Thursday, July 29, 2004


El Señor de Sipán

Finally made it to two places I've been wanting to go to for ages - and both on the same day! The museum Tumbas Reales de Sipán is in Lambayeque city, only 10 minutes down the road, yet we somehow hadn't been able to make it there before now. (It's funny how you take things on your doorstep for granted.) The museum is excellent - very modern, and was constructed to display the many treasures found during the recent excavation of the tomb of the Lord of Sipán, and other tombs, on the very same site. The tomb itself is reconstructed within the museum, and you can even see the 1500 year old bodies. Unfortunately, despite the dry conditions of the area, the remains are not in very good nick due to weighty ornamentation which was piled upon them and crushed their bones. El Señor de Sipán himself was a revered king with a godlike status, who lived and died in the Moche period (400 to 600 A.D.) The Moches, like the Egyptians, believed that earthy riches are still required after death... not to mention the four wives, child, watchman, army commander, bodyguard, llama, dog and snake that the Lord graciously took with him on his journey to the afterlife. The tombs were built on many different levels, and the occupants were absolutely heaped with jewellery, much of which consists of tiny beads of gold, turquoise and shell, which all required piecing together again into their original, and rather magnificent, forms. The results are awe-inspiring, and along with other well-preserved Moche items such as clay pots containing food provisions for the afterlife, they really build a image of what life was like at that time. The pots contained preserved samples of traditional foods of Perú, which, interestingly, are still staples today.

Well, after all that culture we needed to unwind. So, without further ado, we headed to a local wine bar I have been hankering to investigate. Peruvian wine is very sweet, and lacks any discernible body, thus we usually drink beer. But we found the bar had a reasonable stock of imported wines, and were well suited with the Argentinean red we selected. The bar played a pleasing and eclectic mix of those 90's anthems you would never play at home, but are secretly thrilled to hear (ie. Wonderwall, Bitter Sweet Symphony, Zombie), especially when drinking very, very far from home. The seats were comfortable, and there was a random life-sized Yoda in the corner. Superb! Another excellent find!

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