4 Months on the Trot!

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Turista - Sol 69, good, clean, bthroom, sat tv

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Monday, April 14, 2008

A day to celebrate! Officially we have now been 4 months travelling since that 14th of December back in Paris. We have been through so many places and experiences that we are going to have to sit down to read our own travelpod soon to remind ourselves!

Good news is that the line towards the North on our virtual map is finally taking some speed. It look like it on the map when we were trailing around Chile and Argentina, but now the red lines are definetly covering a larger zone.

So back to reality and news. We decided the "Primavera" hotel (which means Spring in Spanish) had nothing to do with that season and was more like a cold rotten winter, so we moved to a better one in the centre which actually fits into the description on the guide book.

We have discovered that out travel book is written by many, many people travelling and local contacts. That is why some of the information on some cities is just terrible. Trujillo is one of those. The hotel information was incorrect and 3 of the restaurants which they said were good were closed to pig stys (which we refused to go in...no matter how vegetarian they said they were, they were only missing the pigs inside to become a real farm).

Having settled into a real hotel, we set off to visit some ruins. We have visited so many ancient places with such complicated names to remember that we have just adopted the phrase "lets visit some ruins" to fill in for our lack of Quechua language.

Today the visit was to Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol which are based about 10 kms out of Trujillo on a local bus. Our travel book only dedicated a short paragraph to this place, and more or less it sounded like a few adobe bricks in the middle of the desert. However we had a feeling that there might be more to it after a couple of pictures in a poster.

There is a saying in SouthernTurkey which goes "you never expect to find art in the toilet bowl, but sometimes there is". With this philosophy we travelled on the bus, and given our previous experience, the best visits are where not too many people go to and when there is little information. And guess what? There was a great deal of gold in the toilet!

It took us some time to find the correct "combi" (small van for passengers) to take us to the ruins as there are no proper stops and the drivers just go around shouting their destination in short form. However we finally managed to find one that was going in that direction (or at least we hoped it would) and after about 20 minutes arrived a dessert with a couple of semi-dissolved adobe pyramids.

The moment we got off a guard came to us and asked us "how much did the driver charge you?". We had paid 3 soles for both (75 cents of euro), and the guard got over-excited and started saying "too much, too much. It should be 1.30 each". He took our names and said he was going to denounce the driver. Apparently they are trying to stop taxis and buses overcharging tourists as it stops them going to this place. This is a first for us in Peru, as normally its just negotiating power (although most buses do have set prices and they have the information on the windows). It only meant about 10 cents of euro for us, but it was nice to see Peruvians trying to protect tourists.

Enough babble about transport! We paid our entry fee of 11 Soles (2,75 euro) which includes a guide and joined a tour with 2 other locals. The first 10 minutes we thought the Turkish saying confirmed itself as we only kept seeing adobe bricks and hearing lots of information on the Moche tribe culture (pre-Inca).

However, after entering the pyramid of the Moon itself we were shocked with delight. In front of us were dozens of walls painted from 900 years ago with relief paintings of gods, fighters, animals, etc (see pictures). Apparently with each new King the Moche culture would build a new temple on top of the other. But Moches would not destroy the previous temple, they would protect it carefully under the new one with adobe bricks. In total there are 7 temples, one on top of the other, and in the visit all layers can be seen on one side.

These ruins were ignored until 1990 and since then have been worked by arqueologists who keep finding more and more to it. As an example the pyramid of the Sun is still untouched, so they will start with that once they finish with the Moon one. There is a whole city in between the 2 pyramids with hundreds of buildings, so this could be the new Machu Picchu for Peru.

The best part...hardly anyone comes at the moment (about 300 tourists per day in high season). That will change next year when they finalise the roof that will cover the whole pyramid to avoid rain contact.

Back in Trujillo we have just walked around but there is little here in comparison with Cusco and other previous places. Its just another Peruvian town with too many people selling too many things to god knows who, its Plaza de Armas, and a bunch of colonial buildings. Not too much of a nice place to live in...

We saw a bit of  Rodney King incident in the street, with the exception that both policeman and arrested guy were peruvian. The arrested guy was handcuffed and raising his voice at the policeman. The policeman told him not to shout at him and slapped the guy 3 or 4 times with all his strength in his face. We were confused with the incident in the middle of the street, but the rest of the peruvians seemed to be enjoying the show and were laughing loudly...either the guy is a well known crook or its just a typical everyday thing.

Other news: the Argentinian parliament is debating on whether they should censor a chapter of "The Simpsons". Apparently one of Homer´s friends in Moe´s bar says "I would like a dictator like Juan Peron. When he made people disappear, they disappeared for ever". Another guy in the bar said "and he was married to Madonna".

This has outraged a Peronista member of parliament who does not agree with it.

In Venezuela "The Simpsons" have been censored totally from TV, as the government believed that it did not promote "family unity". Instead they are running "Baywatch"...we guess Pamela Anderson and the Hoff will promote much more family unity than "The Simpsons"....

Tara for now...
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