Juanita in the freezer

Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
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Trip End Feb 01, 2005


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Flag of Peru  ,
Friday, July 2, 2004

After Colca Canyon, we spent one more day in Arequipa to suss out Juanita, the frozen Inca sacrifice found at the top of Ampato volcano.

Juanita
Definitely one of the most interesting things I´ve seen so far, especially in the way of dead people. Juanita is a 12 or 13 year old girl who was taken to the top of Ampato volcano and clubbed over the head in an offering to the gods. As a result of the clubbing, one eye socket is smaller than the other.

She was found after ash from a nearby erupting volcano melted the 50m thick glacier that she was buried under. She fell into the crater when it melted, and was found within 2 or 3 weeks of being uncovered, still frozen and in almost perfect condition.

We got to see her, at -20 degrees celcius in a glass freezer. Parts of her body were crusted with ice, like a packet of meat or peas does in the freezer at home, but you could still see her perfectly preserved skin.

What I liked most was the picture of her fingernails that looked like they had been painted with gold nailpolish. I think the guide said that that had happened over time, but I like to think that they painted her nails as well as giving her beautiful bags and figurines to take with her to the gods.

Coincidentally, the shawl Juanita was wearing (more than 550 years ago) was striped red, white, red, just like the Peruvian flag.

They also found other graves of sacrificed children, but only Juanita was on display.

Things I Learned
* CD´s in Arequipa are so cheap! s/5!
* Arequipa supposedly has the nicest Plaza de Armas, but it still doesn´t compare with the Parque Calderon in Cuenca, Ecuador.
* Ah, popcorn street vendors again, I love it!!!
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