Today we were on the go all day escorted by Obar who did not speak a lick of English. We started out at breakfast meeting Marthe and Paul from Montreal. He's Paul "the Greek" and Martha is from this town. We enjoyed a nice meal together and were joined by a kind of surly man (it may have been the time, 9am) who also grew up in Pimental. It turns out that Martha and surly man had family aquantences. Small world. When we asked for a drivwer recommendation a conversation ensued, not only who, but how much. Martha won out and we engaged Obar for the day to take us to two museums and an archaeological dig. The Incas are not part of the conversation here. It goes much farther back to the Moche,a people that existed over 1500 years ago. We first stopped at the Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan which was an incredible piece of architecture in the middle of a small city. The museum did not have a lot of English subtitles, but with Barbara's translation and my limited Spanish we figured it out. All of the items excavated from the Royal tombs of Sipan are located in this museum. We would later in the day visit the excavated tombs on the plains outside of town and see the replaced items and skeletons in situ. This area in the northwest corner of Peru reminds me that the history of Peru is so much more that the Aztecs. On a side note, at dinner this evening we were entertained by a 5 year old girl who freely offered beauty tips, which include that we should grow our hair long. I couldn't understand a word that she said, she talked so fast and changed direction at a whim.
Fun, exhausting day
I loved seeing the archeological finds at both museums and the archeological dig site today. The Museo de Tumbes Reales de Sipan was particularly interesting; shaped like a stepped pyramid, one enters via a reproduction of the long ramps used to haul adobe bricks up to the pyramid during construction. You enter at the top and gradually work your way down. The artifacts are presented at the level where archeologists found them; with lots of before and after info showing the amazing job of reconstructing crumpled, corroded bits of things into magnificent relics. One burial chamber had the Lord (placed upside down in a fetal position with his head slightly separated from the body. The main chamber had the Lord lying out flat, surrounding him were 3 young women (clearly insignificant; not much jewelry or ornamentation; typical), two decapitated llamas, a boy and his dog (?), several guards and someone who seemed to be placed in a niche in the wall just to watch. They believe that all of these "lesser folk" were given (lots) of laced wine and poisoned, then later positioned and rocks and dirt filled in afterwards. Creepily, one of the women appears to not have been (quite) dead and there are signs that she woke up afterwards and tried to get out, but was covered with tons of rock and dirt.
The Museum has most of the original artifacts, but the site had an immediacy that was hair raising.
There were also very cute burrowing owls at the site, as well as way too many vultures just hanging around...
We are still recovering from our sunburns of yesterday; everyone looks at us and reminds us of the importance of sun block, which is irritating (and reminds me of the smug way Barb and I reminded some younger travelers who were clearly burned at another set of ruins (how I hate irony at times.)