Spring time in Trujillo

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September 30th 2013
Published: October 4th 2013
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After an all day long bus ride from Lima to Trujillo, and arriving 2h late when it was already dark, we were happy we asked our host to arrange a cab to pick us up. He actually came himself as his taxi driving friend was unavailable, and even gave us a small sightseeing on our way to the apartment. We had our own small apartment this time to the great price of only 9€ per night, and this was within walking distance of the centre of Trujillo. The bed was good, and wake up service was included in the form of the honking of cars that started at about 8 AM in the morning.

In Peru honking seems to be an artform. Honking is of course done like in Finland, when someone is doing something dangerous in the traffic, and that happens a lot here. The signal is a long, angry honk, telling exactly what the honker thinks about the person doing the dangerous moves. In addition to this, here you also honk when you are about to do something dangerous, like turning left in the rightmost lane, or driving against red lights, again, this happens a lot. Here the honk is quick, apologising honk, and this means there will be less angry honks at you after you're done with your move. This is however not all, in addition to this you honk if you are a cab trying to attract customers, usually a quick double-honk in this case, or if you are unsure of someones intentions (e.g. a pedestrian), then you usually honk once. In addition to this there is of course a lot of additional honking, but this we haven't deciphered yet. Also, some cars have several honks with different sounds that they then use for different purposes.

Trujillo is a beautiful city. The city center is filled with old colonial style houses, and in the middle of the center there is a beautiful plaza with fountains and palm trees. Also after the grayness of Lima the weather seemed perfect even though it was definitely not cloudless. Once you left the immediate center it all changed, the houses started to look more run down, more houses look half finished and everything started to look more shady. And this happened for a long time, Trujillo is one of the biggest cities in Peru and it has no buildings higher than a few floors, so it is covering a big area.

Our first day there was a big parade in the city. This was part of a big spring festival, it feels a bit funny to have a spring festival in the beginning of autumn, but here spring has just started. The roads where it was supposed to happen were lined with several rows of chairs, people renting chairs and selling snacks and trinkets and once the parade started also with people. We rented two chairs in the last row so that we would be able to escape if we got bored with the show, and sat down to wait for the parade to begin. The parade consisted of marching bands, dancing groups performing old peruvian traditional dances and a lot of representatives from the Lions organisation from Trujillo and all nearby areas. The atmosphere was a little bit like first of May in Finland, and we watched it for a few hours before using our escape route.

The next day we went to see our main reason for coming to Trujillo, the old ruins from the Moche culture, Huacas del Sol and Huacas de la Luna, the temples of the sun and the moon. To get there we had to take a combi, a minibus used by all the local people to get around the city. We went to the roundabout where it was supposed to leave, and went to the first combi we saw and asked for our destination. The guy just shaked his head, but a street merchant started to shout at us and point to a similar looking combi that we then boarded. The combi was almost full already, but all the time the guy responsible for the passagers was shouting to people the combi passed and trying to lure them on board. The bus drove on smaller and smaller roads taking on and dropping of local people until we finally arrived at the Huacas de la Luna.

We started our exploration of the Moche culture with the nearby museum that explained the life and rituals of the Moche people. The Moches, like all other pre Inka cultures practised ritual human sacrifice which they did to pacify the gods when El Niño struck. All sacrified persons where young Moche warriors who first went through ritual duels, the losers were then druged with the holy San Pedro cactus and sacrificed to their god Ai-Apaes, the decapitator. The El Niño was also the reason the Moche culture ended, when there were a period of especially serious El Niños in the 7th century the people lost their faith in the priests, and after being secularised the culture started to disintegrate. What impressed me the most was the pottery, the Moches made really intricate animal figures and also figures of persons with superb colouring that due to their practice of burning their pottery still was intact.

When we went to the temple we were also there impressed by the frescoes on the walls and the well preserved colours. The moches rebuilt their temple every 100 years on top of the old temple, the older temples had therefore been well preserved under the newer ones. There were some damage done by time, conquistadors and grave robbers, but the 1500 years old structure was suprisingly well preserved. It was also still being excavated, so in five years the site should have much more to see, now it was interesting but not that extensive. When returning to town we were just in time for catching a lunch menu at 5 soles (less than 1,50 €), you can get really cheap menus as long as it is still lunch time, but all the cheap places close at 4 PM. The next morning we then took an early bus to Chiclayo to see more pre inka culture.

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Trujillo - Anyone looking for a taxi?Trujillo - Anyone looking for a taxi?
Trujillo - Anyone looking for a taxi?

And yes, they were all honking at us!

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