Janice and Larry : South America Overland 2008 travel blog

Janice at the Moche temple of the moon

The temple of the moon after excavation of mud bricks revealed it

mud bricks

scary spider

Hairless Inca dog

The reservoir at Chan Chan

The trekkers in Chan Chan

Excacvations at the Moche site

Inside the pyramid

We set off up the Pan-American highway to the small fishing village of Huanacho. The landscape along this coast is awful. First there is the smell. It is like tuna that has gone off from all the fisheries and chemical plants. Then there is the sea fret a deep fog that floats inland all up this coast. There is no rain due to the humbolt current which means there is lots of sand. The land itself has been dug out for minerals and gravel and just left it looks desolate and neglected. Then there is the rubbish tons and tons of black plastic bags, plastic bottles, rubble and household waste just dumped along side the road. There were acres and acres of it with people living on and near it searching for recyclable stuff. The poverty here is desperate there are huge sanddunes with slums half way up them, no water and a feeling of no hope. Larry felt it looked like a landscape after a nuclear winter. We have seen poverty all over this continent but this place seemed hopeless where the other areas looked as if they were striving forward, however slowly. It was a depressing journey.

The little fishing village of Huanacho was were we were staying. Our hostel was very nice, the rooms were clean and comfortable and there was a cafe and bar and best of all a swimming pool.

We walked along the sea front looking for a restaurant but it was out of season so most places were closed. In the end we did find a very nice little place and had a seafood pasta and mixed kebab, which was cooked on a barbque set up in front of the restaurant where we could watch the chef cooking our dinner. The next morning some of the girls were so pleased to see the swimming pool that they decided to miss the trip to the Chan Chan complex and stay by the pool for the morning.

The rest of us were shown round the complex by a local guide who brought the place alive for us. There is only one palace open to the public, and it it being restored and excavated at the same time but they don't have the money to restore all ten palaces.

Then onto the Moche temples, mud brick pyramids,they are excavating the temple of the moon, each of the rows in the photo is a level of temple built and then used for about one hundred years then filled in with mud bricks and a new temple level built on top. Both these civilisations are pre Inca and no one is quite sure how the various complexes were used. This whole coast is full of ruins with more found all the time. We would have liked to visit more of the sites but there is not enough time even on a three month trip.

We did get to a fantastic museum in Lambayeque that has a tomb of the King of Sipan reproduced in a specially built copy of the temple it was found in. The gold and artifacts found there rival the tomb of Tutankamun.

Then it was on to Equador.

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