Last Friday, I was lucky enough to the University close for the annual work party. So I took advantage of the day, and I went with a visiting friend to Huaca Pucllana, which are a set of Inca ruins in the heart of Lima (specifically San Isidro).  We took the English speaking tour with a couple of Australians (who, according to several Peruvians, have a very difficult accent to understand).  The tour lasted about1 hour, and we learned a little about how the Incas worshipped the ocean, sacrificed women and children and buried them in these gigantic pyramids made from adobe.

Inside these ruins they also have a collection of Peruvian plants and animals such as the alpaca and llama. In the picture, the alpacas are brown and llamas are white (notice the size difference).

There were also a collection of guinea pigs (el cuy), because, as I am sure you have all heard the rumor, Incas (and Peruvians) eat the guinea pig. They serve it on a spit, whole, including the head. I have heard it was gamey, similiar to rabbit, but I have yet to try it (I am open to the idea…I will try almost anything once).

They also had some crops to show what the Incas had and used, such as lucuma, a very popular Peruvian fruit used to make desserts and ice creams. To me, it tastes like walnuts or pecans, and I am not a huge fan of either of those things, so lucuma is not high on my most-delicious-Peruvian-foods list, however my husband really, really enjoys the lucuma.

 

Lucuma

Some of the other plants used by the Incas were purple corn (used to make chicha morada), camu camu, cherry tomatoes and cacti. 

 

 

 

 

 This particular cacti, San Pedro cactus, was used (maybe still is?) by shamen to induce a hallucinogenic state…however, if made incorrectly, it is not longer a hallucinogenic, it will kill you.

Of course one of my favorite things was to meet the guard dogs, which were the Peruvian hairless dogs. Really, they have a face only a mother (and me!) could love, but I petted them regardless. One of them, as you can see in these pictures, looked like Spike from Gremlins!. His name was Brujo, meaning `shaman`or `male witch.`

It was a fascinating trip. I´m glad I had the chance to venture over there an explore. I hope to do it again soon!

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