UPDATE#21 07/10 thru 07/13   


Howdy Everybody,

The adventures of 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 through 07/09/09 have been published on the website.  We continue with the latest edition and second in the series of Peru and Ecuador adventures.

 UPDATE 2009 #21  07/10/09 thru 07/13/09

At last update, we covered the first edition in the series of our adventures in Peru and Ecuador.  At that time, we were in Huanuco, Peru.



     Judy and I awakened to a 6:45am alarm.  We hustled up to the GM Internacional Bus Terminal located at 28 de Julio, 535 in Huanuco.  Confirming that our bus was indeed going to operate today, now that the Paros (strikes) had ended, we felt cheerful enough to head to the Café San Felipe.  Unfortunately, their coffee machine was not working this morning so we opted to try breakfast at the restaurant below the Hostal Las Vegas.

    Pulling our 22” wheeled backpacks along the fairly rough sidewalks and roadway, we arrived back at the terminal for the 9:20am bus.  It was a beautiful day again and every seat in the bus was full.  There was a large contingent of missionary young people from the Church of Latter Day Saints on board.  These were not North Americans as you might have expected.  These were, most likely, young folks from Central and South America.  As I understand it, each member must devote a couple of years to that type of evangelist service to the church to fulfill an obligation.  More than 50,000 missionaries are serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at any one time. Most are young people under the age of 25, serving in nearly 350 missions throughout the world.   Interestingly, Peru has a major training center within the country for the training program.  Fortunately, we had booked our seats early enough to be aboard today.

     The bus had the obligatory passenger pickups and dropoffs along the way.  Their offices are often very small.  Normally, the stops are not more than 10 or 15 minutes.


     The return route to Lima was the exact reverse of the roadways that took us to Huanuco.  Even though, we enjoyed the nice weather to view a different perspective of the mountain scenery.


     I am fascinated by the different clothing styles worn by various groups of the indigenous Andean natives.  In general, we have found that the native people in these northern parts seem to have become more westernized in their dress compared with the peoples of the central highlands, eastern, and southern regions of Peru.


     Large bundles of corn were hanging from the eves of numerous houses.  I don’t know if they are merely decorative, hung for drying, or, if perhaps, have some other social or religious significance.  I suspect it is just drying, as there is a tarp on the ground with piles of corn kernels being readied for grinding.


     The GM Internacional bus was in the First Class category.  Everything was clean, orderly, and was operated safely.

     No Westinghouse dryer here…


     Climbing high into the Andes Mountains, the scenery was very spectacular.


     Nearing the highest point, the evidence of extensive mining was prevalent.


     Most small villages are neat and generally have a central plaza.


     It is very common for the older generation to care and watch over the younger generation.  In these communities, families often stay close throughout their entire lifetimes.


     Water rushes from the side of this rocky mountain face…


     In this tidy community, the plaza centerpiece is a huge tower resembling a giant onion.  Obviously, the inhabitants are fully focused on the growth and harvesting of the onion crop.


     A lovely, high altitude mountain lake…


     Along the way, our bus stopped at a remote restaurant.  It is a chance for people to use the bathrooms, eat a meal, and stretch their legs.  Usually, these places are not very fancy and the facilities leave a lot to be desired by North American standards.


     The altitude is very high and the peaks remain snowcapped all year long.  Quite a few passengers were experiencing “soroche”.  Soroche is altitude sickness resulting in breathing difficulties and nausea.  Fortunately, we have not been affected but I suspect that it must be quite miserable for those experiencing that common malady.


     In the attempt to handle the intense grade of the mountain passes, the sinuous highway winds endlessly.  It takes many road kilometers to accomplish much fewer straight-line distances.


     After a fairly bouncy ride in seats near the back of the bus, we descended from the clear air of the Andes Mountains into the darkening, smoggy, gray skies of Lima.   Arriving at 18:45pm, we sought a taxi to transport us to our room at the Hostal San Francisco.  It is sometimes more economical to hail a taxi from an adjoining street corner than to accept the higher rates touted by the drivers hanging out at the terminal.   It almost always requires a bit of persistant bargaining.

     In the corner of the historical center, this fountain gracefully varies spray and pattern.  It is quite nice at night and lots of people line up to be photographed by the dancing waters.  Nearby to the fountain, we had dinner at Pollos Ala Brasa.


