Travel

Written March 18th, 2013

All is well. Definitely an experience. Just got my motorcycle today so I will be mobile in and out of the town. Everyone rides motorcycles here, it is the most efficient means of transportation. I got a 97 Honda gsl 125. its a veteran, but she’s a beauty. Does the job. The stars are so clear at night and I have yet to get a good good look because I am afraid of what creeps around the bushes at night, insects, snakes and anything else, but i’m sure that will pass. Got the ok from immigrations for the maximum stay of 183 days. The amazon and I will become acquainted.

Moto1Moto2


Written March 19th, 2013

I’m glad that I have been riding motorcycles for the last few years. The trails here are indeed challenging. It is so quiet at night… well… except for the myriad insects and animals making their calls and sounds throughout the night. It is a simple world here. Inhabited by mostly indigenous people from around Peru and mostly from the amazon area, Puerto Maldonado is a river port town which lies beside the river Tambopata, a tributary of the River Madre de Dios, which is a tributary itself of the grand Amazon River. I am living off the grid basically, using a solar powered panel at my friend’s home to charge what little I have, which is not often also. I wake up at 6 am and I help her out with what needs to be done around the house. In turn she houses me… feeds me… and shares with me her intimate knowledge of the Amazonian landscape, people, and plants which she has gathered over her twenty or so years of living here. A most definite fair trade I would say.

Selva1


 

Written March 22nd, 2013

About a week so far in the Peruvian Amazon. So much to see down here. The Amazon is indeed a vast area. It takes much time to get from one place to another because alot of it is undeveloped and thus there are singular roads to get from one place to another, or one simply takes a boat, but I am in one small area which is a town and I live outside of it. There’s a peculiar feeling when one travels alone. A feeling of wonder coupled with an independence and individuality which makes getting to know oneself an intimate experience. For it to be truly solitary though, I would have to be totally alone, not knowing anybody, but I am with a friend whom I met last year and she has been introducing me to people in the town, so that is nice for if it wasn’t for her impetus I may not have made the leap. One day though, I will indeed travel totally alone somewhere… I feel the travel bug’s sting coursing through my veins as I imagine a life of travel and discovery. I came here to discover a new way of living, to see how people live in a different part of the world, and also to peer deep into some of the great questions of life. I feel after I am done here, I shall be a different person not just from what I find, but from the experience of removing oneself totally from one’s typical atmosphere and delving into one entirely different. This is just the beginning of my travel life, the beginning of a new existence, yet another chapter in a great journey, the table of contents of which has it’s beginning in infinity, and its ending in the exact same.

Travel1


 

Written April 17th, 2013

Maldonado

I have now been in the Peruvian Amazon for one month. I have come across many new things. From trying out different fruits I never knew existed, to drinking drinks I didn’t know were made, to eating foods I’ve never tried, to seeing wildlife I’ve never come across. I am also learning some Spanish words and phrases I have never heard before as every country in latin america has their own little nuances in Spanish and sometimes by region in the country. Such populars as “chibolo” (young kid) to “asu madre” (like saying “damn!”) and that’s just what I can remember now, but there are many. I am glad I have driven motorcycles for the last 4 or so years. Probably the most challenging roads I have ever driven on in life are here and I feel like a motor cross champion as I plummet through the out of town dirt tracks filled with bumps and mud on my 97′ Honda 125 cc enduro style motorcycle. The people are friendly and nice for the most part but as I walk through the market, I am surprised by the hypnotic trance which that beloved electronic box of images, yes the television, seems to have on most people near it. Then again, that’s a world wide situation, I guess me and that little magical box have been divorced for years, hence my natural attention to such details as the aforementioned. I am meeting some wonderful people which are on a different software if you will, they run on an upgraded, virus free version of Life 2.0 while the usual system abiding populace runs a more downgraded version, making them more susceptible to hacking via establishment dictums. Sometimes… nay… oftentimes, I have to tell myself… you are in PERU… in the AMAZON. You’re alive. You’re here. And here I am. It feels like a surreal dream. Like feeling as if life is the absolute most realistic first person game one can ever play and every single action has such complex possibilities of turnouts that I argue whether or not the most advanced computers will ever be able to compute such an astronomical array of details. Such is the depth and scope which surrounds us. As my great grandfather told me once, something which escapes me at times but which I should remind myself always “live like today is the best day of your life but like tomorrow will be better”.

 


Written May 9th, 2014

 

Travel1
I witnessed this first hand when I was traveling through Peru in 2013.  The site where this photo above was taken is named Ollantaytambo.  As one visits ancient sites attributed wholly to the Inca, one begins to see there is a difference in the architecture…. amongst the roughly constructed stone work which is usually attributed to the Inca, one finds blocks which are crafted in such a way that they are fitted together without mortar… and one cannot fit a human hair in between them. It seems almost as if the Inca found much older sites and did more of a restorative work then construct them fully.  If Indeed the Inca did *all* of this work, it’s a bit strange why one should find such different levels of expertise.  I saw this at sites such as Ollantaytambo, Raqch’i, Machu Pichu, Tiwanaku and a couple of others. This *may* suggest the work of *perhaps* a much older civilization.  It is something worth looking into.  I am no archaeologist, just an amateur observer.

