Ancient artefacts aplenty as Dr Anne Small flies to Peru
Dr Anne Small’s latest blog updates us as she spends her weekend discovering Peruvian culture on her way to the Amazon –
Saturday – Havana to Lima
Despite the jet being a reasonable size, the flight being smooth, most people clapped and cheered when we arrived in Lima, Peru, after the 5 hour flight – not sure why the clapping.
Sunday – Lima, Peru
We had a tour of a private museum of Rafael Larco Herrera – who had started collecting artefacts in 1926. This is a memorable visit because the pottery collection is amazing. The Incas, the Pre-Incas told their history in pottery pieces so these were hundreds of pieces of people’s heads – every head was different, different races, different expressions – like the faces of the entombed warriors in Xian, China.
There are huge gold and copper headdresses, nose pieces, breast bone pieces, earrings which were found in tombs that they made which were huge because they thought that the kings became large Gods when they died, so they needed very large jewellery.
There is a small piece of embroidery that has the world record for the number of threads per square inch – 395!
Most memorable is their erotic section!! Pieces representing male/female sexual positions – sexual positions ‘not for reproduction’, sexual positions ‘for pleasuring’, midwife helping a woman to give birth … all representations of male-female genital organs, figures representing male homosexuality, bestiality and necrophilia!!! The pre Incas did it all.
The allure and shimmer of grandiose ancient Incan jewellery, housed at the private museum Rafael Larco Herrera
Lima to Iquitos to Nauta
We flew 90 minutes to Iquitos – Lima being overcast and 17 degrees C, Iquitos being humid and 26 degrees C. We then drove almost two hours to Nauta where the National Geographic boat Delfin was moored.
The small bus trip through the lush, very tropical countryside was interesting. Just a few villages on the way – wooden buildings with thatched or tin roofs mainly – some houses were small and would not be as large as the Health Centre’s waiting room. Iquitos is the city of motorcycles and moto-cars – three-wheeled open motorped bicycles with a small carriage to carry two of me or five of the small Peruvians. There were many children playing and all looked happy playing on the pavement in front of their house on the soccer fields. There were some girls playing volleyball and soccer.
The people rent the moto-cars and buses and charge for their services so they can make money. The guide said they were self-sufficient in what they grow, for eg – rice, potatoes and lots of fruit. There were large chicken coups (as big as our small warehouse with thatched roof and walls – with chickens roaming the grounds, then they are put back in their coups at night. There was a heavy tropical downpour of rain for 15 minutes and then it was gone.
Finally we arrived in Nauta to join the boat, the Delphin II, which was to be our home for the next seven days – a beautiful boat with 28 guests.
Next up – sailing the Amazon!
Dr Anne Small