Fording the street and seeing a 500 year old mummy
Trip Start Sep 28, 2007
91Trip End Jun 25, 2008
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It was even more of a shock when after walking into the centre in light drizzle the sky opened and soon we stood on the footpath of the road we wanted to cross as though it was the bank of a river with the water too high to proceed.
After successfully fording the street we went to the Salta museum called Museo de Arqueologica de Alta Montaņa, or high altitude archaeological museum. We were annoyed that the guidebook hadn't told us it was free entrance till 10. Still, the entry fee was worth it.
In 1999 they uncovered on Llullailaco mountain the perfectly preserved bodies of three Inca children sacrificed 500 years ago, and one of the mummies was on display, kept in a chilled capsule
Also interesting was learning about the massive organisation around such ceremonies, where the most perfect-looking children traveled to Cuzco, Peru for massive ceremonies including ceremonial marriages. They then traveled back home via a more difficult route which could take many months to return.
When they got back the sacrificial ceremony was held where they drank fermented corn liquor until they fell asleep drugged and were put in a burial chamber carefully arranged with ornate offerings and miniature versions of the child that have been painstakingly made. Presumably they then froze to death.
The three children were six, seven and, the one on display, 15 -years- old. They think the older one was a student of weaving at a prestigious school.The woven cloth on display was amazing.
The idea of the siesta where the town shuts down for a few hours and everyone has a big lunch and nap sounds all very romantic, but when you are doing a whirlwind tour of a place and are homeless it is a pain in the butt.
Coming out of the first museum around lunchtime, the arts museum and cathedral we wanted to visit were shut till 4pm as were nearly all the shops except cafes and restaurants
We had coffee with a friend of Mark's workmate. She was from Salta but has a kiwi husband and had lived in New Zealand. It was nice to get an Argentinian viewpoint on life.
After that we just had time to peek into the grand cathedral and climb to the top of San Bernando cerro or hill, where the teleferico goes up. Salta is surrounded by mountains but unfortunately the clouds were hiding them. Still, it was nice to get a walk before getting on yet another bus and we saw a gigantic snail on the track.
Unlike in China were you see badly written English everywhere, there is very little English in Latin America, so I had to laugh at the 'Auto Nose Bar' establishment we passed on the way back to the bus terminal. Too bad I didn't have time to get a new conk.
The funniest sign I've seen was in a hostel though. After requesting not to throw food in the sink it said 'we expect your compression' The Spanish wording was more polite, thanking the reader for their cooperation.