Peru and Machu Picchu

whitecoast

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Thanks for sharing the photos and stories Turgon! I love the hills and mountains and terraces.

Oh yes! I did start drinking that but can’t say for certain if it had a profound effect or not. I believe it is high in caffeine which explains why coffee helped but don’t know if it has some special derivative that helps with altitude. If you do drink it, do it in the morning and no later than the afternoon otherwise you’ll have a lot of trouble falling asleep.
Coca leaves contain cocaine. Although you need to ingest it with an alkalizer like lime so it survives degradation in the stomach.
 

Turgon

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Were those alpaca's actually letting people touch them?
Indeed! Seeing as there are so many tourists who visit Machu Picchu they are well adapted to being around people. They all had tags on them as well.

I thought I would just add a little bit more commentary to the trip and take it all with a grain of salt because I haven't actually read the history so am basing all of this off of word of mouth. I had several different tour guides throughout, and most of them, although giving a decent explanation of the history of Peru, the Inca and the Spanish Conquistadors seemed to often say the same thing and reading off of a script - except for my last tour guide who took me to Machu Picchu. He seemed to be well-read and versed in the history of the Inca and the archaeological discoveries and when questioning him about it could hold his own and provide detailed answers and opinions.

For one, he refuted a lot of what the earlier tour guides said about how the Inca's fell and some of the mythology and what he described as propaganda surrounding the stories of the Inca and Spanish, and there's no real evidence to support:

1. The reason all of the ancient stone cities were never finished was because of the arrival of the Spanish - he stated that the Inca were going through a period of civil war and two sons of an Inca king who passed away, one from his wife the other from his concubine, were fighting for control of the Empire so all the resources that originally went towards building went to war. That they were already in disarray and in collapse by the time the Spanish arrived so they took advantage of the situation to seize control.

2. My first tour guide told said one of these sons was captured by the Spanish and ransomed for all the gold and silver in the Empire which amounted to roughly 20,000 kilos+. And that they had gardens filled with giant ornaments and statues made of gold and silver, that in some of the pictures you see rectangular shapes in the stones that look like windows without glass were arrayed with the like, along with gemstones and other precious metals, and that they put ornaments and sometimes even used them as graves for important figures, etc. All of graves were destroyed by the Spanish and precious metals melted down. Even after receiving the ransom they ended up killing the son anyways.

The last tour guide shrugged his shoulders at this and said there was a more practical purpose for those rectangular 'windows' - mainly storage. The equivalent of pantries and cupboards. And that there's no evidence to state the Inca valued gold or silver to such a degree and mainly what they found were small ornaments given as gifts made of precious metals and that's about it. He believes that what most likely happened was the Spanish used the Inca as slave labour to mine for gold and silver after they had arrived.

3. Evidence of human sacrifice, at least in regards to the Inca, are negligible. He didn't comment on any of the other cities, but stated that the only type of sacrifices discovered at Machu Picchu were animal sacrifices and that's it. No human sacrificial remains. Which is interesting because there was a sacrificial altar in the temple dedicated to Viracocha.

I found it refreshing and a much different take to what the previous tour guides said and I wish I asked him about the megalithic stones and giant skulls - it would've been interesting to hear his take on it - but there was so much to see in Machu Picchu that it seemed out of place and not urgent at the time. And in thinking about the set up and structure of the city, that the Inca were very practical people in a lot of ways.

The way they designed the city was impressive in that they had a huge agricultural section and utilized the slopes of the mountain to grow a LOT of food, were very close to the river to catch fish, had built it next to underground streams and built channels and aqueducts so they had a constant supply of running water. The city was broken up into multiple sections and had an entrance way that separated agricultural from the residential section which was broken up into two main sections, one was the ritzy section for nobles and priests and - separated by a large city center or market area - was the larger area with smaller houses for the average Inca. They had communal areas, almost like community centers for what were probably weddings, events and the like. Estimates say the city housed roughly 700+ people.

Their temples were close to the priests and built with much larger stones and more care, so given a lot of precedence. There were two, one dedicated to 'God/Viracocha' and the other to Nature, represented by the past, present and future, also represented by the Sky/Condor, Earth/Puma, Underground/Snake, and the elements of thunder, lightning and rainbows. I didn't really understand that last one.

In regards to human sacrifice, I was talking to @manitoban about it today who visited Chichen Itza, which was a pyramid city built by the Mayans in the Yucatan and she said she got a bad vibe or feeling being there. And it's more well documented that the Mayans were a lot more 'liberal' about human sacrifice. She also brought up an interesting idea that maybe the stones 'remember' and resonate that out which might be one of the reasons she felt that way. So maybe that's more evidence, in a difficult to prove way, that there was no such thing going in with the Inca because the prevailing 'feeling' being there was that of reverence and in trying to imagine what it was like for the people who built these cities (on Rock and Roll! ;-D) was that of a labour of love.

P.S. The last tour guides name was Paul. Which was more an interesting coincidence that I just thought of now.
 
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Pashalis

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I questioned the tour guide a few times about it and why the skulls were twice the size and he chalked up the deformations to compression and reshaping which you can see in some of the pictures where they tie ropes and planks to the skulls and that it was done starting as babies. He mentioned trepanation as well to deal with headaches from the procedure but that still doesn’t explain how enormous they are. You can see in the other pics they are deformed but normal-sized.
Well, as far as I know there are in reality two basic types of deformed skulls. One type that is actually deformed by the stated method of compression and reshaping of the head early on in life while the bone mass or volume logically stays the same as in a normal skull, just shaped differently. And then there are those type of skulls in which more (in some cases much more, like in the one on the picture I suppose) bones mass and volume of bone is present, which is to this day hard to explain by "compression". You can't get more bone mass and bone volume by deformation. There is also the curious fact that some of those skulls seem to have features that normal humans don't have, such as tiny holes that extend through the skull into the brain area (maybe nerves were there?) and a different number and/or configuration of skull plates. You can find out more info about this in this thread.

