Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Friday, November 6, 2009

Another cool ancient culture and birds

Our camera, which is supposed to be waterproof and unbreakable, somehow managed to break in my pocket. The screen no longer functions and it seems to have some other problems, which are hopefully all being repaired as I write this. It means we have a shortage of pictures, though, and some of them look like they were taken by a two year old. In any case, here is what we could manage.

This is the Temple of the Sun of the Moche people in Northern Peru (near Trujillo). It was built around 600AD and was apparently the biggest manmade structure in the Americas for a long time. Basically, these people mastered irrigation and fish farming, so life was easy. As a result, they spent all their free time building cool stuff or making good ceramics and jewellery. The excavation of this Temple and the nearby Temple of the Moon is completely privately funded, so it is officially sponsored by a beer company...
Every hundred years or so, a new ruler would come along and decide to build a bigger, better pyramid. They would just fill in the old one with bricks and build on top of it. This means that many of the lower levels were really well preserved once they pulled all the bricks out.

In the Moche culture, you were taxed in bricks. Every family had to make and give a certain number of bricks to the government each year. Because they had no written language, each family would mark its bricks in some way. Some were boring and just used an X. Some had elaborate designs. We liked the smiley face.

This detailed fresco tells the story of the Moches and was on the outside of one of the pyramids. One of the more interesting parts is that they would sacrifice humans when El Nino screwed up the climate. However, unlike the Incas who would sacrifice children, the Moches would let prisoners volunteer to fight in teams of two. The winners got to go free and the losers were sacrificed to the gods. Seems much more reasonable.

Also in the above is the Peruvian Hairless dog (which actually has a bit of hair). They are still popular and considered to have some sort of mystical powers that allow them to heal people. Here is one healing whatever might ail Tara:

After this, we were off to Puerto Lopez in Ecuador. This turned out to be a rough trip. We made it into Ecuador and took a bus to Guayquil. Unknown to us, Ecuador had a four day holiday weekend and it was one of the biggest travel weekends of the year. When we got to Guayquil, it was the busiest bus station we had ever seen. Every line had a couple hundred people waiting to buy tickets. The line we wanted had even more. So, after waiting in line for about an hour and not moving an inch, we broke down and paid the exorbitant sum of $50 to a taxi to take us two hours away to a town where we could catch a local bus. The local bus had about 300 people crammed in, and Tara calls it the party bus due to the loud salsa music being played on it.

Once we made it to Puerto Lopez, it was wet and muddy. Here is the main street. The mud did not win Tara's heart, but the city was much nicer the next day after it had dried out.

Now you can really see the broken camera impact, which is too bad because the pictures would otherwise be nice. We visited Isla de la Plata, which is a small island off the coast where you can find blue footed boobies, red footed boobies, banded boobies, and other inappropriately named birds. Blue footed boobies are definitely one of the best birds anywhere, so it is a shame that they are hard to see in this photo.

Red footed boobies mostly stay in the trees. Here is one where you can just about see the red feet. They aren't as fun looking as blue footed, but still neat.
After that, we were off to Quito. We'll try to put a few of those pictures in our next post.


  1. Okay. I'll say it.

    You went all the way to South America just to see boobies??!?


  2. Were the blue boobies really Smurfs?
    Can't wait to hear the horse story AT LEAST a 100 more times!!!!!!!!!!!!
    My 5th grade boys are gonna love this post!