Everyone dies. Not everyone truly lives. -William Wallace "Braveheart"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tombs, Ceramics, Gold, and the Lines

Alejandro and I woke up an hour late at 6:30 am Ahhh!! I barely had time to hop in the shower, pack up my stuff and stuff a piece of bread, a tortilla, and some papaya juice down my throat before our ride got there.  Cesar, our guide/driver, picked us up at 7:30 am and we were off to see some Pre-Incan ruins out in the middle of the desert.  On the way he stopped to show us another burial site in the middle of the desert.  The smaller crosses are for children and the beer bottles aren't litter, but a way to show how much someone was loved because everyone would drink in their honor and leave the bottles there.

We kept driving then came upon these thatched-roof coverings built over these holes in the ground.  As you walked up to them and peered down you saw a Pre-Incan corpse staring back at you...literally.  There they were sitting in holes, out in the open, exposed to all the elements, something you would never see in the states.  Here they would be vacuum sealed and surrounded by glass, but there they were after all these years, in pristine condition.

I asked Cesar if this was a Pre-Incan bag of chips in one of the tombs lol 

After the tombs we headed to a small ceramic workshop where this guy practices the pre-Incan pottery techniques.  He uses paints made from nature, and seals the whole piece using the oil from his brow it's pretty cool. After seeing how the pottery was made we went inside his shop and found the perfect piece for Alejandro and I.  It was a small cup and on one side was a Peruvian man and on the other side was a white woman...just like us :-)

After the ceramics demonstration we hopped back in the car and went to a gold mining workshop.  We were shown the old-fashioned process in which gold is extracted through the addition of mercury and countless hours of grinding in a giant manpower-operated mortar and pestle.  Miners in Peru work 15 hrs a day to extract a mere 1 gram of gold, which is only worth about $40.00.  We went inside the miners shop and bought a ring displaying the Nazca lines.


Seesaw grinding method

Some of the tools the miners use

After that we rushed to a small airport and eagerly awaited our private flight over the Nazca lines.  I was so excited when we finally borded and took off, but I was a little over-zealous with the picture taking and got extremely motion sick.

Hummingbird Line (My birthday line)

We ate lunch at this place called Huarango and had Meata and Pollo al Vino which was delicious! Then Alejandro and I went back to the hostal so I could crash on the couch and wait for my head to stop looping around.  Mom and Al walked down the street to pick up a necklace, earrings, and bracelet Mom had specially made for her by this local artisan.  When they rounded the corner...he wasn't there and Mom's heart dropped, but a woman in the shop next door ran out and gave it to her.

We decided to go ahead and press on 2.5 hours north to Ica and Cesar told us he would drive us there.  We stopped at a Nazca line lookout tower that overlooked 2 of the lines.

When we arrived to the Oasis it was pitch black and we couldn't really see much of the surrounding area.  We found a nice place to stay at Hotel Suiza.  We were starving so we walked next door to this pizza place and ordered a Lomo Saltado Pizza and some plain Lomo Saltado as well.  Now the food in Peru is amazing, but the service is another story...we waited an hour for our food! I would try to be understanding "Maybe they're just really busy" I would tell Alejandro.  Then we would pause, look around, and realize we were the only ones in there.  "Well maybe they are having to physically slaughter the cow and go out to a garden to pick the vegetables" I would joke.  But no matter how much I joked, Alejandro would get so infuriated.  We would have a great day, but everytime we would sit down to eat, he was all but ready to hop back on a plane to the states lol.   

A beautiful sunset

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