On a Sunday, we decided to check out some ancient history. We ventured out to Chan Chan and Huaca de la Luna. The first thing you do is drive through many small towns & out of nowhere, you make a turn down a random, unmarked alley. There is no turn lane, no sign, no clue… how did we find this place? Then you see the bases of the temples as the tops are merely clouds of dust and haze. After paying 11/soles per person we met our lovely guide, Ineth.
She spoke some English with quite a tranquilizing quality about it. Her speech was hypnotic in demeanor, rolling her r’s, thinking about each syllable, each phrase, each word.
Huaca de la luna was the ancient Moche‘s temple of the moon. Across the way lies the temple of the sun, not open to the public, due to some explorers untimely deaths in its cavernous depths. This is a solemn place with some dark energy. People were sacrificed here. The Moche would sacrifice only the strongest of warriors, who they would give a strong hallucinogenic & psychoactive drug to prior to their beheading. After the decapitation, their bodies would be displayed for all to see. The vultures would send message to the gods of the recent sacrifice. In return, the gods stopped the rains, hypothetically, at least that was the goal.
However, an interesting side note is the fact that the place used to be warm, sunny and bright. Five years ago it all changed. Now a gloomy cloud covering hangs low all around, accompanied by damp, cool & wet weather. Could this perhaps be due to a lack of modern sacrifices? One will never know. After leaving the magical, mysterious temple, we headed to Huaca de Iris, the rainbow temple. This temple is located smack dab in the middle of Trujillo’s urban sprawl.
We were greeted by the most chipper Peruvian hairless dog, Toby. His skin felt like a greasy gorilla’s cheek, leathery and smooth with some coarse, wiry, yellowish-orange hairs strewn randomly about. The rainbow temple is more of a modern day government headquarters, not too much to see, other than an amazing view of the city and the repeated rainbow dragon monolith. From here we checked out the Chan Chan museum and built up some knowledge, which I will now share with you…
Chan Chan was the home of the Chimu empire; a nine square mile adobe structure, which has high walls and has stood the test of time. Lining the thirty foot high walls are carvings of long lines, said to depict waves. The ocean was the Chimu’s life source, everything came from the sea. They worshiped the ocean, the waves, and the creatures within.
The most astounding part of Chanskies, as we endearingly call her, was a surprise in the center. Like a good old fashioned tootsie pop… the outside is rather monotonous, same color, same texture & then a sweet treat in the middle, unexpected (if one were not aware)… behold the sunken gardens!
In this desert scene, the green reeds and duck filled deep water reservoir seemed to be a mirage. But no, real it is, due to ancient irrigation techniques. Inside the reservoir is a lush verdant paradise laced with sprawling lotus conglomerates, full of water and totora or reeds.