Travel Journal


(Sunday 1 May 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 261-2 4/25-6/11
I got in a little after six and walked to my first choice for a hotel. It was okay and also offered tours. The main reason I was visiting here was to see Chan Chan which was on the tour along with Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna. I had time to shower and clean up before starting on the day long tour. The first stop was the Museo Huacas de Moche (no photos inside) which has displays of ceramic vessels and information of the Pyramid of the Moon where most of the collection was recovered and which we visited next. Excavations are ongoing but difficult. The Moche built five pyramids on top of each other the last which was raided by the Spaniards. To get to the innermost pyramids means destroying the outermost pyramid so it’s rather tricky. The guide was knowledgeable but his English was difficult to understand at times. Apparently the mountain behind the Huaca was sacred and in the courtyard there is even a scale model of the mountain where offerings were made.
Across the valley you can see one corner of the Huaca del Sol which was Peru’s largest pre-Columbian structure but little is left now. There was a large city that stretched between the Pyramid of the Moon and Sun and it is just now being uncovered and there is a lot of work needed to be done.
We broke for lunch and I thought I was ordering Guinea Pig but it was beef, oh well. Next was the Huaca Arco Iris which was a temple of offerings but rather plain. There was a wall of original carvings but some school kids snuck in one night and defaced the entire wall so there are only replicas now. Not a very interesting site. I did take a picture of a Peruvian dog which is hairless and ugly as sin. They look like black pigs with orange tuffs of hair on the top of their heads. Because they are hairless, their body temperature runs a few degrees higher than in normal dogs which after petting one I can attest that fact. Apparently they are becoming popular in the US since President Obama got one for his daughter who was allergic to dog hairs and they go for up to a thousand dollars. A quick eyeball of the dog’s dimensions told me it would not fit into my backpack though.
Finally we visited Chan Chan the ancient site of the Chimu empire which had over 10,000 structures at its height and seven sub-cities making up the community and was the largest adobe city in the world. Because it is adobe most of the city has melted away. There is only one sub-city you can visit now that has been unearthed. Once it was unearthed, there was no protection provided and a series of recent floods and heavy rains have decimated what was first discovered. There are covers now though no drainage that I could see which is a recipe for further destruction. Most of the interiors are now replicated with only patches of the original structure remaining. The twenty meter walls are now half that size. A real shame. You can still get a sense of the enormous size of the complex and the design though.
There was some time left over so the tour stopped at Huanchaco, a small beach town outside of Trujillo which is a surf haven. We walked around and watched the surf action and looked at some shops before heading back to the hotel. I was finally able to talk to Julie as she was visiting friends with internet and Magic Jack. It was great to hear her voice and we talked for hours.
The next day was just a relaxing day for me. I bought tickets to the next town which left the next day and walked around Plaza de Armas looking at the church and colonial buildings, dropped my laundry off and searched for the elusive Guinea Pig. The clerk told me they sold it at the hotel’s restaurant but she was wrong. I did order some lomo which I use to get at a good Peruvian restaurant in LA. Besides the Argentinean steaks, this was the best meal I’ve had in South America. It was so good that I ordered it again the next day for lunch.
My bus didn’t leave until 5 PM which was later than I wanted but service is limited in this part of Peru. I walked around town and stopped into a museum that was part of a gas station and saw a rather disappointing collection of pottery. I got my laundry and picked up my bag from the hotel and went to the bus station.

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