     A candlelight vigil of sorts was being held on the steps of the National Cathedral. 


     Across the street, the central Plaza Mayor (known as the Plaza de Armas until 1990) was closed off to pedestrians by troops of armed, police riot squads.  Everything remained peaceful.



      On this cool, misty morning, we enjoyed breakfast at Pancho Fierro’s restaurant/café.  Just down from the hotel, we dropped off a bag of dirty laundry in exchange for a promise for afternoon readiness.

      A taxi took us to the terminal for Transportes Linea.  This intercity bus company is one of the more reliable services for trips to the north.  We chose the “Servicio Especial” scheduled to depart tomorrow morning at 10am.


     For about $2, we took a taxi to the Museo de Electricidad in the suburb of Barranco.  They have a fully restored, electric trolley car that we had hoped to ride.  Unfortunately, they were not operating it today.


     The free museum focuses on all aspects of electric power generation and its uses.  It is a very interesting display.


     Judy pressed on the button to strike a high voltage arc from this Tesla Coil exhibit.


     A room with antiquated appliances was featured.


     I’d be willing to bet that some of you remember viewing these “highly advanced” TV models in your own living rooms.  I can fondly remember my father just sitting and staring at the test pattern in total amazement.  The industry has certainly come a long way in a relatively short span of years.  Stay tuned; I think “I Love Lucy” will be coming on soon in “snowy” black and white.


     Barranco is an upscale suburb of Lima that is quite nice.


     These lovely, bronze statues ornament a park near the ocean cliffs.


     Gorgeous!  …and the bougainvilleas are kinda pretty too…


     The steep cliffs jut down to the Pacific Ocean…


     After a bit of walking to Los Chorrillos, we hopped aboard a local minibus heading for the Museo de Artes.  Unfortunately, the facilities were closed for renovations.  Oh well, we just walked to another of the many interesting sites in Lima.

     In one of the largest park areas in Lima, there is a large section devoted to various food vendors.  This guy is preparing a Peruvian specialty that is favored on special occasions.  Called “Pachamanca”, it is a traditional Andean dish.  The baking or roasting process uses hot stones and an earthen oven that is known as a huatia. Principal ingredients may include lamb, mutton, pork, chicken, or guinea pig that have been marinated with Andean spices.  Tipical Andean produce items, such as potatoes, green lima beans or "habas", sweet potato,  ears of corn, tamales and chiles, are often included in the cooking.


     Cabrito is baby goat.  This one looks a little large to be cabrito, perhaps it is mutton, I didn’t ask.  Some folks say it tastes like chicken.


     The city park is beautiful.  There are statues, ornate buildings, museums, and, at times, live theatre.


     As we walked to another area, we came across this interesting business bearing my last name.  I never expected to see a battery company with a name like this.  As you might expect, I got a real “charge” out of seeing it.


     I’m willing to bet that their batteries are very powerful and long lasting…


     After walking a pretty good distance, we hailed a taxi to take us the rest of the way to the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología, E Historia del Peru.  Located away from any main streets, I don’t think I would have been able to find it using the limited map we had.


     This museum houses some of the most important collections in the country.


     This is the original of the “Crossed Hands” modeling from the Kotosh site that we visited last week.  As you may remember, this is the “Female” set.  The “Male” set has been missing since shortly after their discovery in the early 1960’s.  They were the only two in existence.


     This important “Raimondi Stellae” was an original from the Chavin de Huantar site near Huaraz. Named for the Italian archeologist that made the discovery, it was found in the hut of a peasant near the Temple.  The thriving pre-Inca culture existed from about 900 BC to about 500BC.

     Judy and I visited the Chavin de Huantar site last year.


     Lots of original displays of fine pottery portrayed all the historical cultures that have existed in Peru.


     Of course, there were numerous displays of the so-called, “Naughty Pottery”.


     The persons of Royalty were revered as gods.  They wore ornate pieces of gold embellishment whenever they were in the public eye.  The large discs with the attached thick rods were worn in the ears like earrings.


     A “Cazador” is a “hunter”…


     “Pareja de Cuchimilcos” translates to a “couple” of small figurines of men and women with their arms held high (best known as "cuchimilcos").  These are representative of the Chancay Culture that existed around 1100AD to 1440AD.


     More examples of “naughty pottery”…  Most of the erotic pottery comes from the “Moche” or “Mochica” culture that existed north of Lima circa 100AD to 800AD.


