Over the weekend we had a Fulbright field trip to the ruins of Pachacamac in Lima.
These particular ruins existed to worship the god Pachacamac. He was the god of creation, so he basically made the earth fertile but was also in charge of earthquakes – which was kind of a big deal. Incan structures were built in the shape of a trapezoid to make them earthquake-resistent.
The first structure we saw was called the Acllahuasi (aka the house of chosen women). The most beautiful women were given the “honor” of living here and making textiles. Oh, and also preparing themselves to be sacrificed. So there’s that.
Lima is technically a “coastal desert,” which may sound contradictory (because it sort of is) but it does make for some pretty cool landscapes.
In the picture above we were walking on the Templo de Sol or Temple of the Sun. Incan ruins are pretty much incomplete without a Templo de Sol. This is where they would make their sacrifices for Inti, the sun god (who also happens to be the father of Pachacamac.)
In the distance you can see two islands in the ocean. These are known as the Islands of Pachacamac, and the larger one is said to be the son of the first woman created by Pachacamac. Apparently when Pachacamac created the first man and woman, he forgot to provide them with food to survive. The woman pleaded to Inti for help, and he provided her with some fruit, but also impregnated her. Pachacamac wasn’t too happy about this, so he killed her son and buried the remains. The woman complained again to Inti, who gave her another son. The woman was later killed by Pachacamac, and the son was furious. He wanted to find Pachacamac, who he thought might be hiding near the ocean. He then ran towards the sea where he converted into the island you can see in the distance. Talk about family drama.
After our visit to the ruins, we went to a restaurant and had some typical Peruvian food. As an appetizer, we tried the typical dish of anticuchos. They look like this:
This is cow heart grilled with some type of sauce, an Afro-Peruvian dish. It was kind of like steak with barbecue sauce. Not bad as long as I reminded myself not to think about the fact that I was eating a heart.
I also had the opportunity to try chancho al palo. My students were very passionate about this dish and recommended that I try it. There was probably enough food on my plate to feed me for an entire week.
Our dinner even came with entertainment in the form of typical Peruvian dances. I am a little ashamed to admit that I was one of the lucky audience members who was pulled on stage to dance with them at the end.
When a real-life Peruvian Barbie doll asks you to dance with her, you just can’t say no.