 

Travel2
A similar situation can be seen here…on the bottom there are bricks which are locked together without mortar…and on top of them is a different kind of structure. It *seems* that the Incas did restorative work on some of these sites.

 

Travel3
Again..the same can be seen at Machu Pichu. Large megalithic blocks of stone beside smaller blocks which are clearly inferior in construction.

 


 

Written July 11th, 2013

The longer I am in Peru and the more ancient structures i visit, the more i wonder of what marvellous happenings must have occurred here in hoary antiquity. Certainly, to me, it seems as if many structures here were constructed by the Inca. But there are some sites, that when seen, seem to be as if they were far more ancient and *found* by the Inca and then built around them for the architecture is vastly different and the stones far more sophisticated in craftsmanship then the rest of some of the other stones on the site. I have read that when Hernan Cortes, Spanish conquistador, first arrived in Mexico, the Aztec emperor Montezuma greeted him with great respect and handed him the crown, for they thought that here was Quetzacoatl, their great god returning. According to tales, It seems something similar happened here in Peru with the Incas, when Francisco Pizarro, another Spanish conquistador came and the Incas thought he was Viracocha, the ancient god and teacher who taught their ancestors long ago the arts and sciences of life. If these are only fake fables faux myths and misinterpretations, then i shall be a curious fool and this shall be at least an entertaining read. I shall once again as in a previous post cite Investigative journalist and author Graham Hancock, as he writes eloquently on this interesting mystery (forgive the misnomer “indian” when he refers to native people’s. I am only citing him verbatim. I’m sure he means no harm, just needs some corrections in his terms) …maybe one day i will follow in his footsteps and fully investigate these things myself, for what is life if not seasoned by the spices of wonder and mystery… :

“Through all the ancient legends of the peoples of the Andes stalked a tall, bearded, pale-skinned figure wrapped in a cloak of secrecy. And though he was known by many different names in many different places he was always recognizably the same figure: Viracocha, Foam of the Sea, a master of science and magic who wielded terrible weapons and who came in a time of chaos to set the world to rights. The same basic story was shared in many variants by all the peoples of the Andean region. It began with a vivid description of a terrifying period when the earth had been inundated by a great flood and plunged into darkness by the disappearance of the sun. Society had fallen into disorder, and the people suffered much hardship. Then: there suddenly appeared, coming from the south, a white man of large stature and authoritative demeanour. This man had such great power that he changed the hills into valleys and from the valleys made great hills, causing streams to flow from the living stone …

The early Spanish chronicler who recorded this tradition explained that it had been told to him by the Indians he had travelled among on his journeys in the Andes: And they heard it from their fathers, who in their turn had it from the old songs which were handed down from very ancient times … They say that this man travelled along the highland route to the north, working marvels as he went and that they never saw him again. They say that in many places he gave men instructions how they should live, speaking to them with great love and kindness and admonishing them to be good and to do no damage or injury one to another, but to love one another and show charity to all. In most places they name him Ticci Viracocha … Other names applied to the same figure included Huaracocha, Con, Con Ticci or Kon Tiki, Thunupa, Taapac, Tupaca and Illa. He was a scientist, an architect of surpassing skills, a sculptor and an engineer: .He caused terraces and fields to be formed on the steep sides of ravines, and sustaining walls to rise up and support them. He also made irrigating channels to flow … and he went in various directions, arranging many things.

“Viracocha was also a teacher and a healer and made himself helpful to people in need. It was said that wherever he passed, he healed all that were sick and restored sight to the blind.. This gentle, civilizing, superhuman, samaritan had another side to his nature, however. If his life were threatened, as it seems to have been on several occasions, he had the weapon of heavenly fire at his disposal:
Working great miracles by his words, he came to the district of the Canas and there, near a village called Cacha …the people rose up against him and threatened to stone him. They saw him sink to his knees and raise his hands to heaven as if beseeching aid in the peril which beset him. The Indians declare that thereupon they saw fire in the sky which seemed all around them. Full of fear, they approached him whom they had intended to kill and besought him to forgive them … Presently they saw that the fire was extinguished at his command, though stones were consumed by fire in such wise that large blocks could be lifted by hand as if they were cork. They narrate further that, leaving the place where this occurred, he came to the coast and there, holding his mantle, he went forth amidst the waves and was seen no more. And as he went they gave him the name Viracocha, which means .Foam of the Sea…

The legends were unanimous in their physical description of Viracocha. In his Suma y Narracion de los Incas, for example, Juan de Betanzos, a sixteenth-century Spanish chronicler, stated that according to the Indians,
he had been .a bearded man of tall stature clothed in a white robe which came down to his feet and which he wore belted at the waist..
Other descriptions, collected from many different and widely separated Andean peoples, all seemed to identify the same enigmatic individual. According to one he was:

A bearded man of medium height dressed in a rather long cloak … He was past his prime, with grey hair, and lean. He walked with a staff and addressed the natives with love, calling them his sons and daughters. As he traversed all the land he worked miracles. He healed the sick by touch. He spoke every tongue even better than the natives. They called him Thunupa or Tarpaca, Viracocha-rapacha or Pachaccan …
In one legend Thunupa-Viracocha was said to have been a white man of large stature, whose air and person aroused great respect and veneration.. In another he was described as .a white man of august appearance, blue-eyed, bearded, without headgear and wearing a cusma, a jerkin or sleeveless shirt reaching to the knees.. In yet another, which seemed to refer to a later phase of his life, he was revered as .a wise counsellor in matters of state. and depicted as an old man with a beard and long hair wearing a long tunic.

