Peru: Week 7, Vacation Special Part 2!

Hello everyone, I am sure that after reading about the first half of my awesome adventures during week 7, you are all very excited to learn about what happened next. Well, the wait is over, it was great. The next day we had scheduled to take a tour of a museum hosting the remains of a famous ancient king, "El Senor de Sipan." After a quick four hour trip from Trujillo to Chiclayo, we arrived at our destination.The museum was quite impressive. It held a large collection of artifacts from the Moche civilization. These ranged from everyday ceramic objects used by normal people in everyday life, to the intricate golden jewelry worn by the nobles and priests. Furthermore, the trip was highly educational, and I learned a lot about the history of the Moche. Furthermore, the artifacts were truly impressive. We also saw recreations of the burial sites of both "El Senor de Sipan" and another king, who archeologists believe was his grandfather at the museum. The main lesson that the tour guide seemed to try to teach us during the tour was that the grandson was buried with lots of treasure, and only a few women, whereas the grandfather was buried with only a little treasure, but lots of women. He went on to say that things hadn't changed much during the past thousand and some odd years.

(A little known fact is that "El Senor de Sipan" died while trying to impress woman with his sweet acrobatic skills as her friend lay passed out drunk on the floor)

Next, we headed over too a nature reserve for a brief period to see one of the oldest trees in Peru. It is rumored to have magical powers, and in the past, Wiccans and those who practice native religions would gather there to take part in rituals. Also, while there we were swarmed by a group of small wasps. They followed us into the van and we ended up driving off with about a hundred new travel companions. As a proud apiphobe it was all I could do to not jump out of the van and run screaming into the Peruvian wilderness. Fortunately, during this time of the year they are not aggressive, and, after letting down the windows eventually they all left. Next, we headed over to the largest pyramid complex in the world. It consisted of a group of massive adobe pyramids spread out over the desert and on some small mountains. Though most of the pyramids were in rather poor condition, their sheer size and the number of them were very impressive. We were able to climb up a large hill in order to get a better look, and the view was simply breathtaking.


(The oldest tree in Peru and the largest pyramid complex in the world)

We then ended the day by taking a tour of a very secretive museum which would not allow anyone to bring cameras, phones, purses, or really anything except for the clothes on their back into the museum. Inside there were more artifacts, mainly ceramics, as well as information about the Moche society and other indigenous groups. We then piled back into the van and, a short four hour trip later, were back at our hotel in Trujillo.

(The most secretive museum in Peru)

The next day we decided to take trip to see the ruins of an old temple referred to as "El Brujo" and an associated museum that holds the remains of an old priestess. This location is widely believed by the natives to be haunted, and also, by some, to have special natural new-age power fields. Upon reaching our destination, we were told by our tour guide to leave our bus and enter a small tourist shop located a few hundred yards away from the entrance to the museum. Here we were invited to try a local drink made from corn which was, surprisingly, quite sweet. We were then greeted by a rather interesting, multicultural group of hippies (a tall, skinny old Peruvian man with long hair and strange open sores all over his body, a young Italian man with dreadlocks all the way down his back, and a barefoot, blond hair, blue-eyed Norwegian girl). They emerged through a veil of beads from a black-lighted back room and all had a distinctly herbal scent. They immediately began to tell us of the history of the use of the coca leaf, it stigmatization in modern day society (though it is, in Peru, perfectly legal), and its incredible healing and spiritual powers. They then took us outside to their van, in which they were traveling the country and and spreading the good news of the coca leaf, and showed us their wares. They offered everyone a small piece of coca cake, and showcased their coca tea, powder, cookies, brownies, and energy bars.The van itself, was quite a site to see. On the back door it had stickers reading "Eat Coca, it is legal and does the body good!" Furthermore, the Norwegian girl continuously blew on a conch shell throughout their presentation for no apparent reason.

(Guess which van is theirs)

After this fascinating encounter we headed off to the museum with our new friends. The museum was magnificent. It had a wide array of old artifacts, including incredibly well preserved textiles, jewelry, and knives. It also held the body of the the priestess for whom the site is named. She was very well preserved. She still had hair and fingernails. Her tattoos were still visible. She looked fantastic for a woman who is almost 1500 years old. We then ventured out to her temple. It was located by the beach, and the ancient temple and lovely beach were both incredible. We climbed to the top where the guide and his hippy friends gave another fascinating presentation. They told of of the natural healing power bestowed by the spirits and mother earth upon this particular location. They then gave stories of the miracles that they had witnessed of natural medicine taking place here. The old man hippy then blessed a handful of coca leaves and gave everyone four. They were quite bitter and had no noticeable effect. The Norwegian girl, however, provided a lovely ambiance by blowing on her conch shell time and time again. After that we went down into the temple where the graves had been excavated. Here we observed some lovely murals on the walls and were treated to yet another story by the old hippy man. He told us how the the gods of the ancients were not really gods in the sense that we understand them now. They were  more like loving supernatural entities that they respected greatly and the relationship was more paternal in nature. I found this analogy to be somewhat off, but maybe that is just because I am fortunate and do not have parents who demand me to offer rivers of human blood as sacrifice to appease their lust for destruction and keep them from destroying the world. After this we headed back to the bus and returned to Trujillo. After a checking out of the hotel and a quick stop at a local Chinese restaurant, my travel buddy and I boarded a bus and started long 10 hour journey back to Lima.

Until next time,

Christopher Moore

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