After a long time in the van to reflect on the disappointment of Kuntar Huasi's unopen state, our expectations of El Brujo are on the wane.
Mercifully the site is open and follows the recent trend of excellent architecture and design for these sites' museums. I am beginning to question whether this is as these museums are foreign funded (this one by an Austrian institution) and there is subtle imperialism at play, or are the Peruvians are bleeding the foreign Devils for all they can?
Either way this is a superb facility. The exhibits are well lit and have clear and contextualised descriptions in perfect English.
This location was the seat of power for a Mochica (later Moche) group who managed the water flowing from the mountains to the sea to irrigate the fertile land and rule the area. The big find here in the mid 1990s was the Lady of Cao, a priestess with equal or higher rank than any male at the time as indicated by the quality and quantity of the items she was buried with, the existence of companions killed to accompany her to the afterlife and the location of her tomb within the complex. Unusually she was tattooed with representations of animals (snakes, spiders, monkeys, fish, ...).
During our first visit to Peru we visited the Museo Larco, a private collection on display in a privately funded but publicly accessible museum. This collection contains a decorated pot from the 9th century which shows a number of figures enacting a sacrificial ceremony and the priestess is identified as the occupant of this tomb without the shadow of a doubt. Impressive considering she died 500 years before the pot was made!
Sarah raises the good question of what is the difference between looting and archeology, but it's too hot to delve too deeply, but could the Larco collection exist at the intersection? Discuss.
We travel on for only an hour more before arriving in Trujillo rush hour - a mad and maddening, ear-popping contusion of cars, taxis, police whistles, horns and life in general. The Plaza des Armas is huge, but this is not continued in the rest of the town plan. Two lanes of traffic weave in and out throughout the gridded, one-way traffic scheme, reminiscent of a two storey New York. We pass within sight of the Hotel Colonial, our abode for the night, and are then taken half a beeping mile past before the one way scheme allows a double right turn to backtrack.
Planning ahead for our night bus to Lima in 2 nights, we scope the local supermarket for sustenance. Not only am I prevented from buying a Cusqueno (beer of Cusco) because it comes in a glass bottle that requires an empty to be presented in exchange, or the payment of. 50p deposit, which as we are clearly gringos, the cashier has no confidence in its being redeemed, but the list of purchases is depressing in the extreme ... 1 red Gatorade, 1 blue Gatorade (I don't think they sell this stuff by flavour, only colour), 1 pack of chocolate flavour breakfast bars, 2 large bottles of water, 1 pack salted crackers and err... that's it.
Carrying our purchases we stop by a local restaurant who seem slightly embarrassed to have our custom. The first three things I order are not available. Octopus I can accept, but no local Trujillo beer? Or milk for cafe latte? Really?
After a review with the waiter who really is only 15 I swear, we order things the kitchen actually possesses, or at least owns up to possessing, including 3 hot chocolates. How do you make hot chocolate without milk we wonder, but it's a rhetorical question as it turns out to be rather fabulous. Jude suggests he'll need another to work out whether this is as good as the chocolate submarine he had in Hotel Rosario in La Paz - nice try!