So, having spent the morning packing, we heard a call around 11.30am that we should meet in the theatre and await further details. But it seemed as though the port authority were not being terribly cooperative in allowing the tour company access to the ship and so it was a while before the twenty or so of us on our excursion were given the nod to go ashore.
The port of Callao is quite some way from the centre of Lima and yet again, we drove through some unprepossessing areas before they gradually turned into a more modern, world class city.
It seems as though Peruvians like their ice cream and their cold drinks because on every street corner stood an ice-cream salesman dressed head to toe in yellow (including a yellow hat) with his yellow bicycle. Cars stopped at the traffic lights would toot their horns and have them bring something over and many were doing a brisk trade.
We also noticed that most houses were behind high walls or secure fences like this one. Windows and doors were gated or barred and even some letterboxes had metal grilles over them. What to make of that?
We were still going to the archaeological museum first, but our delayed arrival had caused one or two changes of plan for later. Never mind – there was nothing we could do and we had such a great guide, Diana, we felt sure we were going to have a great afternoon.
So, walking down the street close to the museum, she pointed something out about the streets in Lima that made them different from the streets in almost every other city. Can you spot what it is? (I’ll add the answer at the end of this blog!)
The Museum was situated in a leafy square and was, we were told, in the building which had been the barn alongside Simon Bolivar’s home. Good grief, did that man go everywhere?!
Though the courtyard was pretty, this didn’t look like a world class museum, even though we had heard great reports of it.
Our views soon changed when we stepped inside, however. For now, I’ll simply offer a bit of an idea of what we were able to see but for my textile junkie friends, I’ll post some extra bits when I have a little longer.
Because, this museum had the most amazing collection of textiles from Paracas. These included this shawl like piece which wasn’t knitted (because knitting was only introduced to Peru when the Spanish arrived) but was constructed more like sprang.
The main treasures were the funerary cloths; the mummy wrappings if you like, which were layered up to thirty times one over the other and in this dry climate have been perfectly preserved. Trouble is, it’s expensive to open them up in a way which preserves the details, and so many remain in the vaults, awaiting funding and expertise before they are investigated further.
There were wonderful braids, some made on a backstrap loom, others finger woven.
And there were the knotted quipu too, which are deserving of a whole lot more research and investigation. Oh my, we were moving quickly and I was scribbling!
Oh, and I rather liked our guide’s silver jewellery too!
It was well past time for lunch and we were reminded that we were going to enjoy lunch and a horse show. A horse show? That’s strange…we wouldn’t normally have booked something like that. But no matter, we were hungry and as long as there was food involved!
We drove along the seafront where the surfers were out and the beach was full of families enjoying the sunshine.
Looked a bit like Bournemouth, we thought – or maybe Torquay!
Families were buying the same things as they do the world over, from shops selling brightly coloured inflatables, buckets and spades…and of course, ice cream, from men wearing yellow suits and riding yellow bicycles!
We arrived at the Hacienda Mamacona around 3pm and loved the setting amongst the trees. This beautiful place was a private home of a family renowned for breeding Paso horses and we were to learn a great deal more about them in the next couple of hours.
A traditional greeting awaited us – four beautiful horses and a couple dressed so colourfully.
So, settle back with Pisco sour in hand, nibble on some yummy deep fried corn sticks and I’ll continue in the next post.
Oh, I nearly forgot. Did you spot what made those Lima streets different? What was missing?
There are no gutters nor drainpipes on any of the buildings. In fact, there are no drains in the streets nor gratings or gulleys at the side of the pavement or in the road.
It doesn’t rain.
Well, actually, it does rain every few years when El Nino comes and drops a few feet of rain in one go, when it creates a huge problem and takes forever to sort out. But otherwise, it’s dry.