Peru Week 7: Vacation Edition! Part 1

Hello everyone. I have been away from this blog for far two long, but worry not, for I will now regale you with a fascinating tail of my travels undertaken during my 7th week here in Peru. Another student and decided that, while Lima is a truly lovely, bustling city, we would also like to see some other parts of the country. We thus decided to take advantage of a 4 day weekend to venture 8 hours north and visit the cities of Trujillo and Chiclayo. They both boast a plethora of fascinating archeological sites, as well as many interesting cultural attractions. Thus, after purchasing our tickets for the 10 hour bus ride (which, of course, cost almost triple the advertised price because we are foreigners) We boarded our bus and were on our way.

I will now dedicate a small section of this blog to describing the journey there. First of, though I have taken a charter bus before, this was my first time on a bus that had two floors. The first floor, first class, was for the elite, a veritable who's who of Peruvian bus connoisseurs. I can only imagine what fascinating luxuries the floor held, for being but lowly college students, my travel partner and I were relegated to the second floor of the bus. This, fortunately, was also quite comfortable. Aside from the savage beauty of the Peruvian costal countryside (shantytowns interspersed with the occasional desert), the bus company was kind enough to augment the experience by playing a series of videos and movies. After about an hour and a half of advertisements showcasing their bus fleet (Oltulsa Generation 7, the most advanced, safest, and comfortable buses in Peru), they played for us a series movies. This consisted of such under appreciated cinematic masterpieces as "The Mercenary", a film about the unexpected ways in which the lives of a heroin addicted Cambodian prostitute, an American virgin dying of cancer, a vaguely British mercenary, a black would-be-rapist (not at all racially offensive) and police detective, and and Lazareth (you know, from the bible) interact. The main theme of the movie was love, and the problems caused by Lazareth's inability to die and join his 12 year old lover (who the mercenary killed) in the afterlife, and his quest to transfer it the hooker (who was in love with cancer/virgin- boy), while she is attempting to avoid being raped and/or arrested by two black men (as I stated before, all portrayed very tastefully). I would highly recommend the movie to all fans of somewhat obscure surrealist cinematic movement. For the rest of us though, they also showed a movie called "Never Back Down 2", which consisted mainly of scantily clad double-Y males exercising and beating each other up. Overall, it was quite entertaining.

  (both straight to DVD)

Finally, after rather long night on the bus, we arrived in Trujillo. My travel buddy and I were somewhat surprised to find that, unlike it is portrayed in tourist pamphlets, Trujillo is not a sleepy little tourist town, but is actually a rather large city made mostly of decrepit adobe brick buildings. We took a taxi to the town center, a rather large plaza with monument nestled between some rather quaint colonial era administrative buildings and church, and had breakfast at a local shop. We then passed an hour peacefully being swamped by locals attempting to sell us things. After that, we went to the our agency and began our journey.

 

  

(The town center)

We boarded a small tour bus next to the agency we had scheduled to tour with. We then journyed out of the city to view the Huaca del Sol and associated museum. These were the ruins of a series of rather impressive temples built one on top of the other over a large period of time. The ruins were quite frankly, breathtaking. Being the anthropology nerd that I am, I thrilled to see an actual pre-Inca, Moche temple. It was located in the middle of a desert next to a large mountain. The overall affect of the harsh landscape mixed with the exotic, ancient temple created an incredible effect. We saw the rooms were captives were held and forced to drink hallucinogenic potions by priests, as well as the high platforms onto which they were eventually taken and sacrificed. In the museum that we visited while at the site there were various ceramics, as well as the remains of a sacrificial victim. I enjoyed the visit very much and was fascinated by the history of the area. While here, I also ran into some German students who are also studying here at PUCP in Lima. After a pleasant chat with them and a quick trip to the gift shop it was time to head on to the next site.

 

   

(Just a few of my photos of the Huaca del Sol)

Next, we returned to the city, ate lunch, and headed to Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian adobe city in the world. This was also a fascinating experience. We were able to walk through the ruins of town, observing rooms, temples, platforms, and plazas. It was incredible. Though many parts of the site had been somewhat restored to help showcase what the city was like in its prime, and their for not original, I still felt as if I had stepped into a time machine. I greatly enjoyed myself here as well.

 

 

(Chan Chan)

Next, we finished up the day by heading off to a local beach. The views here were breathtaking. There were large sand mounds, a pier, and a group of local shops. There we also men paddling through the water in traditional small, one person boats, made entirely of rope and straw. Also, of course, there were surfers bobbing up and down in the waves. After doing a little shopping, enjoying the massive pelicans, and admiring the beaches, we got in the tour bus and returned to town. Thus ended the first half of the vacation.

 

(The beach)

Until next time,

Christopher Moore

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