Our first stop in Peru was a city called Chiclayo (and Lambayeque which is a bordering region). The city itself isn´t too special, but it does have some nice cathedrals and a massive market, which is where we spent most of our time. Probably the best thing about Chiclayo is that its people rarely see foreigners, so one gets a lot of interesting reactions from the locals when walking down the streets. Funny enough, because the people don´t see many outsiders, they can´t really distinguish between people from other parts of the world, so they just call all `strange´ looking people ´chino` (Chinese), which couldn´t be further from the truth in our case. The reaction from the locals seemed to be amplified in our case because I (Tyrone) am about a foot and a half taller than every living soul in South America, and both Lydia and I are very blond!
Two stories come to mind on this point. First, when walking through the industrial section of the market (where there are auto parts, tools, etc. for sale), about 50 people spontaneously and simultaneously started doing the whoop whooo whistle for Lydia. It was as if a naked playmate had fallen from the sky and landed in a construction workers conference in the Bronx. Not to be out done, when we then decided to check out the shoe section of the market for Lydia (an area of the market ran by the women of Chiclayo), there, a line of about 15 girls started smiling, staring, clapping, waving, and making rather forward comments about my eyes and such. There may have even been a couple of proposals! On top of the come-ons, we also managed to scare quite a few children, due to our giant `gringo-ness` (I may have helped by making stomping gestures towards them). A trip to the Chiclayo market is definitely a good time if you are in need of attention or an ego-boost!
Another interesting thing about the Chiclayo market was that they had a section for Brujas (witches)! There you could fill your boots with various types of dried animal parts, voodoo dolls, and my favorite, the San Pedro cactus (a hallucinogenic with the ´minor´ side effects of uncontrollable diarrhea and projectile vomiting - we decided to pass). Unfortunately, we did not get any pictures of the market, as we didn´t want to chance offending a witch doctor (we´ve all seen Beetlejuice):
In the outer regions of Chiclayo, there are also a good number of museums and the first round of ancient Peruvian ruins, including the Sipan museum ruins and pictured below:
The Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan (it took all my strength to not try to run up the side of the building).
A ceremonial mask found inside the museo Bruning.
Pictured above, the Gene Simmons of the Chimu empire.
After touring the Museo Bruning, a mock-chief put on a little show for us and allowed for us to take a picture with him.
A nice pair of hooters outside of the Sipan ruins.
The Sipan ruins themselves were a little disappointing, as we were only allowed to tour a small section (and were eaten alive by mosquitoes whilst doing so).
Still, there were some beautifully crafted sand carvings in the walls of the excavated ruins.
In all, Chiclayo is a great way to break up the LOOOOOOOOOOONG drag of road from Ecuador into Peru!