Friday, January 31, 2014

Pyramids, Part I

Our first adventure in Lima was a quest for Incan ruins. Dave and I set out early in the morning with our friends Monica and Moniquita and drove to a pyramid called Huallamarca, nestled in the middle of the historical, old-money houses of the San Isidro district. The dusty archaeological site rose up in the middle of the city, right across from a bank and a small parking lot.

There weren't any guides at this archaeological site, so a security guard escorted us through the museum and pyramid in exchange for a small tip. There was an entire room devoted to the importance of gourds, with gourd bowls, urns, and masks.

So excited.
In the next room, we found an Incan mummy excavated from the pyramid. She was hunched over, like she was cowering in fear of the icy breath of death.
The glamorous afterlife.
That is just how the Incas buried their dead, curled up in a fetal position inside of giant gourds rather than lying down with crossed arms, like Egyptian pharaohs. Then the bodies were hidden like Easter eggs in pyramids for posterity, with all of their pots and bowls. This particular mummy had signs of a fractured arm that had been healed with advanced Incan medicine. She had been treated for rheumatoid arthritis. I was surprised to see a full head of natural hair crowning her skull.

Incan mummies like Russian nesting dolls full of bones.
Then we all climbed the pyramid to see small excavations on the surface. Tents covered more pear-shaped mummies with startled expressions on their gourd masks. Some of them had shaggy wigs like rag dolls.

From the top, we had a panoramic view of Lima and all of its continuous rumbling construction. Sometimes it seemed like Lima's population was entirely made up of jackhammers. Walking up and down the pyramid, my sneakers went from black to a dusty graphite gray.

I noticed that every archaeological site was guarded by an elderly, skeletal canine with a sweater and a laughable haircut. We saw one at each site, but this guy is my favorite.


  1. I'm so glad you went on this adventure and saw all these great things!! All your comments cracked me up! The gourd that's "excited" made me laugh out loud!

  2. The little figurines had really great expressions!