|Arrived in Trujillo this morning at 5.30. Perfect timing to get ourselves organised to get a collectivo (a mini bus) to Huanchaco which is a fishing village outside Trujillo on the coast.
We arrived at 7.30 on the school bus run. Many schools in the country are used for both Secondary and Primary teaching as its too expensive to have two. As a result, the primary school kids usually go to school between 7am and 12.30pm and the secondary school kids go from 1 until 6 or 7. Quite different to Europe!
On arrival at Huanchaco, we went straight to the beach where these fishermen were making their way ashore after being fishing for the last 2 hours. No, we weren't here to spot the talent, but to see their unique style of fishing. What is different is that each fisherman has his own reed raft which is filled with Styrofoam internally and they sit on it with each leg in the water. What a traditional method of fishing which is thousands of years old and seen on many Chimu pottery. As soon as they land, they count the fish and sell it to the merchants waiting for their arrival and then perch the raft upwards on the sand to dry so its ready for the next expedition! Cool to see but very laborious if you ask me. Not a tourist in sight!
After a great breakfast of fruit salad, yogurt and muesli,I decided to pay with the equivalent of 10 euros. The breakfast came to 7 euros for the two of us. Now, why I bring this up is that we find it really strange how people have no change here. In this case, as to be expected, the lady opened up with no change. She said to me that she was going off to buy something to get change. Now I thought this might take 5 minutes. Well, we waited for a half an hour for her to return. There she was with four bags full of shopping! She decided to do her whole shopping run while we were waiting! Priceless. Later on this afternoon, I had to wait while four different shop assistants tried a few different shops to get change for me. On the fourth attempt the shop assistant succeeded!
Anyway, with change in hand, we made our way to Chan Chan which was the capital city of the Chimu civilisation. It was so impressive and large. 28 square km and is the largest mud adobe city in the world and once had a population of 100,000. Basically the rich kings lived here and not only was it an administrative and political city, it was religious also. There are 9 palaces (flat topped pyramids)in this ruin. The Chimu people were advanced as regards irrigation so were able to convert this desert area into fertile lands. This was actually their downfall in the end to the Incas. The Incas cut off their water supply which meant they had to surrender. These really thick walls here had wonderful reliefs with all types of fish, pelicans, squirrels (for good luck!) and waves. All that were the basis of their life. Really interesting to see. Burial tombs have been found here also. 1 king and 44 tombs for his family.
Next we visited the Temple of the Dragon which is also from the Chimu times. Here, they believed in the Moon god who they believed was female. The priest sacrificed children only here as they believed that the moon needed to be sent children to keep her happy. As a sacrifice would take place on a high alter, men would dance and dance. No women were allowed in here. Interesting?
After a great lunch of cerviche and seafood, we decided to go to our last archeological destination in Peru - Huaca del Sol y de la Luna - Temple of the Sun and Moon.
After driving down a desastrous road, we arrived at what was the Capital of the Moche civilisation. At the time it was the largest man made structure in the Western hemisphere at 45m high. A little lower than the tallest building in the world now don't you think! It is seven floors high and is in the shape of an up right pyramid from the outside and an upside down pyramid on the inside. Yes, unusual. But even more unusual than that are the amazing murals that have been found on the internal walls. Lots of dragons, fishermen, spiders, crabs and of course the Moche God - IAPAC etc. Lots of bright yellows, reds, whites, blacks and blues were used. Some were only found a year ago. Due to money again, only 7% of the site has been currently excavated so I can only imagine what they find in the next few years! Moche means 'between the sea and the mountains' which is where this capital was situated. Its in 600km of desert and with their natural talent they converted the desert to fertile land. Human sacrificing existed here again. The priest in this case would collect the blood from those sacrificed and climb to the highest point to the city and show it to the locals outside the city. Sacrificing was definitely a means of the elite exercising their domination, I think you would agree. Warriors would be made fight before the sacrificing would take place.. If they lost, they then became prisoners and could be on the sacrificing list! It was built from 100 - 800AD.
Great to see and get a feel for the pre-Inca civilisations in Northern Peru. Its just a pity that more people don't get to experience it.....
Enough culture for now. Off to have fun in the Mountains!