Week 3 of excavations and Uchuchuma

Trip Start Jun 02, 2005
Trip End Aug 19, 2005

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

So in the final days I was supposed to spend in Sector I for my thesis investigation, I got sick. (There has been a lot of us getting sick lately so there has been talk that we may need to go do another pago because the gods are angry with us. Christi even seems pretty convinced.) Tuesday my stomach started hurting, and I wasn't able to work for the rest of the week. I was having horrible stomach pains and running a bad fever. The Peruvians gave me a variety of explanations: the food I ate was not the right temperature for the time of day I was eating it, the food was too greasy late at night (but it is okay to eat it at lunch), I think I may have even heard the mention of biles at one point. So I went to the doctor. I told him my symptoms, and he decided I probably had a viral infection. Yea! He knew what germs were! My confidence grew. Then I asked him to take my temperature...and he couldn't find a thermometer. Oh, and of course we ran out of water in our house (AGAIN!) on the day my stomach was at its worst. Fourteen people and no flushing toilet. Good times. So anyway, my sickness passed after a few days...just in time for a field trip on Sunday.
Every day we take this road that winds around the mountains outside of town to the site. As we drive the few miles to La Tiza we pass adobe houses, farms, goats grazing, turkeys in the road, etc. I always wish we could keep driving and see what else the road holds ahead. Well, Sunday we got to follow this road for an hour and a half to a site called Uchuchuma, where our Peruvian co-director worked a few years ago.
It was such a beautiful day, and it felt so great to be out again, especially after thinking that Latin America was going to be the end of me after all. The mountain road hugs the Aja River valley. In the center of Nasca it is just filled with piles of trash and cobbles. But the farther we drove, the greener it got. People actually build their farms and grow their crops right down on the river floor. It is this ribbon of green in a sun baked, lifeless land.
Across the valley where the land slopes up again, there is a small site called Uchuchuma that dates to Early Nasca (around AD 1). It consists of a few plazas, domestic structures, tombs, and farming terraces. It was on a much smaller scale than La Tiza, but the green valley below made it feel quite majestic. Although La Tiza does boast the unbridled view of the sacred Cerro Blanco mountain. (I actually just learned that the whole thing is really a huge sand dune. One of the largest in the world.)
We drove back, windows down, smell of farms thick in the air, wind in my hair, spanish lulling on the radio...I was happy I defeated the Latin American germs once again.
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