     A display depicts the ransom of gold that the last Inca King had gathered to pay the Spanish conquerors for his release from captivity.  There were two more rooms filled with silver.  Francisco Pizarro’s soldiers executed Atahualpa's 12-man honor guard and took the Inca king captive at the so-called ransom room in Cajamarca.  The captors were offered a lofty sum in precious gems and metals to be exchanged for the release of Atahualpa.  Around the year 1532, the Spaniard warriors took all the gold and silver but ended up executing “Atahualpa” anyway in 1533.


     We finally located the correct bus to the historical center with good directions from a policeman.  We got off on Avenida Abancay near the Congreso building.  This view is the backside.


     What can I say?  Are you familiar with the term, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  Just kidding, of course…


     This fancy limousine awaited a wedding couple.  Later, we saw it at the Nacional Cathedral.  It may have been used in multiple weddings tonight or, perhaps, the same important couple may have expanded their vows at the Cathedral.


     Under the lights of night, the Plaza Mayor, in central, historical Lima, is nothing less than spectacular.


     With busy shopping opportunities, this upscale street mall is always packed with affluent Limeños.  Restricted to pedestrians only, Jirón De La Union is a fun place for an evening stroll and people watching.


     We’ve never seen anything like these potato chips anywhere but Peru.  Made with some unique variety of native Andean spuds, they are of multiple colors and the taste is great.  I wonder if Henry (OH HENRY) could grow and market these treats.  Our friend Scott (MOLLY BROWN) could supply the peeler rollers for the new enterprise.  With a party product like this, they could really be in the “chips”.



     We were ready to begin another full day of travel when the alarm sounded at 7:15am.  A Pancho Fierro’s breakfast would give us a good start.

     With still some time to see more of Lima, we walked to Plaza San Martin at the other end of the Jirón De La Union pedestrian mall.  Unlike last night, the shoppers had yet to arrive.

     Plaza San Martin, inaugurated in 1921 to honor the first centenary of Peruvian independence, is one the largest and most beautiful squares in Lima. It is dedicated to General Jose de San Martin, a key leader for the struggle of independence in Southern America. Together with Simon Bolivar, the second liberator of Peru, he declared Peru’s independence on the 28th of July 1821 and was made the Protector of the newly independent nation.
     Conveniently, we have found several Casas de Cambio (money changing offices) nearby that offer some of the best rates plus the added security of being located in an enclosed area.  For me, it is more comfortable to be able count and check for counterfeit bills without too many curious eyes looking on.  Given a choice, I usually look for a “casa de cambio” vs. the ubiquitous street moneychangers.


     Plaza San Martin is surrounded by numerous, well-preserved Republican buildings influenced by the French architectural style typical in Lima at the beginning of the 20th century.


     On the right, the Hostal San Martin is an upscale accommodation; to the left, the Teatro Colon.  This theatre was once a very luxurious and respected venue. In the 50’s it became a cinema, later in the 80’s, a porn movie theater, and subsequently deteriorated rapidly until it was closed in 2003. The beautiful refurbished facade of the old ‘Teatro Colon’ awaits a new role in Lima’s cultural scene.


     Plaza San Martin is one of the most beautiful architectural areas in Lima.  The buildings lining the huge square thrill the eye. 


     Astride his stately steed, the statue of General San Martin is enormous and impressive.


     Walking back to our hostel, we passed by the Presidential Palace.  Lining the north side of Plaza Mayor, and officially known as the Palacio de Gobierno, the presidential residence boasts an pair of impressive wings jutting outward from each side of the main entrance (under the flag).   The building then runs a full city block to the backside.  In colonial times, it was the location of Francisco Pizarro’s house, later becoming the Palace of the Viceroys.


     We gathered up our packs from the Hostal San Francisco and hailed a taxi to the Transportes Linea bus terminal.  Being freshly squeezed, the orange juice was delicious.


     The comfortable bus departed on time at 10am with a sparse load of passengers.  We were fortunate to have reserved front row seats #1 and #2 on the upper deck giving us a great view of our trip. 

     Still in Lima, we passed around a traffic circle area lined with buildings identical to this one.  When, and if, ever restored, this will become another focal point of this city.


     As the highway passes close to the Pacific Ocean coast, visibility is almost always restricted by fog.


