , "Chan-Chan" (the large adobe city of the "Chimu") and Huanchaco , a wonderful surfing and fishing beach nearby to Trujillo
. Moche people were a pre-Inca civilisation in Northern Peru from around 100-800 AD , famous for their pyramids , painted ceramics and advanced irrigation systems. The Huaca de la Luna is built right next to a large hill ("cerro blanco") and was a ceremonial & religious centre for the Moche - the hill gave them great views of the surroundings. Today the pyramid is faded to be just the brown adobe on the outside but inside you can still see many examples of the brightly coloured murals & painted ceramics (depicting for example serpents , fish , crabs , cats and dancers) that were used in earlier constructions ... they built layers on top of each other ... also we heard gruesome tales of the human sacrifices which are depicted in some of the murals. The Huaca del Sol used to be many different levels and up to 45m high , the largest "pre-Colombian" (ie. indigenous period before Columbus & the Spanish came) structure built in the Americas, but the Spanish destroyed much of it in a hunt for treasure to plunder and today there is not a lot of detail to see , only the large crumbling remains of the pyramid, which was thought to be an administrative & military centre. In the afternoon we then went to "Chan-Chan" , which was the largest Pre-Colombian city in the Americas made by the "Chimu" civilisation who grew up from the remants of the earlier Moche period from around 850 AD and were later conquered by the Incas in the 15th century. The city was made of adobe bricks , housed up to 30 000 people , and has examples of various carvings in the walls of birds such as pelicans , fish and fish nets..
. we walked around various temples , chambers , residences and even a man-made lake/reservoir in the middle. At the end of the day just before sunset we went to Huanchacho , which is a wonderful little place ... a little surfing and fishing village where the locals still use the traditional boats called "caballitos" (little horses) made of reeds which they stack upright in the sun to dry. We only had about 30 minutes there to take some photos , which was way too short a time and I found myself wishing I had organised to stay for at least a day in Huanchaco ... but I had already booked a bus ticket to Lima as its a busy time around the July 28th celebrations. The hostel I stayed at was a bit of a mixed bag - I had a 5-bed dorm room and a big bed to myself at the top which was fair enough & the place was actually a nice hostel ... but first the light & then the shower didnt work , then the internet didnt work (more of that later) and then I thought I had somehow absent mindedly locked the bathroom door locking myself out of it , until the hostel owner then showed me the door locks itself as the button presses against the wall. On the final day the lady who runs the hostel with her husband was unnecessarily aggressive , I think to the point of being rude , to kick me out at 9.30am because she wanted to go out ... I havent experienced this anywhere else on my trip. The evening before one girl had asked the husband , who is English but been in Peru many years , about the internet not working and he went into what can only be described as a full-on rant about Telefonica , the telephone company and about people constantly asking him about the not working internet ... his suggestion to her was to tell the telephone company not him ... hardly a reasonable thing to say ... he has printed pages stuck around the computer saying "Telefonica es terrible" .... the whole thing reminded me of a cross between John Cleese in Fawlty Towers and David Brent in The Office , but without the humour. Overall , however , Trujillo was very good and I saw what I wanted to in a couple of days so I hit the road again for more bus time on a journey down to the capital Lima in time for the Independence Day.
I enjoyed my two full days here in Trujillo , which is the third largest city by population in Peru behind Lima and Arequipa. I spent one day exploring the city itself , which is very pleasant and known as "la ciudad de la eterna primavera" (the city of eternal spring) and a second day on a tour which visited a number of nearby places of interest. Apparently Trujillo wants to be a UNESCO world heritage site like the historic centres of Lima and Arequipa but hasnt been nominated yet which seems to irk the locals. The city is centred around the very impressive "Plaza Mayor" which has the brightly painted yellow 17th century cathedral , an large statue in the centre of the square with a man holding a torch for "libertidad" and several other bright pastel coloured colonial buildings such as the "Municipalidad" , Hotel Libertador and various "Casas". The plaza is very clean and well looked after - a place that expresses Trujillos pride - and Simon Bolivar , the "Gran Liberator" reputedly once lived here on the square