Vagabonding Field Reports: Peru is much more than Inca ruins
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen lately?
Visiting the Huaca del Sol ruins near Trujillo was fascinating and is a great reminder that there is a lot more to Peru than just Inca ruins. Indeed, the Huaca del Sol is around 1500 years old and well predates the Inca ruins which are, relatively, brand new. The Huaca del Sol has some incredible murals. This guy was probably the most fascinating image we captured while we toured around.
Describe a typical day:
Trujillo provides a wealth of ruins to explore, most of them within only a short bus ride away. Most of our days in Trujillo were spent either lounging in the square, walking the town or exploring the various ruins that surround the city.
Describe an interesting conversation you had with a local:
We met Edward in Trujillo. He was visiting Trujillo from Lima. As we were making a day trip out of town, I got to asking him about how his backpack got torn. He told me that he had been mugged in Lima one day and that the would be thieves had torn his backpack by grabbing and yanking on it. He said he had been carrying his backpack “like a local” instead of like a tourist. According to Edward, tourists always wear their backpack in the front and look terrified all the time so he didn’t want to look like a target by carrying his backpack on the front. He mentioned how his father was a police officer and how silly he thought tourists look when they walk around clutching at their backpacks. In the end, it didn’t matter. Local or not, he still got jumped for his bag.
The conversation was a good reminder that thieves don’t exclusively target tourists. I sometimes find fellow travellers have an “us” verses “them” mentality when it comes to street thefts. Edward’s experience is a good reminder that when it comes to crime, travellers aren’t the only target.
What do you like about where you are? Dislike?
Peru is a great place but its main attractions – Machu Picchu being the greatest of them all – are completely overrun with visitors. Visiting places like Trujillo gets you away from the crush of crowds and let you see fantastic ruins. It’s a great reminder that Peru is a lot more than just a collection of Inca ruins.
Peru is a beautiful place but it can be incredibly busy in places like Machu Picchu. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. Hopefully people will start to explore outside of the classic sights and visit some more of the undiscovered sights in Peru and give Machu Picchu a bit of a rest.
Describe a challenge you faced:
To get out to the Huacas del Sol ruines involves grabbing a bus from a roundabout on the outskirts of town. Finding the pickup location wasn’t easy however. Edward, being a “local”, felt the best approach to finding the pickup spot was to simply ask a local for directions. He then proceeded to ask one person after another for directions. Sometimes it seemed like he was asking for directions just for fun and to meet people. The downside was that every time he asked, he was given different and sometimes conflicting directions. In the end, we were able to find it based on the original map we were given at the tourism office in the center of town.
What new lesson did you learn?
Sometimes, asking locals for directions isn’t the best way to navigate. Its a great way to meet people but sometimes doesn’t get you where you want to go.
Continuing south to Bolivia.