     As we traveled further north, the skies yielded to blue.  Expanses of sand and dunes stretch eastward from the sea to the mountains.


     At 6:30pm, we arrived in the major city of Trujillo.  Founded shortly after the Spanish Conquest by Francisco Pizzaro in 1532, the city was dubbed with the same name as his home city in Spain.  A short taxi ride took us from the terminal to the Hostal Solari for our check in to room #205.  With a bit of hard bargaining, we managed to get the rate down to an acceptable rate equivalent of about $32 per night.

     Close by at the main plaza, an enjoyable band concert was being performed.


     At one corner of the Plaza Mayor, the 17th Century Cathedral is impressively lit at night.


     We enjoyed a tasty dinner of Chinese style food at Chifa Sam.  Accompanied with a big bowl of wonton soup, the huge serving of chicken breast with vegetables was enough for us to share.  Our hostal room, being on the street side, was a little bit noisy due to local traffic.  Whenever possible, a better choice would be an off-street room.  All in all, we will be quite happy during our several night stay here.


     Being a large city, the traffic noise was interrupting our sleep quite early this morning.  At 8am, we enjoyed the included continental breakfast at the hotel.

     Most of the interesting sightseeing opportunities in this area are located in remote locations.  The most effective way to maximize time and effort is to join a day tour group to provide the transportation.  Having an excellent reputation, we chose Moche Tours to sign up for a two-day set of sites.

     Across from the Moche Tours office and in front of this church, a street entertainer performed mechanical-like movements whenever money was placed in his box.  Remaining motionless while awaiting deposits, his act was delightfully executed.  I couldn’t resist contributing.


     Our van group tour operator, Moche Tours, commenced the day’s activities at the expansive site of the Huaca del Sol, or Temple of the Sun.  This major archaeological site was constructed during the time of the Moche culture (100 BC-650 AD).  Even though the original height was 50 meters tall, it still reported to be the largest structure built of adobe in the world.


     The enormous stepped pyramid measures 1,250 feet in length and rises 135 feet above the surrounding plain. It is reported to be the tallest adobe structure in the world.  Estimates are that a staggering 50 million to 100 million adobe mud bricks were used in its construction.

     In 1602, the Spaniards, seeking any gold treasure, intentionally diverted the Santa Catalina River into the pyramid, which then washed away more than 1/2 of the Huaca del Sol on the west side. It is estimated that approximately 2/3 of the structure has been lost to erosion and looting.  Over the years, the Temple of the Sun has been further damaged and eroded by the weather forces of El Nino.  At present, the site is closed to all visitors.


     Having been excavated by archeologists, the adjacent Huaca de la Luna, or Temple of the Moon, provides a more interesting site to visit.   The word, “Huaca”, translates to Temple or Sacred Place.

     Huaca de la Luna was occupied between about 500 and 800 AD.  Its adobe construction includes three large platform mounds with adjacent plazas. The temple measures about 950 feet by 690 feet.   Numerous layers of colorful friezes adorned the multiple layers of adobe walls. 


     Geometric designs, perhaps carrying the image of their principal god, Ayapaec, decorate some of the walls in a checkerboard fashion. The Moche god, Ayapaec, is represented by a human figure with a tiger's mouth and snarling fangs. "Ayapaec" is a Quechua word that translates as "Wrinkle-Face".  This name was later given to the deity by the Inca because of the deity's unusual appearance.


     Our guide, Juan, explained many of the facets of these excavations. He seemed very knowledgeable and helpful, however, the information given in Spanish was often a bit faster and more technical than my level of fluency.  I gained a lot but missed a lot too.


     Painted reliefs have been exposed in several of the platforms and plazas.


The exterior walls of the platforms at Huaca de la Luna are embellished with the remnants of mural paintings and sculptured reliefs with some depicting lines of warriors carrying shields and war clubs.  A striking image of a two-headed serpent or a snarling stylized feline is rendered in several locations.

     A wall with the reliefs of sea life tells of their belief and reliance on the ocean.


     As we drove away from the complex, we had gained valuable insight into the magnificence of the Moche culture and their industrious existence.   We had a closer view of the Temple of the Sun, or Huaca Del Sol on the road outbound.


     Our van tour returned to central Trujillo for the lunch break.  The tour group had offered an add-on lunch package, however, we decided to save some money and chose our own dining venue.  It gave us an additional opportunity to see some of the buildings lining the Plaza Mayor.

