October 8, 2005
I got up early again today to go to the Chavin Ruins. The bus terminal was very chaotic, which is the standard here. Different people kept telling me to wait before going to the other side of the terminal and frantically talking to other employees. I paid for a bus ticket the previous day, yet it didn't seem like they actually had a seat reserved for me. Finally, after waiting through thirty minutes of pandemonium, I got on a bus. Unfortunately, Morad got thrown on a different bus, but it was still quite interesting because my bus was full of 11- and 12-year-old kids.
In Peru, after finishing elementary school, kids get to go on a five-day-long field trip called "promotion." This group happened to be going to Chavin on the same day as me. They were a good group of kids who asked a lot of questions and quickly adopted me.
Our first stop was Lagoon Querococha , at an altitude of 3980 meters (13,058 feet). Next, we saw a natural rock formation that bore a striking resemblance to the map of Peru. Also on the way to Chavin, we went through the Kahuish Tunnel, which sits at an altitude of 4516 meters (14,186 feet).
The Chavin ruins aren't very spectacular looking at first, but look a little closer and they become more interesting. The Chavin culture used aqueducts to irrigate water, built their main plaza with exact right angles, and carved a four-meter-high rock known as the Lanzon de Chavin in a well-ventilated underground chamber. Add that to the fact that the Chavin existed 2000 years before the Aztecs, and the sight seems even more interesting.
After I finished visiting the ruins, I talked to the kids on my bus some more. They are from the Santa Ursula school in Chimbote, and I'm going to try to send them some postcards from my travels. If I met you that day and you can read English, I say "hi."
Later that night, I went out to some dance clubs in Huaraz. I think I'm the worst dancer in Latin America, but it was still fun. I met a lot of people that night and was reminded again of what a festive atmosphere Peru has. I got to bed at 4:30, but I left when the party was still going strong.
The complete photo album for this entry is here.