A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Away

89 Days a Wanderer: Day Three

August 15, 2018

Because I had a plane to catch that night, it was up and at ’em on the early side on the 15th. I was one of the first people at the gates of Huaca Pucllana. It was only S/6 for a student, and that included the required tour and guide. The name means “second playground” in Quechua, the language of the Inca, but the ruins predate the Inca. They’re from the Limeños, who lived in Perú a long, long time ago. It was by far the best thing to do or see in Lima. We got to climb up to the top of the mud brick pyramid, and we even saw a few mummies. Wandering through the ruins was like walking through a different world, safe from the hustle and bustle of the main city, even if it was still visible.

Pottery was sacrificed when a small, unimportant building was being constructed, but when a temple or pyramid or palace was built, a human sacrifice was required. Usually this took the form of an unlucky princess. Los Limeños had a special preference for sacrificing princesses who weren’t quite right in the head, a sad but true fact in their galaxy–I mean, reality.

They still grow cotton (algodón), potatoes (patas), and various other crops on site. There’s even a section where guinea pigs, llamas, and alpacas live. The name of guinea pigs on a plate, cuy (rhymes with “we”), is the Quechua name for the animals. Quechua is, from what I understand, a very onomatopoeic language, and guinea pigs do make a sound that’s similar to their Quechua name.

A llama (close) and an alpaca (far).


At the top of that pyramid I felt amazing, but my day went downhill from there–literally and figuratively. After the hour tour, I used my map and the directions I’d looked up on the hostel wifi and jotted down to try to locate the mythic Entel. Supposedly, this was the place I needed to go to get a Peruvian SIM card. I stumbled across the Inca Market on my way there. When I travel to a new country, I have a tradition of purchasing a small sticker designed like that country’s flag and putting it on my water bottle. So far, I have the US, Mexico, Italy, and Switzerland (I still need to get ones for Canada and Bermuda). It took practically every stall in the market, but I did finally find a sticker that looks like the Peruvian flag. It cost me S/1 and my map, which I set down somewhere and lost. The good news was, I had another map in my pocket.


Entel was a nightmare. I was there for over two hours trying to sort things out because the SIM cards decided that they didn’t like me and flat out refused to register. By the time I/they figured it out and I managed to buy data from the pharmacy next store (odd, but that’s how it works in Perú), I barely had time to get back to my hostel and catch a taxi to the airport. The flight to Cusco was uneventful, but it was also dark so I didn’t get to see the Andes Mountains as we landed. It was the last flight of the night and they locked the gate behind me. I was the very last person to leave the airport, but the hostel I was staying at was only an hour and a half of walking away. The driver of the last taxi around tried to get me to pay S/20 for a ride, but I insisted that I’d walk it (using my newly functional Google Maps) for that price. I whittled him down to S/10 which I thought was pretty good, although I later found out that it should have only cost S/6 or so. Ah, well. I made it to the Inka Wild alive, and that’s more important.

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