     A Trujillo municipal building…


     The major plaza, or Plaza de Armas, and cathedral…


     A lovely, colonial style building adjacent to the plaza…


     A delicious lunch was had at Chifa Sam at an economical price.


     Presently under renovation, an athletic monument graces the main Plaza de Armas.


     The main Cathedral…


     After lunch, the tour group re-gathered for the second phase of our day excursion.  Over rough, remote roads, the van trip to the site took over an hour.  The route took us through massive fields of sugar cane.  When the crop is ready, the stalks are cut, left to dry a bit, and then the field is set on fire to burn away the outers.  The charred stalks are then loaded onto huge trucks by hand for transfer to the processing mills.


     Trucks full of laborers are frequently seen shuttling them to and from the harvest site.  The job is extremely dirty and you often see workers totally black from the soot and ash.  Sometimes, you see them cleaning themselves up in the irrigation ditches or streams.  It is definitely work for the young men.


     The “Mochica”, or Moche, Culture complex of “El Brujo” was our destination this afternoon.  The name translates to “wizard” or “sorcerer”.  Researchers have found signs of occupation as early as 5,000 years ago.  Considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites on the north coast, it served as a ceremonial center and meeting place for several cultures, starting with the pre-ceramic cultures and culminating with the Moche. The overall site is consisting of a long wall with high-relief figures, and three pyramidal temples, Huaca Prieta, Huaca Cortada and Huaca Cao Viejo.


     Huaca Cao Viejo is a badly damaged, stepped pyramid with colorful high reliefs.  The temple was most likely used for religious rituals, hence the name, El Brujo.  It appears to have been a place of special power for the area shamans (called “brujos” or “curanderos”) to perform some of their healing ceremonies.  Years of erosion, as well as damages from the “huaqueros”, or grave robbers, has wracked turmoil at the site.


     We were told that the temple was not just built at one time.  The stepping of layers occurred when successive regimes would erect their additions over the top of the preceeding level.


  The Huaca Cao Viejo pyramid is covered in reliefs that suggest a warrior-priest sacrificed prisoners to the gods.


     One of the most significant finds has revolutionized perceptions held by archaeologists pertinent to the Moche Culture.  The mummified corpse of a tattooed woman, whose elaborately wrapped remains were discovered only a few years ago in 2005, appears to indicate her having risen to overall power a thousand years before the Inca arrival.  Until this find, archaeologists had believed that solely men had ruled the entire Mochica Culture.

    The intact burial chamber had been sealed from both looters and the elements since around A.D. 450.


     The burial site that held significantly valuable artifacts and the tattooed mummy of “Senora de Cao” was part of an ornate enclosure holding four graves.  The other graves appear to have been occupied by the sacrificed bodies of her royal attendants.


     This replication depicts what an original wall embellishment looked like.  “Ayapeac” (sometimes seen as “Aiapaec”, as well as other spellings) is believed to have been the highest deity god of the Moche Culture.  He is often referred to as the Moche “Decapitator”.


     Visiting these expansive sites requires lots and lots of walking.


     Peruvian archaeologist Régulo Franco, whose work has been supported by Peru's National Institute of Culture and privately sponsored by the Augusto N. Wiese Foundation, was primarily responsible for most of the site exploration.

     A recently opened museum houses many of the artifacts and site findings.  Beyond the museo, Huaca Prieta rises above the Pacific shore.


     As late afternoon approached, our tour van headed back for the 1 hour and 15 minute ride to Trujillo.  A trip to this site without an organized tour would be very difficult.  Given the remoteness and difficulties with any transportation, this type of tour is both economical and efficient.


     The evening was quite cool and breezy.  We were very tired and our muscles ached from walking.  After a light dinner in town, we returned to the Hostal Solari.  Fortunately, we were able to change to the quieter room #201 for some much needed rest and recuperation.  Tomorrow will be another day of intense sightseeing.





       We sincerely hope that you will review the previous years of compilations to give context to the current editions.  Please let us know if you have any special suggestions and thoughts.

     REMEMBER:  The website is now fully active and you can visit it at any time.  You can also review any of the previous logs from the years 2006, 2007, or 2008 and learn more about the crew and their many adventures.  Enjoy.



   You may contact us via email anytime.

Thanks for allowing us to share our life and adventures with you.

Lotsa Luv,

Fred Reed and Judy Law




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