Coca leaves contain cocaine. Although you need to ingest it with an alkalizer like lime so it survives degradation in the stomach.
Yes. It is actually cocaine that is the active ingredients in coca. The leaves are chewed (and hold in the mouth for a long time) in a number of latin american countries including Peru. One of the reasons popular culture gives for this is that it is supposed to reduce the feeling of hunger. I'm suspecting though that it is more like a pretty old cultural habit. The chewing of the leave leaves behind a feeling of numbness in the mouth that can be quite pronounced.
 
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munaychasumaq

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In regards to human sacrifice, I was talking to @manitoban about it today who visited Chichen Itza, which was a pyramid city built by the Mayans in the Yucatan and she said she got a bad vibe or feeling being there. And it's more well documented that the Mayans were a lot more 'liberal' about human sacrifice. She also brought up an interesting idea that maybe the stones 'remember' and resonate that out which might be one of the reasons she felt that way. So maybe that's more evidence, in a difficult to prove way, that there was no such thing going in with the Inca because the prevailing 'feeling' being there was that of reverence and in trying to imagine what it was like for the people who built these cities (on Rock and Roll! ;-D) was that of a labour of love.
It is a very interesting observation.The prevailing "feeling"in Machu Picchu is a good vibe.I am not sure if the Incas make human sacrifice but the Pre-incas cultures as Mochica or Chavin practiced human sacrifice according to the evidence.
Turgon happy to know you had a good experience in Perù.Did you try the cuy?
 

Carl

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Thanks for sharing! Peru is quite a stunning place and the archaeology and weird artifacts, although taken for granted by tourists as just weird curiosities, are pretty profound indeed.

Overall, it was pretty safe going to Peru and I got to see so much of the countryside, the Sacred Valley which contains the Sacred River that the Inca's built so much of their central civilization around. And there was just such a different environment and feel to it all. This is subjective, but living in a big city in Canada, I'd say there was far less of a 'frequency fence', and noticed the difference in the way I was thinking and feeling, with this sense of aliveness being there and this subtle internal shift and perspective. This became more prominent the closer I came to Machu Picchu itself. There was an emotional awakening of sorts that was deeply felt.
The sun, the altitude and probably differences in gravity and other subtler things do give the place its own vibe and you definitely do feel differently and more open or 'clear' in some way. Hopefully you can keep some of that and bring it back with you!

There is of course, extreme poverty in some of rural Peru, but crime didn't seem to be a major issue, although I did go with a tour company. At the same time, at least from what I could see, a lot of children seemed to be happy and engaged, some of them finding fun in the simplest of things. Walking around, you see there's a lot of warmth and affection between one another in Peru and in other Latin American countries that I've visited in the past that you don't see as much of in Western culture. That may also have to do with the temperate climate, more sunshine and less EMF's and the like. These are just my observations but I couldn't help but wonder how many people in Peru are actually on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds or the like which has become so prevalent in North America.
You do have a decent chance of being robbed depending on where/how you travel but generally it's more the pick-pocketing kind than the violent kind. I never bothered with Maccu Piccu despite making it all the way to Cusco but did travel through some pretty rough areas like the outskirts of Tacna up through to Puno, and seeing that kind of poverty, boy does it give you perspective. I too found Peruvians to be a generally happy people despite lack of material wealth. The diet in some places is pretty awful though with all the sugar and trans-fats and it seems they've sadly been given the worst of American culture in that regard.


Oh yes! I did start drinking that but can’t say for certain if it had a profound effect or not. I believe it is high in caffeine which explains why coffee helped but don’t know if it has some special derivative that helps with altitude. If you do drink it, do it in the morning and no later than the afternoon otherwise you’ll have a lot of trouble falling asleep.
It doesn't have caffeine, maybe some theobromine, but that special feeling people talk is basically cocaine, albeit in a milder form :lol:. It's actually really good for the altitude though and I'm not sure if anyone knows why. I found the tea to be pretty useless but chewing the raw leaves along with what they call a lejía (basically lye or ash), which activates the alkaloids in the plant, gives you the numb mouth, altitude coping and other effects. Also being a smoker helps a lot. With those combined I found that the altitude wasn't so bad even at 4000m+ unless I was running.


I questioned the tour guide a few times about it and why the skulls were twice the size and he chalked up the deformations to compression and reshaping which you can see in some of the pictures where they tie ropes and planks to the skulls and that it was done starting as babies. He mentioned trepanation as well to deal with headaches from the procedure but that still doesn’t explain how enormous they are. You can see in the other pics they are deformed but normal-sized.
Yeah people are really good at shoving weird things under the rug right? Like come on, the sheer size of them is ridiculous! We probably couldn't even achieve that now even with wacky GMO procedures etc. Not that anyone would want to!
 

Joe

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I questioned the tour guide a few times about it and why the skulls were twice the size and he chalked up the deformations to compression and reshaping which you can see in some of the pictures where they tie ropes and planks to the skulls and that it was done starting as babies.
Yeah, so apparently skull deformation somehow produces twice (or more) as much skull bone volume as a normal skull. :rolleyes:
 
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Deckard

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Thanks for the pictures.
looks amazing - its always been number one on my bucket list together with Titicaca lake.
if there is any animal that grosess me out it has to be millipede or centipede- respect for letting it crawl on you. Most of them can deliver poisonous snd very painful bite- so I wouldn’t dare to touch the critter even if its harmless variety.
 
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