Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Final Countdown

In just a couple or hours I shall be stepping abourd a plane and making my way back to England. This fills me with a mixture of sadness and excitement, (I can here a bacon sandwich calling my name from across the oceans). However, my month here in Peru has been one of the best of my life and I will miss Nepeña like a lost friend.

My last weekend was incredibly busy as on Friday myself and 4 girl friends made our way to Trujillo for a saunter and a large plate of meat. We satyed in a hostal who promised our bags would remain safe as they were in the protection of the good Lord (in fact they just sat in a corner next to the front desk in obvious view). We had a fantastic meal in a restaurant named "Rustica" which contained sever mermaids and an upside down car. The bathrooms presented its viewers with prints of topless celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise which was a rather nice surprise. The onlly unfortunate event was when a fellow archaeologist, Holly, ordered a plate of intestines thinking it was just normal meat.

On Saturday night we returend home and spent the evening in Nepeña´s fine club where I attempted (and failed) to dance a bit of Salsa. On Sunday, we made our way to the beautiful outdoor restaurant where I exhausted myself playing football and volleyball (as well as almost getting knocked out by said volleyball).

Monday was my final day on site and I was moved to the new sector where we uncovered some lovely sections of floor as well as several ceramic faces. The heat from the sun was especially vicious and I had to rest for a while as the mountains began to spin around me. At the end of the day, the majority of the group made their way to the bar where we played a giant game of uno which lasted an hour before people began to completely despair.

And so the next morning came and I was forced to say my tearful goodbyes. I am genuinely attached the people who I have met in nepeña and it was a great pain to tear myself away from them and the village itself. I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to dig with Carlos and Jorge at Cerro Castillo and hope to return next year and continue to excavate at such a new and exciting site.

This is my final adios,

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Just a Quick Note

Hi there,

This is just a quick list of (material or food-related) things which I am currently craving so soon before I depart back to soggy England:

Diet coke

Bacon Sarnie



This weekend I will be travelling to Trujillo to visit Huaca de la Luna again and also to do a little shopping. I am very much looking forward to buying myself some celebratory non-Peruvian chocolate but after the weekend I have one day left in the field and this is tragic. Today I found such excitements as the bottem of a clay statue (aka a pair of feet) and thrillingly a piece of fabric which still maintained some of its colouring and patterning which is rather rare!

Now I must depart alas as I am in desperate need of a shower (it is amazing how flithy one can get while out excavating)!

Adios, Lucy

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Pots and Pisco


This has been one hell of a week (and a bit due to not writing for a while) and I will only include the interesting bits! Last weekend I rediscovered my competitive side while playing volleyball and football at a beautiful restaurant on the edge of Nepeña which hosted a menagerie or random animals including pigs, parrots and (bastard) mosquitoes. It somehow escaped my mind that football does not require you to tackle people by kicking them in the shins then stealing the ball. I learnt one important lesson that day: to abstain from sports for at least 30 minutes after eating massive amounts of pork.

In the evening we donned our dancing shoes (trainers) and went to Nepeña´s only club which turned out to be a bit of a riot. The music was mostly salsa and also the slightly bizarre Peruvian electro pop which is shockingly catchy and terrible. We were reasonably sober yet somehow the next day the photos suggested otherwise...I am fortunate to own said drunken photos and will therefore for have useful amo against any of my fellow club goers if they wish to cause me grief (which by the way they do).

They next day we took a collectivo to San Isidro market but unfortunately due to our later than normal wakeup time we managed to miss said market. I bought some peaches just so it wasnt a complete waste of time.

This week has hosted the most exciting archaeological finds in Cerro Castillo. The workers have uncovered several complete Chimu (a bit later than the Moche) pots which are seriously cool. I have uncovered several bits of llama (bones) and ceramic sheards which have caused me great excitement. Also this week, I had a chance to take part in labs which involves washing the ceramic peices, marking them and taking photographs.

Sadly, time is up for most of the first group and they are as I speak travelling back to their various homes (or exploring other parts of Peru). Due to the fact I arrived at an awkward time I still look forward to another week and 2 days here. They were a fantastic group of people and they are sorely missed. However, the new lot are to arrive over the next week so it will be exciting to meet some new people.

I must aller as in a few mintues we shall be setting up the home cinema to view the rollocking adventure of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!

Adios for now, Lucy

Thursday, 22 July 2010

A week most eventful and dust-ridden

This particular entry is somewhat belated due to the frustrating speed at which the computers run in Nepena!

Last friday we were up at the break of Dawn to get a bus to Trujillo, a traditional and bustling town which holds the two most famous Moche temples in Peru: Huaca de la Luna (temple of the Moon) and Huaca del sol (Temple of the sun). Our first visit was to the museum of Huaca de la luna which had opened only a few weeks before. The museum is designed in way that you can walk around on a kind of self-tour (the info is in both Spanish and English thankfully) and one of the great attractions is every peice of beautifully crafted Moche pottery displayed is the original and not a copy. For those who love to wander through the bewitching corridors of the past, this is a gem of a museum. Next we launched ourselves up the hill to the temple itself and I speak for every member of our tour when I say it was a site for sore eyes: layer upon layer of painted murals signifying different stages in the Moche culture. As we walked through the temple, we gazed in awe at the depictions of war, death, deities and perhaps most inticingly, human sacrifice. Excavation at the temple continues and there are still many hidden treasures to be uncovered.

Several hours later we found ourselves at a hostel near Sipan which hosted a fancy dress party for our group and another bunch of archaeologists which was (as you can imagine) rioutous fun. As the Mad Hatter I felt I must live up to my name...

The next day we got a bus to Chiclayo where we made our way to the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum located in Lambayeque. This was an enormous museum constructed in the shape of a typical Moche temple, and the inside hosted huge range of Moche artefacts. Feeling a little sensitive from the party the night before, my legs turned to jelly as we walked through what felt like hundreds of lavishly decorated rooms filled with amazing Moche artefacts found in several royal tombs. The place was perhaps a little over the top, but it was certainly fascinating for the lovers of Moche art and also for the magpies out there with a prediliction for gold jewellery.

The weekend of exploration came to an end and we made our long way back to Chimbote, city of fish (the smell is overpowering!) We were given the day off on monday in order to recover from the excitements of the weekend, and I spent some part of the day washing shards of ceramic found on the dig. This turned out to be a rather rewarding experience as now the inch of dust had been removed from the sheards, images and decoration appeard on several of ther peices, and I came to the realisation that I was the first to see the clean surface in over a thousand years.

These last three days have been speant digging, brushing, measuring, drawing and unfortuantely, shovelling! We are now starting to scratch the surface of the Moche site and I am excited to discover what we will find. In other news, we celebrated the birthday of one of our beloved members of the dig with Sangria, cake and a bizarre mixture of music from me. All in all, this week has been one of hard work and slightly less agressive drinking.


Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Dig

Hey there,

This is the second day I have been out on the archaeological dig in the Nepena Valley near Chimbote. There is dust everywhere with a side dish of extra dust but it is beutiful and exciting. So far havi}e found nothing significant except a few shards of ceramics and possibly a bead (or a dead bug). My fellow diggers are from all over the shop (Belgium,Quebec, America) and thats just a selection. Everyone is very friendly and fun and although it has only been just over 24 hours I feel as if I have been here for weeks.

I am sharing a room with 5 other females and the bunk beds feel as if they collapse any minute but I managed to sleep like a log on my first night. Also found a spider on my wash sponge which was less than agreable.

I am going to make this a short one as I must away to a meeting! The weekend to come is full to the brim with various activities including a fancy dress party so I am sure I will have much to report on the next instalment of my hopefully "non yah" account of my time here.

Bye for now, Lucy

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Lost Before 10am

Hola from Lima!

This is technically my second day in Lima although the first one does not really count as I spent the large part of the day with my derriere attached to a plane seat. I will not bore you with the details but needless to say, the flight was long and the films were many. I was fortunate enough to meet a bunch of really friendly girls on the plane who were off to travel and/or teach. It was a comfort to know that several of them were as unprepared Spanish speaking-wise as I was.

The B&B I stayed in last night, the Casa Bella in Las Flores, was perfect: the room was big and comfortable, the shower was viciously powerful (just what you need after a lllllllong flight) and most importantly, everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Thanks to their hospitality I felt my jitters fade away.

Today, I began the morning with a fruity breakfast and a drink which tasted like the syrup that accompanies tinned peaches. I then went to exchange some money, and this is where a sense of direction would really have come in useful. I found the place with ease but then the shock of that wiped my memory and I couldn´t remember how to get back. All the roads seemed very similar and needless to say I walked in every direction possible until my last port of call which turned out to be correct.

Later on, I made my way to Larcomar, a picturesque shopping centre on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Alas, I was not really in the mood for retail therapy but fortunately the scenary was striking enough to avert my attention.

In the afternoon, it was suggested I visit Lima´s famous ´Convento de San Francisco´ and upon entering the cathedral my blood went cold and and a feeling of unsurpassed awe struck my heart. I have visited several cathedrals in my life, but nothing matched the atmosphere of this one. Pardon the oxmoron but the place seemed to be alive with dead, lamenting spirits. One staircase led to an underground chamber which contained a glass case full of aged human skulls and a number of child-sized graves. Standing there alone, my heart rate seemed to increase to the air speed velocity of an African swallow.

Lima has given me a wonderful introduction to Peru and hopefully, things will only get better.


Sunday, 11 July 2010

One Day Before Lift Off

In less than 24 hours, I, Lucy Woods, habitual teenager and organiser non-extrodinaire, shall be embarking on my first big adventure: an archaeological dig near the city of Chimbote in the Ancash region of Peru (or Perah for those who are fans of The Unexpected Items.) We will be searching for artefacts from the elusive Moche culture, whom lived and gallivanted from around AD 100 to AD 800. In terms of artistic merit, the moche specialised in ceramics and wall murals. For those with a more sadistic nature, their appeal may be saught in the practice of human sacrifice (human blood was consumed in a sacrificial cup...charming).

Packing as usual has been a nightmare and I am convinced I shall forget only the most vital items. Such is my life! However, there is much to look forward to and I shall be in Peru for just under a month, time enough I hope to find something juicy and exciting.

In Peru, the people speak Latin-American Spanish, a language I am largely unfamiliar with. However, I have a 14 hour flight in which I hope to memorise my phrase book.

For now I will depart but I shall return once I have settled in at my accomodation (somewhat unsure what to expect)

Adios, Lucy