The North Coast Culture Dose: Trujillo

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P1020230After exactly two weeks and a day I have been able to detach myself from Máncora and boarded a fancy bus on Sunday evening to get me to Trujillo. The moto taxis are ubiquitous in Máncora except on a Sunday, when the drivers are not that keen on working, as they are still feel groggy after a big Saturday night or they just want to chill with their families. The magnificent Cynthia, my hostess and the owner of the fabulous lodge I couldn’t drag myself away from, called at least 5 drivers for me, but none of them where available. Even standing on the road side, plenty of moto taxis passing by, but none of them keen on taking me the 300 m along the strip to the ‘bus station’. Yes, it was only 300m or so, so that I had to walk really wasn’t such a big deal.

While I managed to leave Lima for Máncora on a cheap bus for ‘normal’ people, without any security checks, taking fancy buses down south is a different issue all together: The check-in and boarding process was filmed with a simple camera standing on a tripod (?!) When showing my ticket I had to show my passport too, which was fairly thoroughly inspected and my hand luggage and my person were subjected to inspection by a hand-held metal detector. After having boarded the bus and having been en route for 20 minutes or so, people with bright flash lights boarded the bus. I first thought they were people flogging their wares, but that doesn’t seem to happen on fancy buses. These were authority people, who seemed to be hunting for foreign-looking folk, as on the upper deck where I was seated only I and a blondish guy next to me were asked for our documents. I assume they were checking if we weren’t overstaying our visas. I’m not sure what this display of security measures and authority people is supposed to achieve. Maybe it is to make some people feel important and relevant. I know that this region has had, and might still have, its own problems with civil unrest, insurgence and guerrilla groups, but since I fled terror-obsessed Europe not only for the weather, the Dark Fairy is not terribly amused with this manner of wanting to appear in control.

After a 9 hour journey, on which I funnily enough didn’t sleep as well as on the rough bus from Lima to Máncora, I arrived in Trujillo and walked to my hotel, located in a large, nicely decorated building. Trujillo is a city with many pretty and colourful colonial buildings and a fair amount of traffic that makes a lot of noise. The epicentre of town is the Plaza de Armas which is a spacious square surrounded by colourful buildings and busy roads.

Colourful view from Plaza de Armas

Colourful view from Plaza de Armas

Besides many churches and impressive buildings there are many sites of archaeological significance in and around the city where pre-Inca civilisation like the Moche and the Chimú have left their mark. I visited the Huana de la Luna, the moon temple and accompanying museum. The temple dates from the Moche dynasty and was built between the first century and 600 CE and discovered in 1998. The museum is only a few years old. It’s not very big, but very well set-up and it has some impressive items on display. After visiting the museum first we- the tour group I had joined for the day with some lively and interesting individuals- were driven to the site of the moon temple only a few hundred metres away. The complex is located by a mountain that was considered a god and the Moche made many human sacrifices to their mountain god with the attempt to control freak weather events caused by el niño. The temple consists of 8 layers, each layer being filled up with mud bricks after every el niño event and round of sacrifices.

In the distance one can see the much larger Huaca del sol, or sun temple in English. This temple, which represents the political power of the Moche rather than the religious power of the moon temple, is not open to the public yet.

The 'holy' mountain

The ‘holy’ mountain

Moon temple layer detail

Moon temple layer detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow temple

Rainbow temple

 

After the sun and moon temple and a quick stop at a much smaller site called the Rainbow temple, our group paid a visit to Chan Chan. Chan Chan, built by the Chimú is just outside of the city on the way to the beach town of Huanchaco, and is considered the largest pre-columbian site in the Americas. As not an awful lot has stood the test of time, a lot of imagination is needed to picture how impressive it must have looked in its heyday covering a vast area. Also in Chan Chan human sacrifices were made and when a king died, his wife and entire entourage were killed to follow him in the after-life. It is said that the city contained a lot of silver and gold, which the Spaniards all nicked on their massive plundering tour through the Americas.

At the end of the day we were given a glimpse of the beach town of Huanchaco. I immediately thought that the town looked a lot more charming than Máncora and it has a pier, which functions as a sort of boulevard to chill on, for which one has to pay half a sole, about 20 euro cent, entrance. Huanchaco beach, however is very narrow, very crowed and doesn’t look terribly clean. I have also been told that the sea is considerably colder than further North.

Chilling on Huanchaco's pier

Chilling on Huanchaco’s pier

 

 

 

After that culture dose I retired to my hotel room, not to be seen again until the next morning.

Besides touring the surroundings, I have been making my office in both the cute French-style Café Museo and the very stately Casena Deza. The latter being a colonial mansion with patio, different rooms, vintage furniture and accessories and suberb coffee, cakes, service and ambiance. After four days I am heading for some mountain chill in the town of Caraz, near the capital of what Lonely Planet calls the “Andes adventure kingdom” Huaraz. I am taking another fancy bus, yet with a different company from Trujillo’s terrapuerto, or coach station, which looks fancier than the fancies airport I have ever landed at. It’s light, bright, spacious and clean. Many people in uniforms are swift and kind in their service. What do you mean this is a developing country?! Victoria coach station (in London) looks lame and something from a third world country in comparison! The so called Global South is quickening its pace. People get ready.

My offices in Trujillo:

Cafe Museo

Cafe Museo

Casona Deza

Casona Deza

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About Lemba

Non-conformist Writing Soul and Language Geek from the Lowlands with a South London accent, currently living a nomadic, location- independent lifestyle. While executing the Big Fat Writing Plan I’m invading cyberspace with my views on 'expat living', travel and other lifestyle choices, current affairs and other randomness. Welcome to the Dark Fairy Zone.

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