Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mixed Emotions

August 15-17, 2011

Tuesday came once again with the hope of seeing the motorcycle. I tried to be patient during the morning, but it seemed liked things were running a bit slow down at customs.

I decided to walk down to the ocean to check it out. As I approached the bottom of the stairs, I looked down over the highway to see the beach. It was the exact spot where we stopped with the students exactly 2 weeks prior. Haha!! How ironic. I took a few photos and headed to the market to buy some snacks for the bike.

Hmmm, been here before...

In the afternoon, I still hadn’t heard anything so Penny told me I needed to visit the Museum Larco Herrera. It was far away, so once again I hopped the metro and headed downtown. After the bus I had to take a taxi for awhile to get there. Penny didn’t mention what kind of museum it was so I walked in expecting anything. There was no one taking money so I entered an area with beautiful plants and thought maybe it was a botanical garden. There was an exhibit below so I walked in. WHOA! There were two rooms with intricate pottery behind the glass in the displays. But these weren’t ordinary pottery, each piece had one or several figures in explicit sexual positions!! What? I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. I did take some pictures but most certainly am not going to post them here. I guess I didn’t know pottery like that existed, but it is there. Those pre-Incas had pretty vivid sculptors...

I walked around and found the actual museum. It cost 30 S ($10) to enter. I figured why not, I needed something to take my mind off the fact I was probably going to get a call soon that the bike would be delayed again. The museum is incredible. It is a private collection of artifacts from 1000 BC to the 1500’s. It started with several rooms of pottery displays. Each window had a good description in 4 different languages, so I was able to guide myself.

Cool pre-Incan pottery

Molds and knives used to create statues

The set following pottery was actually what blew me away the most, it was a room full of weavings. I had no idea that they were so intricate and well made thousands of years ago. The methods used were pretty cool, and I even learned about a base ten recording system that used math to keep extensive records of the culture’s history. Each strand has a series of knots that keep track of numbers. Different colors represent people, livestock, or other items that needed to be recorded.

Huge rug, 2000 years old

Recording System for a Settlement

After the weavings there were some paintings. An interesting one showed the 14 Incas, but then switched to Spanish leaders and continued to the 25th “Inca”. The first Spanish man, (15th Inca) had a cross drawn above his head to show how he was the first Catholic Inca. It matches with everything I have learned about how the Spanish tried to assimilate and change Incan culture to become more Spanish (Catholic).

The final part consisted of rooms and rooms of gold and silver. There were ceremonial items, jewelry, headdresses, shimmering shirts, and various other items. It was pretty impressive. I learned how they had ritual combat, where they tried to knock off the opponent's headdress with a long pole. The loser was sacrificed to the gods. The final display was an outfit made entirely of gold, apparently the only complete one that exists in the world. Overall I was very impressed and was glad I went.

Ceremonial knife and goblet for the blood of the loser in combat

Complete gold outfit

I left looking for a taxi to get home. They wanted 30 S which I already said was $10. No way. They said I could catch a bus at the end of the street. Now the bus system down here is crazy, there are dozens at any time driving down the street; it is a crazy mess that no one understands. But, why not right? I waited at the corner and saw one that had Barranco written on the side. Well, that’s where I wanted to go so I hopped in. I got an amazing tour of the city, and watching the driver and the yeller work in tandem was fun. The bus barely stops for passengers, and almost never stops moving, weaving in and out of all types of traffic. It was awesome. It took over an hour, but eventually I started to recognize the streets. I got a call on the way home, the bike had been released but won’t be delivered until tomorrow. I guess the ordeal is finally over. Oh yeah, the cost for the hour bus ride all the way across town? $0.50. Sweet.

On the walk back, I stopped at the top of the cliff overlooking the ocean. I just sat, watched, and listened to the waves rolling in. How did a suburban kid end up here? Sometimes it blows my mind to think of the events leading up to where I am now. I know not everyone has the opportunity to do what I am doing, and I never would have guessed this is where I'd end up.

Ocean and lights of Lima at night

That night we went to a TexMex place that just opened down the road. The owner is Stu, a Brit. I had high hopes for an amazing wet burrito and some good tacos. Well, it was kind of disappointing. The burrito tasted like Qudoba, not my favorite. The tacos weren’t good at all, I guess Taco Bell will be my first meal when I get home.

Wednesday morning I had no expectations. I had been let down so many times I assumed something else would go wrong. I was told 1:30 pm for the dropoff. At 3:00, two guys showed up who were supposed to help, that was a good sign. Finally, at 3:30 a truck turned onto the side road.

Is it? Could it be?

I tried to stay cool as they opened the back door to the truck. There it was, my motorcycle that I hadn’t seen in two months and in another hemisphere. But my happiness was short lived. I immediately saw there was damage. On closer inspection, I could see that the bike had been dropped on its side and many parts were bent. The damage to the side bracket was really bad. And the battery was dead as well. At least the pepper spray I hid in the electronics was still there.

Hmmm... that case doesn't look right

So we unloaded it Peruvian style, with a thin plank as the ramp. I thought it was going to drop for sure, but it got down alright. I called my guy, and found out any damage was not covered. So whatever, we jumped it and it started right up. I rode it up and down the street and everything else seemed fine. I guess my adventure will have to wait one more day until I can get the bracket bent back. I suppose it doesn’t really matter too much. There was a huge landslide on the highway I was going to take, including a 45 km backup. I could have been stuck in it. So now I am going to take a much easier, albeit boring route just to get to Cusco as quickly as possible. I'll take the mountains back to Lima another time.

Yea, it's here

Penny took me out shopping for dinner so I wouldn’t think about the repairs I had to do, and we had an awesome dinner of shepherd’s pie. We talked for hours afterward, and enjoyed some Argentinean wine. Penny has extensive computer skills and we chatted about how she might help the dorm. Awesome.

I suppose the drop-off was much more anticlimactic than I had anticipated, but I do have the bike. In another day I get to head off across Peru.

No comments: