Friday, April 6, 2012

Huaca Pucllana, Lima, Peru: The Ruins And A Red Balloon

A map in one hand, and a red balloon in the other. I led the way. Hubby lumbered by my side with our daughter in his arms. The stroll from Parque Kennedy where we had lunch (and snatched that free balloon) at some pollo a la brasa resto took twenty minutes. It could have been quicker if only the streets on this side of Lima's Miraflores District is clearly labeled.

We were cooped up for five days in our charming b&b room and I was itching to see what such affluent area has to offer beyond its swanky malls and awesome ceviche restaurants.

Huaca Pucllana in the heart of Miraflores, Peru.

We reached Huaca Pucllana's entrance at two in the afternoon. It was devoid of tourists. After paying 10 soles (almost $4) each for admission, we entered as one of the guides called out to us, "Buenas tardes! Spanish or English?". We initially ignored him for we usually prefer to wander at our own pace, but his persistent questioning made us finally mutter "English". He explained that us visitors are allowed to explore by ourselves, but won't be able to access several areas without a guide. Hence we agreed to join the guided tour. And well, he dropped the magic words "no extra fee".

Guided tour at no extra cost.

Tourists trickled in, and our party of nine was formed in quarter of an hour. Our guide directed us onto a wooden platform where he began his lecture. I gazed around the ruins. From where I stood, the archaeological site looked more capacious than I thought, and the pyramids seemed more imposing. Huaca Pucllana, Lima culture's old administrative headuarters and ceremonial center, was constructed around 500 AD with walls made from locally sourced adobe. Such material may not be the best option for an earthquake prone country, but Limeños devised a system on how to make it work.

Peering closely at the brilliantly engineered adobe walls.

The walls weren't built out of massive adobe slabs, instead, they consist of adobe bricks piled like dominoes and glued together by clay laid on top. The space between each brick cushions the earthquake's impact. As a result, each wall dances to the ground's trembling. An equally important factor that makes these structures sturdy is their pyramidal design. And by the way, it rarely rains in Lima, just to clear that picture of a melting wall you're envisioning in your head.

An area believed to be the ceremonial square.

From the platform, we moved on to the ceremonial square. Archaeologists believe that women were sacrificed here. And nope, not virgins, but mothers (based on the pelvic anatomy of excavated remains). Limeños during that time considered being sacrificed as an honor. I cringed at the thought and clutched our daughter tighter than usual. Was it for a bountiful harvest? Skipped that part. I scuttled away from the spot.

Atop the pyramid. Yep, we still had the balloon.

Our group then hiked up the pyramids, where we had a 360 view of the surrounding residential neighborhood. Man, how cool is it to see such ancient ruins every morning from your patio while sipping your cup of brew? Priceless, I reckon. Oh. Speaking of which, we saw a bunch of tourists doing so at the in-house restaurant. Next best thing, ei?

Depicting Wari culture's bundled mummies.

The guide pointed at the smaller walled sections of the site just beside the wooden platform which we didn't notice earlier. He said they could have been offices or even personal rooms of priests who governed the community. I wondered out loud, "How about the roofing?". "Local bamboo.", the guide promptly replied.

A pyramid's two faces, the restored and the ruined.

Besides the panoramic vista and models of Wari bundled mummies, atop the view point we saw the more deteriorated part of the pyramids, which looked more like an abandoned construction site than some significant ancient ruins. Here, we cautiously descended, then proceeded to the rear area of the complex where a few of Peru's endemic animals are caged. Alpaca, llama, and guinea pigs (all three are eaten in this country - excuse me while I shudder).

Balancing a baby and a balloon, inching my way down the pyramid.

On the way out, we passed by life-size statues that demonstrate how locals made adobe bricks. We briefly browsed the small museum as well. The souvenir shop for me ain't worth the look unless you feel like paying more for merchandise that are cheaply priced elsewhere. Dining in at the highly acclaimed Restaurant Huaca Pucllana would have been a great way to cap off our visit, but we weren't up for shelling out $10-15 each for a meal. We had a rad time nonetheless.


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Mhe-anne Ojeda said...
April 7, 2012 at 11:30 PM

another very interesting post Gay dear! i want to go to Lima Peru! and yes, I won't dread being offered coz i'm still a virgin haha...

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 7, 2012 at 11:35 PM

Haha! Ate Mhe-Anne, timely revelation, I must say.

Kate said...
April 8, 2012 at 4:30 AM

I love those walls! ang galing! Btw, Gay, are you guys going to Easter Island? waah! that is one of my dream destinations :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 8, 2012 at 6:22 AM

Unfortunately, not anytime soon, Kate.

Tin | The Average Jane said...
April 8, 2012 at 6:59 AM

I guess residents would eventually be jaded about their majestic view. Like everything else, it takes a new eye to appreciate the things we usually take forgranted. =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 8, 2012 at 9:06 AM

True. But there are also a handful of locals who are perpetually proud of their culture and or backyard :)

Dong Ho said...
April 8, 2012 at 10:45 AM

nice to see a large ruin site within the city area. kakatawa yung part ng ceremonial square sacrificial area.

joei ♥ said...
April 8, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Wooow! Love this post! And cute family photo (the one on top of the pyramid with the balloon ;))

Happy Easter!!

Riz said...
April 8, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Fantastic Views! I love the ruins and never seen mummies before. I love the family picture. :) very nice and baby wont let go of the Balloon!! Super Cute!!!

Rizalenio said...
April 8, 2012 at 9:08 PM

I learned a lot just by reading this post. Scary story re that ceremonial square. Looking at the last photo, I can say that Luna enjoyed this trip...or was it because of the red balloon? :)

Ingat sa mga byahe. :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 9, 2012 at 12:21 AM

Happy Easter too Joei!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 9, 2012 at 12:26 AM

Riz & Lito, yep... Luna's overjoyed cause of that balloon :) Didn't wanna let go.

Edmaration etc said...
April 9, 2012 at 6:14 AM

Wow ang generous naman ng tour guide without extra fee... Pagpalain sana siya. hehehe...
A very nice read about Peru, giving me an idea what to expect there :)

michi said...
April 9, 2012 at 7:46 AM

iniiwasan ko din yan mga tour guide but if there is no extra fee, why not... =)i like your family photo.

Francis Balgos said...
April 9, 2012 at 10:49 AM

I could very well understand why you would shudder at the thought of mothers being sacrificed.. Que horror for the mothers, but they would've viewed it differently.
Balancing a baby and a balloon while climbing down a steep pyramid, that's a feat. :)

violy vallester said...
April 9, 2012 at 11:04 AM

I love ruins! my bf is asking me to visit Peru, one of his friend visited this place too and she was so full of stories after the trip. I so love your travels! Looking forward to read more of your adventure! ;)

AJ said...
April 9, 2012 at 11:07 AM

I've always thought only virgins could be sacrificed...but mothers too?! Good thing you were born in this day and age. I see you as the sacrificial kind, hahaha!

So cool to have a pyramid in your neighborhood. We only have QC Memorial Circle in mine. :p

I hope Luna remembers this trip. I have a feeling her only memory of all this is that balloon. :))

Budget Biyahera said...
April 9, 2012 at 11:49 AM

The formations look interesting. =) Would also love to check this part of Peru if given the chance.. =)

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...
April 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

What a fascinating place to visit. Thanks for the insight on Lima. I would feel so uneasy at the ceremeonial square too. Adorable family picture!

MAry jane said...
April 9, 2012 at 2:08 PM

wow totally followed your blog dear!! hope you followed mine as well!
anyways, i love seeing families who travelled together!! like us!! those photos looks good it amazes how people still managed to revive those stones that was built long time ago! xx said...
April 9, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Nice post and pictures you got there. There are many ruins in Peru. I would love to see them all someday.

Elal Jane Lasola said...
April 9, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Wow. Balloon talaga at hindi payong ang nasa other hand. A very unique ruins that is beautiful in its own way. More travels and blessings to your family, Gay.

Regards to cutie Luna, again ;)

Traveling Morion said...
April 9, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Happy Easter ms gae! luv reading ur post... Peru is such an amazing place,,, i wonder qng pano na preserved ung mga mummies ay exposed,, pano pag umuulan?(kulet lng na tanong jeje),,,

athena said...
April 9, 2012 at 7:08 PM

the place looks enchanting. i wonder how hot it is there ?

joan | the backpack chronicles said...
April 9, 2012 at 9:30 PM

I cringed as well when I got to the part of human sacrifice and eating Llamas and guinea pigs. How can they eat such cute animals like guinea pigs? T_T

Joy Calipes-Felizardo said...
April 9, 2012 at 11:04 PM

The pyramids in Peru looked so mystifying!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 9, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Violy, Peru's uh-mazing! Hope you could go soon.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 9, 2012 at 11:12 PM

AJ, haha! I really am the sacrificial kind? :)

Mary Jane, following you too! Cheers to traveling mums.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Elal, never really traveled with an umbrella. Hihi.

Athena, it was summer when we were there but the temp's around 18 deg C. Lovely weather.

RM Bulseco said...
April 10, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Mmmmm Lima! And ang scary naman yung sacrifice nila noong unang panahon! Toinks

Cha said...
April 10, 2012 at 2:14 AM

Galeng naman ng idol ng lahat! Lima Peru ka naman ngayon! Lumalaki na ang baby mo ang cute!

Micamyx|Senyorita said...
April 10, 2012 at 4:02 AM

Ang init! Haha yun talaga naisip upon seeing the pics lol.

Kaaliw na may red balloon si Luna. At least kahit tumakbo siya dyan madali siya mahanap :D The sacrifice part is uh oh

Buti na lang ngayon tayo nabuhay na era =))

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 10, 2012 at 4:07 AM

Haha, aksheli Luna wasn't walking yet when we visited this place. Kaya effort umakyat-baba ng pyramid!

Bien Nonoy said...
April 10, 2012 at 6:54 AM

very beautiful place. Yet another dream place to visit.

msairrapingol said...
April 10, 2012 at 7:30 AM

nice photos. very interesting place. :)

rc gweniful said...
April 10, 2012 at 9:13 AM

i also travel with my daughter and too bad that it was just recently that i came across your blog. will read your past entries and get tips on how to travel with a kid in tow.

btw, this travel of yours, i would never dare go there with my kid. galing mo.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 10, 2012 at 9:17 AM

^^ Aww, thanks!

leira said...
April 10, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Great blog post.. I want to visit that place looks very interesting!

Gemma|My Dailies said...
April 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM

parang nsa center naka locate ung ruins? kasi mga buildings naka palibot.. galing no? ung mga ruins navisit namin dito sa new mexico, arizona, colorado e dadayuhin talaga! - parang liblib ba.. interesting place - Peru!.. great photos! love the red balloon ni baby mo :)

Ian | Going Places said...
April 10, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Huaca Pucllana was feastured in the defunct travel show, Pinoy Meets World when Peru was featured in one of the episodes. It was a historic site right in the city. Did you also visit Plaza de Armas in Peru? That place seems to be a famed public landmark.

ralph said...
April 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM

thanks for the informative and illustrative tour... galing naman... they preserved this sites. Yahweh bless.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 10, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Is that with Romy Garduce, Ian? Someone told me about that too.

blissfulguro said...
April 11, 2012 at 7:56 AM

^no gay... it's with paolo bediones and miriam quiambao...

oh how i love guides "at no extra fee" :)

marri said...
April 11, 2012 at 8:30 PM

just magnificent views of the land that was.
thousand year-old civilization right before your eyes.

Lea said...
April 13, 2012 at 6:43 AM

Gay, are you going to Macchu Picchu? :) Can't wait to read your blog about that , if you are. hehe..

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 13, 2012 at 9:01 PM

We did visit Machu Picchu :)

Lea said...
April 15, 2012 at 6:48 AM

Cool.. :) Waiting for your blog about it, excitedly. lol ... I hope to go there. So whatever you write about it will be taken as a guide. ha ha .

YANI said...
April 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM

Great adventure :) Seems you guys had fun passing by the ruins which were engineered perfectly by time :)

Spencer said...
April 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Looks like an amazing place. I had never heard of it before but it looks great.

Untied Escape said...
April 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Wow! superb view, plus the happy family travelling together. Luna is soooo cute!

Ian | Going Places said...
April 18, 2012 at 1:59 AM

@Gaye: Yup, its Romy Garduce who hosted that episode of Pinoy Meets World aired in December 2008. You've been to Machu Picchu?! Now I'm "inggit" to the nth level! haha...

Red Nomad OZ said...
April 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Great adventure you you - but even more amazing that RED balloon lasted the distance! Fascinating!!

lalalaPatricia said...
April 20, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Looks like you had fun! For sure, You had fun 'cause you spent it with your family! like the place too! <3

joy said...
April 21, 2012 at 4:35 PM

one of the reasons why i love to travel - to personally see and hold a culture's heritage :)

that was a wonderful place, it looks like it's very hot out there?

Karla said...
April 23, 2012 at 7:43 PM

It's nice how there are ruins in what seems to be a bustling city. Going to different places offers one a new one on things and it's great that you get to share this experience with your family. :) I shudder at the thought of mothers being sacrificed but I'm glad that it's all in the past now. Take care and looking forward to more of your adventures! ^___^

Dylan said...
May 4, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Though these sites are a must see, I just hate the fact that people were sacrificed there. That's just sad...

On the lighter side, Luna must have been very happy when she got that red balloon! I can only imagine her smile. :)

melo : out of town blog said...
May 7, 2012 at 9:13 PM

I hope to see and interview Luna soon:)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
May 7, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Meloooo! How about an interview in Vietnam?

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