Getting to know the origins of Peru

Trip Start Jun 09, 2010
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9
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Trip End Aug 04, 2010


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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22

After a 9-hour night-bus drive to the Peruvian city Trujillo and subsequently a 20-minute taxi drive, we eventually arrived to our hotel for the next 2 days in a small village by the sea, called Huanchaco. Tom and Nick having been tired from the night-bus experience decided to have some good breakfast and go for a quick walk in the centre of Huanchaco.

Huanchaco, even though small, was once the second largest port of Peru. Its unique characteristic is the hand-crafted boat that fishermen use to go fishing in the oceanic waters. Its name is "Caballito de Totora" and it is being used by the Peruvian fishermen for more than 2000 years! Tom and Nick tried to get some good pictures of these boats standing in the beach in order to get dry, but the weather in Huanchaco was not good. Foggy and misty atmosphere made us struggle with the settings of our cameras.

Back to the hotel at noon, a power nap and at 1.30pm, we were in front of the TV. Greece-Argentina baby and our hopes of qualifying for the next round of the World Cup were ...few! However, joining our forces with the Canadians of the group, we survived the Argentinian attack till the 77th minute... And then came the first...soon after that came the second. Greece was out, Argentina went through...

Sad and hungry we left the hotel for an afternoon walk to Trujillo and for a proper meal! Along with us came Maruja, our group leader, and Marie. The central plaza of Trujillo is surrounded by beautiful buildings of different colours. However, there is hardly something else to remember; well, strictly speaking we didn't have too much time to walk around the whole city.

Maruja had her caricature painted by some local painter, but the rest of us were starving. For that reason Tom found a great restaurant in Lonely Planet guide for a very good three-course meal. We were too tired for anything more, the time was already 9pm and we desperately needed a long sleep to replenish our low energy levels (especially following last night's night-bus..). Nighty, nighty!

June 23

Our second -and last- day in Truijillo. Half of the day was spent in ancient ruins of two of the largest pre-Inca cultures that were thriving in the desert around Trujillo many centuries ago.

First, we visited the kingdom of Chan Chan, which is a Unesco Heritage Site since 2009. Chan Chan was built by the Chimu culture in the 9th century and today constitutes the the largest adobe city in the World. By the way, we keep on using Adobe's products (pdf, photoshop etc.) in our everyday life, but we had absolutely no clue what "adobe" is; it's a mixture of sand, water and clay in the form of bricks... Anyway, the ruins were impressive and the guide gave us much useful information about the everyday and ritual life of the inhabitants. We also got a Chan Chan stamp on our passports (Nick's idea...he desperately needed something fancier for his passport!). By the way, no offence...honestly, no offence, we only then realized -in relative terms- the glory and majesty of the ancient Greek civilization, which almost 1500 years before Chan Chan was built, was building the Acropolis, the Parthenon, was governed by democracy and had a proper written and spoken language.

Next stop in our exploration of the origins of Peru was the Temple of the Sun & the Moon (Huaca del Sol y de la Luna), built by the Moche culture in the 5th century. It must be noted that in order to go from Chan Chan to the temples, we hired a station-wagon and along with the Peruvian driver, we were in total 8 people in this vehicle!!!! Honestly, this was HILARIOUS! When we arrived at the Temple of the Moon (the Temple of the Sun is not accessible for tourists...it's still excavated by archaeologists), we were in front of a pure desert landscape. Warm atmosphere, hot sun, sand, rocks. Our local guide walked us through the Temple and told us stories and legends of the past concerning the use and construction of the site.  Believe it or not, Peruvian government knew the existence of the temples, but in absence of funding sources, the temples remained hidden under the sand until late 1980's, when French financial support came!!! 

Anyway, time had passed, we were hungry and we also had to face -again, second time in three days- a night bus to Lima, the capital of Peru. A good meal back in Trujillo was the last activity for the day...Back to the hotel, using public transportation was however the highlight of the day! Tom and Nick boarded on a local bus full of students that had just finished their afternoon school shift. What an experience! 

Night bus now...not again...please...ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz
  
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