Above all else, Viracocha was remembered in the legends as a teacher. Before his coming, it was said, .men lived in a condition of disorder, many went naked like savages; they had no houses or other dwellings than caves, and from these they went forth to gather whatever they could find to eat in the countryside..
Viracocha was credited with changing all this and with initiating the long-lost golden age which later generations looked back on with
nostalgia. All the legends agreed, furthermore, that he had carried out his civilizing mission with great kindness and as far as possible had abjured the use of force: careful instruction and personal example had been the main methods used to equip the people with the techniques and knowledge necessary for a cultured and productive life. In particular, he was remembered for bringing to Peru such varied skills as medicine, metallurgy, farming, animal husbandry, the art of writing (said by the Incas to have been introduced by Viracocha but later forgotten), and a sophisticated understanding of the principles of engineering and architecture.

I had already been impressed by the quality of Inca stonework in Cuzco. As my research in the old town continued, however, I was surprised to discover that by no means all the so-called Inca masonry could be attributed with any degree of archaeological certainty to the Incas. It was true that they had been masters in the manipulation of stone, and many monuments in the Cuzco area were indisputably their work. It seemed, however, that some of the more remarkable structures routinely attributed to them could have been erected by earlier civilizations; the evidence suggested that the Incas had often functioned as the restorers of these structures rather than their original builders.

The same appeared to be true of the highly developed system of roads connecting the far-flung parts of the Inca empire. The reader will recall that these roads took the form of parallel highways running north to south, one along the coast and the other through the Andes. All in all more than 15,000 miles of surfaced tracks had been in regular and efficient use before the time of the Spanish conquest, and I had assumed that the Incas had been responsible for all of them. I now learned that it was much more likely that they had inherited the system. Their role had been to restore, maintain and unify a pre-existing network. Indeed, though it was not often admitted, no expert could safely estimate how old these incredible highways were or who had built them. The mystery was deepened by local traditions which stated not only that the road system and the sophisticated architecture had been ancient in the time of the Incas, but that both were the work of white, auburn-haired men. who had lived thousands of years earlier. One legend described Viracocha as being accompanied by messengers of two kinds, faithful soldiers (huaminca) and shining ones (hayhuaypanti).
Their role was to carry their lord’s message to every part of the world.. Elsewhere there were phrases such as: Con Ticci returned … with a number of attendants; Con Ticci then summoned his followers, who were called viracocha; Con Ticci commanded all but two of the viracocha to go east …. ; .There came forth from a lake a Lord named Con Ticci Viracocha bringing with him a certain number of people …. ; .Thus those viracochas went off to the various districts which Viracocha had indicated
for them…”

 

Vira1
On this mountain which lies in front of the ruins named Ollantaytambo, a sculpture can be seen. It is the supposed face of Viracocha, the ancient god of the Incas. Some say this face has a beard on its bottom and a crown on its head. Of course, interpretations can be personal and individual.

 

Vira2
This is a statue of Viracocha and his two legendary followers according to tales. It lies in Tihuanaco, which is in Lake Titicaca and is said to be home of the Incas according to their creation stories and also home to some very curious structures which have some similarities to some found in Ollantaytambo.

 

 

Vira3
A close up of the previous statue.  Note what appears to be a beard.  This is not a trait prevalent in native Andean people.

 

Vira4
This is a statue of Bochica, a figure with similar stories to Viracocha in native Columbian legends.

 

Vira5
The above picture is self explanatory.

 

Vira6
Structures at the amazing and interesting Puma Punku.  I did not take this photograph.

 

Vira7
I took this photograph at Ollantaytambo.  Note the large stone upright in comparison to the smaller stones in front of it.  The style of architecture and size of stone is markedly different.

 

Vira8
I took this photograph at Ollantaytambo. Again, note the difference in building styles.

Vira9
This is from Ollantaytambo. Here, my curiosity peaks as I see an enormous block sitting on smaller ones. This here is an anomaly to me because if the Inca did not build this, then how did they get this large stone on top of the smaller ones. The architecture is different. I wonder.

 

Vira10
The blocks are so immense… one can see from the comparison of the two ladies sitting on the block.

 

Vira11
If the Incas built this site, then why doesnt the entire site look like these two huge blocks here?  Conventional archaeologists say that this is because the finer structures were built for religious reasons.  Whether this is the case or not, the differences in architectural design are astounding and beg the question: But does that really explain it all?

 

 

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