Hi again. Its been a while since we have posted to the blog. This is because we had 4 consecutive port days with land tours that didn’t leave any time for blogging, then 2 days of me (Rick) being sick (which isn’t really over yet). So, there is a lot to catch up on, & I think it will take several postings.
On Saturday, January 14, we were in Trujillo, Peru. This is a city of between 800,000 and 900,000, depending on who you ask. It seems to be a very poor city, with most people living in what amounts to brick or adobe shacks. We saw lots of small fields of sugar cane, chili peppers & other vegetables, as well as cows & a lot of dogs. We were on a bus tour to three fascinating archeological sites in this area, so we did quite a lot of driving around the area, much of it on bumpy roads that, as Mary said (quoting Big Bird) “really shook up my giblets.”
Anyway, here are some pictures of adobe brick walls at residences outside Trujillo, & the local church in this village.
Here is a field of sugarcane (with the foothills of the Andes in the background). They tell us that they harvest the sugarcane by setting fire to the field. Only the leaves burn, & then they come along & slice off the stems that are remaining with machetes. The second picture is of sugarcane harvesters carrying the cane from a burned field. They are trying to convert the industry to mechanical harvesting to avoid releasing so much carbon dioxide into the air, but that is still in an early stage of acceptance. The third picture is a street vendor with a bunch of sugarcane stalks on the right side of his cart for sale. And then a store selling Inca Kola, which is ubiquitous around here and can be purchased in Arlington Va as well (although Carrie tells me its pretty vile).
The first archeological site we visited was called El Brujo, and was a good ways north of the city. This was a temple/pyramid built by the Moche people, who lived in the area about 1500 years ago. long before the Aztecs. The pictures below really don’t do justice to it; the figures on the walls are a deep & vivid red. In the large picture, the figures have a rope around their neck, which indicates that they are captives who will be used for human sacrifice. That does not mean they were captured in war necessarily; these people engaged in a sort of ritual combat within the community, and the loser would be sacrificed. It appears that they did this most often by drugging the victims with some sort of potion they drank, then they would be taken up to the sacrificial alter & the priest would cut the artery in their necks & they would bleed to death (although sometimes they were just thrown onto rocks below).
At the El Brujo museum (where photography was forbidden) there was a mummified body of a woman who was apparently some kind of shaman & a noble person. Her body is covered in tatoos, including her face. There are a lot of mummies that have been found in this area; they have survived in very good form because of the dryness of the weather, & can be seen in quite a few museums, we are told.
The second site we visted is called Chan Chan. It was a city built by the Chimu people, who lived about 800 years ago & were conquered by the Incas. The frustrating thing about this site is that apparently much of this stuff was “reconstructed” to look like they think it did originally, and its very difficult to tell what is original & what has been enhanced or reconstructed. So, with that caveat, here are some pictures. This was a large palace, with many decorations carved in the adobe walls. You can see what are thought by some to be squirrels, then fish & then birds. The even horizontal likes are thought to represent the water in the sea nearby. The cross-hatch design in the large picture below are thought to represent fishing nets, and these people are thought to have subsisted largely on seafood.
Below left is an interesting looking duck that was in a pool inside Chan Chan, and below right is one of several hokey folks who help give the place a Disneyworld tinge (consistent with the “reconstruction”), that seems a bit out of synch with an important archeological site.
Our third archeological site was Hauca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon), another temple built by the Moche. Of course, that is a name given by modern archeologists, and there is no evidence that the Moche called it that. Anyway, it was the most spectacualr of all in terms of preserved artwork uncovered on its walls. I think the god in the picture in the top right below looks a little like Homer Simpson (if you disregard the hair & the fangs).
Those pictures were all on the inside of the temple, but there is an even more spectacular display on one of the outside walls.
The bottom row shows captives to be sacrifice, the second row shows a line of indians holding hands, the third row is spiders, the fourth row shows warriors carrying clubs, & the top row is snakes. The big hole at the top was made by the Spaniards, who were a lot like the Taliban (who destroyed the ancient giant Buddhas) in their efforts to destroy everything that wasn’t Christian oriented. Below are some closer pictures of some of these images.
Then there was this particularly intricate wall at the Temple of the Moon, with a closeup of some if its busy decorations.
And finally, lest we forget what this was really all about, here is a picture of the spot where they conducted human sacrifices (many skeletons were found in this area), and also a picture of the nearby Huaca del Sol (Temple of the Sun), which is bigger than the Temple of the Moon, but has not yet been excavated.
Back on the Prinsendam that night, we discovered that there is a talented bread artist (of all things) on board. Here are a couple of his or her sculptures, baked entirely of bread. There will be more of these in upcoming days.