Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mummies and Coffee

Two mummies.
"If you look at death long enough, does
death look back at you?"
Get it? 
After leaving the Cloud City and saying good bye to Tobi and Dante, I followed my map, the one the French older couple left me. (You can read about them here: Conversations with the World). On the map - the lady marked an "X" on the little village of Leymebamba and wrote that it was a "Little Cusco". (Cusco is a tourist city, known for it's Incan-Spanish architecture. I haven't been there yet.) I loved Leymebamba right when I arrived. I knew I wanted to stay for awhile.

There was nothing super special about it, except that it was located at the top of some cliffs - where down below you could see a blue stream flowing. It was very scenic and peaceful.

There's a local museum, which houses some artifacts, but their crown jewel are the mummies. I suppose the mummies were placed there, because the government has probably taken most of everything from the site. After all, they had to leave the people with something.

Around the area, some archaeological sites were discovered, much to the consternation of local tomb raiders
A Peruvian cat mummy.
I wonder what Jeh Pani would think of this? 
called huaceros. There's been a local feud as to who owns the ancient property - the local tomb raiders or the government (along with their contracted foreign archaeologists.) In the end, I'm sure whoever wins - the prizes and treasures end up in the home of rich people, mainly in the West.

Nonetheless, I was excited to see the mummies. They looked so different than the Egyptian kind. According to the museum, the natural environment of the mountains have preserved the remains of humans from decaying.

As a kid, I've always thought that mummies were from Egypt. I find it strange that I've been saying mummies in so many of the places I've traveled. I saw mummies in London (read about it here Christmas Party in London) and mummies in Tokyo too. But those mummies were both wrapped in cloth like, because they were Egyptian mummies.

Possum purse
These mummies were different. They were simply packed into a cloth with all their bones.
Because of the environment, it doesn't look like much more was needed to preserve them.

When I was in Beijing, at the center of Tianmen Square was Chairman Mao's body preserved. (I didn't see it, because I was with the underground church, and they detested Mao.) Also, when I was in Moscow, I heard that the Dictator, Lenin's body, is preserved there too. Although I was there too, I didn't feel like seeing him, either.

But it seems to be a universal phenomenon across countries to preserve the dead for hundreds, if not thousands of years. But why want to do this? And why do they always embalm kitties too to go with the dead?

Interesting. It made me wonder if Jeh Pan needs to be mummified on his death as well and put into one of our caskets. I think he would agree to it, as long as he died of natural causes first. The Egyptians killed animals to mummify when the elite died.

Anyways, I was happy to see mummies again. There was a sign in the museum that told me where all the other mummies were located. I was excited to see I already saw the London one. The oldest ones are in Chile. Maybe, go to Chile?

After studying the mummies, I remember what the French guy told me back in Chiclayo. He said, "When I die, I want to say I know the world." By studying these mysteries mummies, I felt like I was one step closer to saying "I know the world."

* * *
Kenti cafe
After the museum, there's a local cafe across the street that I loved called Kenti Cafe. They made wonderful coffee and sandwiches and had the best wifi in the village. So, during my days in Leymebamba, I walked a mile and a half every day, back and forth, up a steep hill, just to have coffee and food.

At the cafe, there's a little hummingbird feeder that bring these dazzling hummingbirds, which look like fluttering gems. Guests are usually in awe and wonder.

The only problem I had in being in Leymebamba was I was running out of money. There's no ATMs around. I didn't know. The nearest one would take a 4 hour trip in the opposite direction. I didn't want to do that. Also, nobody accepted credit card around here. (This would become a problem later.)
See the hummingbird feeder? 

The manager of the place found out I wanted wine but didn't have the cash for it. Also, there's no decent wine in the village. Had I have known, I would've brought some with me from the Cloud City. One store sold an average bottle of wine for twice the price. I refused to buy it on principle alone.

Well, the manager took a liking towards me and asked the owner of the place if she could give me wine. She gave me a beautiful ruby Argentinian merlot on the house. It tasted rich and beautiful, and the liquid ruby went down well. They were very hospitable people in this area.

On the final day, a young guy gave me a ride on his motorcycle to the cafe. It looks like hitching rides on motorcycles is becoming a key part of these travels. After watching Motorcycle Diaries, I wonder if I'm creating a motorcycle diary of my own.
I had my watchband weaved here.

Hitching a ride with Christian
and his motorcycle. 

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