1.2 Huaca Pucllana
We´ve been doing a lot more exploring around Lima, and today we went to see the ancient Inca palace of Huaca Pucllana. Where our hostel is; Miraflores, is a seperate district of Lima, and it is comparatively affluent, with designer shops and a beach destination for holidaymakers. Outside of Miraflores there is so much poverty, and I think that at the moment we are seeing a rather well-polished side of this country. It is very busy, very crowded, and very hot, but the huge park outside of our hostel offers us some shade and a little calm.
The palace is a huge stone pyramid, built in the traditional stepped structure that is so associated with Inca architecture. It is right in the middle of suburban Miraflores, and they run tours with a tour guide speaking in English to explain the sites.
We also got a chance to check out the local wildlife, my favourite of which was the rare napkin-headed man who I spotted using a zoom lens to take pictures of bricks. Also, Steadicam man, who was dressed in his killer sandals-and-socks combination, using a steadicam to film everything the tour guide said. I pity the family that has to sit through that holiday video.
Priceless. Of course, the three of us spent so long observing the behaviour of our fellow tourists that we found it hard to concentrate at first, but after a while, and because the tour guide had a habit at yelling very threateningly at anyone who strayed too far from the group, we caught up. The palace was built over hundreds of years as a structure that was constantly growing and being built up. The Incas made their bricks out of clay and in some parts of the palace you can see the impressions of fingers, where the clay was moulded by hand. Some of the finger marks belong to women and children, and, although the Incas had no slaves, it is believed that they had to work in order to pay taxes to their king.
The Incas worshipped the Ocean, a female god to whom they would make human sacrifices. (Our tour guide took great delight in explaining this to us, she even eyeballed us three as she explained that only women aged between 12 and 25 qualified for sacrifice.)
It was an awesome place to visit.
By the time this is posted, I will be on a very early morning flight to Cusco, where we are due to start volunteering in two days time. I am excited to meet the kids, and I just want to start getting stuck in! I have only been here two days and I already feel very familiar with the place, as if I have been here for weeks. An angry German lady is waiting to use the computer, so I better go.
I hope it´s sunny where you are, (I have been buying many many packets of peanuts from stalls like these to feed my habit, they are everywhere and I can´t stop)
MTG, PV x