Mooching with the Moches!

Trip Start May 10, 2009
Trip End Nov 02, 2009

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Well we are happy to report that we survived the bus with no toilet incidents! Whew. The only thing really worth writing about on the bus trip is breakfast. A hotdog. NOT what our tender guts required but we scoffed it anyway as we were starving.

The recomendation is to stay in a small beach town just outside Trujillo, called Huanchaco. We got a cab over that way and proceeded to analyze the comfortableness of the hammocks available for the remainder of the day and also spent some time with the pet tortoises!

Trujillo is an important stop for us to explore one last bit of Peruvian history and culture before we leave. Even though we know nothing can be more impressive (to us) than the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, we want to see anyway.

The main attraction is the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon) which are PRE-Inca ruins, dating back to 100-800AD. We have heard them described as pyramids of dust. Whoever said that obviously never went inside...

You are greeted by a few Peruvian hairless dogs, each one uglier than the next. Shame, I wonder if they know what they look like. They actually seem like a really friendly breed, hairless twig of a tail wagging, coming up to you for a pat. All they ever get are shrieks of how hideous they are and photos taken as proof! I'm thinking a couple of those in your front garden in South Africa and you will never even have to build a wall let alone pay an alarm company. Your childrens friends will also never come over to play.

Ugly as they are, they date back over 2000 years and this is proved in the paintings etc found inside the Temple. In danger of being extinct they are now protected by the government and a breeding pair apparently has to be at every national there they are!

So, once we had successfully navigated a wide circumference around the welcome comittee to avoid skin on skin contact we enter the temples and are pleasantly surprised, Amazed actually! The original artwork and carvings still exists in some places and everything has been well preserved by the sand. Although its partially less spectacular because of the masses of scafolding etc in place, this is there to keep wind and sun off the old bricks to prevent it eroding away and also because archiologists are still working at it, uncovering more and more every day, so scafolding and tarps is totally acceptable.

The temple we are inside is the Moon Temple. the Sun temple you cannot enter as it is solid brick. The Moon temple was once filled with bricks too. The reason they are/were bricked in is that every 60-70 years the El Niņo rains would damage the Temple so badly that it wasn't worth fixing, so they simply filled it in with bricks and built a new one on top of it! Bear in mind that it NEVER rains here, as in not at all, ever. Except for when the El Niņo phenomenon is passing over which is why things built here are not really geared up to withstand rain. Seems strange that they can withstand earthquakes, but not rain! Anyway...the Archiologists have been hard at work and have uncovered FIVE levels of complete temples at the Moon temple and ELEVEN at the Sun Temple.  The other important thing to note about the Moche people is that they were the only ones known to carve 'emotion' into the faces of their statues and rock carvings. Everything is huge and intricate and totally impressive.

The next stop is the Chan Chan city which was the ancient Chimu city. This was the Pre-Inca, Post-Moche civilisation. We explored 1 temple (of which there are many) which was 11 hectares big! Again, loads of impressive carvings in the wall all telling a story - mostly about fishing and the sea.

After that it was back to Huanchaco for a beautiful sunset before bundling back onto a night bus and heading further up the coast to Mancora for a few days of R&R (we are still stiff and sore from the manual labour!)

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