After a long long long long long long flight I touch down in Lima to visit Olga and to take my blog to an international level. Olga sent me a text to say that she had been delayed as her taxi had been involved in a little prang on the way to Lima airport. At the arrivals I was greeted by a crowd of screaming teenagers anticipating my coming to Lima. OK, they were there for for a celebrity who was jetting in so that certainly isn’t me, unless you include my striking viking popularity on the gay dating apps here. With data roaming switched on to text and find Olga I clocked up £13.76 in pings and woofs and by Jorge I certainly felt welcome in Lima. I know this as the next day my phone company sent me a text about expensive network usage. But I feel so popular suddenly. Once we managed to reconnect with her taxi, the driver introduced me to the absolute nightmare that is the road network in Lima. I thought Sicily was bad but this is another level again. This is the missing 10th circle of hell not included in Dante’s Inferno. Glad to arrive safely in one piece at Olga’s I attempt to sleep and reset my body clock to the new time zone.
Early the next morning we head out to visit Museo Larco. Lima’s premiere collection of pre columbian to Inca pottery along with some gold, silver and copper jewellery. However as you rock up to the ticket office the gardens are so resplendent that many visitors are outside enjoying to beauty of the natural world first. They have a terrific restaurant too where I sampled Peruvian cuisine before hitting the exhibition. What a treat and what a lot to learn. Like there wasn’t just the Incas and there weren’t Aztecs here at all!! I was especially stunned by the Pre-Ceramic Epoch (8000-2000BCE – as we are dealing with cultures that knew nothing of Christ I’m opting to use ‘Before Common Era’ for dating) and their stone spear heads in many colours.
Coming from the fishing town of Hastings the small fragment of cotton fishing net is stunning in its neatness of spun cotton and fine weave.
The galleries are newly completed just a few years ago and they are filled with such beautiful items. Much like many ancient cultures they developed extremely complex burial and funerary rituals. This stocky padded figure contains the remains of an infant wrapped in layers of fabric. When you consider the hours needed to spin and weave fabrics it seems a great extravagance to then wrap the dead in so much precious fabric.
As we know South America is rich in precious metals and all of the many different cultures that came and went used gold, silver and copper to create bold statements. Hats, crowns, nose plates, ear plates and necklaces.
Ceremonial knives, cups and pots were also created. The pots were also created in ceramic hence the terms pre and post ceramic era.
Ritual pots were created for every occasion and every deed, animal, food and pleasure. There is a glass shelved series of rooms that contains around 45,000 such ceramic pots all neatly catalogued in their forms and all individually made. They didn’t seem to simply turn out replicas. Like the Terracotta Army they are all individual creations. This series of showcase rooms is totally absorbing and hours even days could be lost looking at the vast variety on every shelf.
This Museum should be very high on the list of places to visit when in Lima. It is a crash course in the many ancient cultures that flourished and fell in the pre Spanish era of Peru.
With that in mind the next visit was itself interrupted by an actual crash when a driver pulled out of a side road into the main street and struck the car Olga and I were travelling in. The impact on our vehicle pushed us sideways across the road and meant the next place we got to see was the inside of an ambulance and then a clinic!
So what’s the first thing you do in an accident? Yep. Check everyone is ok and call the police. WRONG!!!! Stay in the car incase they get out and shoot you. Oh and call your insurance guy. He’ll dispatch a rider to assess the scene. He arrives and well, wouldn’t you know it they’re both insured with him. At first he says it is our driver’s fault until we each explain what happened. He stills tries to scare our driver into believing he’ll lose his claim though. Just mean and immediately creates tension on the scene. A very young and shy boy community officer arrives and says nothing. Cars have been moved now without any photographs taken as evidence. Another, older officer arrives. We realise we are not feeling fine and ask to leave the scene to attend a clinic. The insurer, following protocol calls for an ambulance to check us out. The real police arrive and so does the mobile medical unit and we are ushered into it.
Outside the husband of the driver arrives and so does the corruption. Along with new versions of the story. Police orders the medics to take us to the cheap hospital as he is on commission there rather than the extremely close expensive one. We are both given a shot of something large and slow and as usual my veins are impossible to find, the needle slips out, I shout ouch and blood starts flowing back into the syringe. I’d be so crap at shooting up or slamming. Then I’m squeezed and stretched into a neck brace. Olga and I both assuming the other is more badly hurt when in fact we both are.
Now I can’t turn my head to see the face of the top cop issuing warnings that if we pursue the need for a check up we will likely spend the weekend being interviewed down at the station. Our documentation, given to the medical team for ID is then taken and illegally shown to the husband. Asked whether I am really British and with Olga being a duel UK national top cop grudgingly accepts a change of pace to the plot line in this unfolding saga of corruption. We are then whisked away to the local, posh clinic to be checked over.
We are X-rayed but mine never turned-up so we were examined given anti-imflammatory, muscle relaxants and an ibuprofen gel each to see us through the coming days of ache. For some reason I was given more pills than Olga so I asked if like at the vets the dose was based on weight. Oh how this brought a late-in-the-working-day chuckle to the 8 pharmacists around us. It’s not because you’re a huge giant it’s because it’s your neck. You’ll see they laugh.
Later, like 4 hours later a little more of the cover-up plan was revealed. We were unable to leave without the police incident number being handed in so Olga called our driver to ask him to bring it or they will charge us. He was only now being given a blood test for alcohol levels. But more telling was that the driver of the other car, who I suspected was a tad sozzled from the start was also only being tested now. There was conveniently no unit in the area to take the blood test. For four hours. Not even the ambulance could obliged. Husband slips some wealth into the wheels of the law and a solution is written in favour of the god of cash. The latest in a long tradition of new civilisations and what they worship.
Before signing off I leave you back in the Museo Larco and its totally wonderful Erotic Pots. Scroll down if you love a knob or knobbing. They certainly did and everything was rutting to ensure the cycle of life continued. Humans, animals and even the dead are all at it. Its not rude, it’s wondrous. Pleasure for pleasure. Well I certainly loved seeing them.
I’m quite exhausted after all that. Need a lie down myself. Because my neck hurts. Whip-oof-lash!