Time on the North Coast of Peru slides by easily, but we didn't realize that it's been so long since our last update. When we came to Huanchaco, we were looking for a sleepy little beach town, and that's just what we found. Most days are taken up with a little bit of work on the computer, a little bit of almuerzo and a little bit of time in the sun. Not bad, but not very exciting subject matter either.
We've also been healing our scars (literally, emotionally, financially, etc.) from the previously chronicled theft and hospitalization. But, as everyone knows, bad luck comes in threes, so we knew we were due for something else. One night, as Justin sat watching the finale of Homeland, it came in spectacular fashion. The television exploded in a burst of flame... seriously. All of our light bulbs blew out, and our computer cords sat smoking in their sockets. Thankfully, modern computer cords have a surge protector built in so our stuff was fine... unfortunately, all of those computer cords were fried in the wall, so we could no longer charge our remaining electronics. We weren't alone... the entire block blew up in some
epic power surge (TVs were lined up in the lobby of our neighboring hotel like fallen soldiers... the town's repairmen will be speaking that day fondly to his grandchildren). What we were alone in, however, was our allegiance to Macs, which are almost unknown here. While the other apartments in our building were able to head to Radio Shack to get a universal replacement, we had to either go to Lima (an overnight bus) or get replacements shipped from the States. Chris' mom was kind enough to help us out with that, but it meant a long period of waiting without use of our computer.
With our third disaster out of the way, however, we were able to relax and enjoy the area a bit. Machu Picchu in the south of Peru may be the country's archaeological star, but the north has numerous interesting archaeological treasures to give Chris her fix. Practically in our backyard, on the route between Huanchaco and Trujillo that we've traveled a million times, lies Chan Chan
, the capital of the ancient Chimú
people. A UNESCO site, it contains a huge expanse of adobe ruins, including a temple that's been referbished. While most of the site
is slowly disintegrating (note to future empires: adobe isn't the best choice for your monuments), enough is left to give us a pretty good idea of how the Chimu operated.
We also took a long day trip to Chiclayo in order to see Sipán
, a recently excavated Moche burial site most famous for the "Lord of Sipán
". The Lord was buried with gold, sacrificed servants and a decapitated llama, and the burial discovered in 1987 amidst a scene of tomb raiders and midnight raids is often compared to the discover of King Tut. Our tour first visited the actual site, where we saw archeologist Walter Alva
, who Chris reacted to like a 15-year-old girl at a Justin Beiber concert. After a good lunch, where Justin was able to get his much loved stingray omelet (tortilla de raya) and Chris sampled the local specialy of rice with duck (arroz con pato), we headed to Túcume
, an impressive campus of Sicán
pyramids (not to be confused with Sipán) from which you can also see Inca pyramids in the distance. Finally, we headed to the Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán
which now houses the treasures from the Lord's burial. The museum is so interesting that the guide insisted on
showing us every single item in it at length (sarcasm aside, it's a really great museum).
Aside from archagology, we've mostly been taking advantage of the beach, at least on days when the winter clouds and chill have dispersed. While Justin is content with boogie boards and suntanning, Chris decided to try her hand at surfing. With her teacher from Muchik, she was able to get up... now she just needs to work on staying up.
The past few months have also allowed us to touch base with a few friends from Cuenca. Our friends Shawn and Cristina moved to town about a month ago, trying out Huanchaco for a while as they move down the coast. We also spend several days with Karen and her son Osian when they stopped in Huanchaco on their way to Lima. Among their activities, Karen and Chris visited Museo Cassinelli, a ceramics museum that practically has a secret entrance underneath a Trujillo gas station. Located half a block from the clinic where Chris had her stay, Justin visited the same gas station daily to buy snacks, unaware of what was below. Shawn and Cristina were good enough to host a barbecue
for everyone at their fantastic place that includes beachside terrace and grill. So good, they hosted again for a 4th of July holiday barbecue.
We are at the end of our time in Huanchaco... Justin's sister is getting married, and after 18 months a visit to the States is long overdue anyway. We leave for Lima on Monday evening, spending Chris' birthday there, and then fly out to Newark. Our itinerary is: July 20 - N.J.; July 21-29 - Nags Head, N.C.; July 30-August 2 - N.Y.C. Area; August 3-16 - Chicago; August 17-19 - Youngstown, OH; August 20-23 - N.Y.C. Area. We're looking forward to seeing friends, eating all the food we missed, and flushing toilet paper again. After that, we head back through Lima for adventures unknown in Southern Peru.
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