The plan was to go to Pachacamac, have lunch and come home. That happened, but also a lot more.
I learned about this opportunity to go to Pachacamac from Ana María about two weeks ago. She mentioned that her friend Oscar (or Fernando, I don’t know but there’s more to this and that’s for another day) was giving a tour to a group of school children for a field trip and that if I wanted, I could go with them. Roxana could come too and we wouldn’t even have to chaperone or anything. I thought why not and sure let’s do it! As the trip day got closer, I learned more about what this trip would entail, however, never could I have anticipated what actually happened.
Hannah, Roxana, Ana María’s sister, Amelia and me set out for our trip to Pachacamac at around 8 this morning. We met Oscar at the kids’ school and waited for them on the bus. I was hoping that we would just casually sit in the back and be able to do our own thing, but that did not happen. Once the kids arrived, got seated and we were ready to go (which is no easy feat), we were publicly acknowledged and as all of the kids turned in their seats to look at the “turístas”, I realized that we really didn’t know what we got ourselves into.
Our trip to Pachacamac was really quite the package deal. Not only did we go to the said destination, but also made a few pit stops along the way. We got off of the bus to see some cows (two times), a river bed and this sort of hauntingly beautiful hill top:
We made our way through the backroads of Villa El Salvador and through districts that I don’t know the name of and by lunch time we finally made it to places that said “Pachacamac” in their name in some context. That gave us hope, although we had yet to get to the ruins.
We took a much needed break from the rambunctious group of kids and went to find lunch. Oscar helped us find this particular restaurant that was affordable and had vegetarian options. The food was pretty good as well! I am all about the lomo saltado/verdura saltado so that’s what I got. It was delicious.
After a quick stop to look at more cows and almost have kids get run over while crossing the street, we finally made it to the ruins of Pachacamac.
The fact that this incredible archeological complex was just minutes away from where I live was surreal. (We went a very roundabout way with the kids, because it only took less than ten minutes to get back home on the bus.) Pachacamac was the most important religious site for the indigenous people of Peru’s costal region and dedicated to the god of the same name. There are more than a dozen pyramidal ruins, many dwellings and frescos. From the first indigenous people (said to have first occupied the site during 200 CE), to the Incas who so revered Pachacamac’s powerful religious standing to the point where they allowed Pachacamac to coexist with their own sun god, Inti, to Pizarro who crashed the party in classic conquistador fashion and left Pachacamac to be forgotten. But not for long (well sort of), because in the 19th century, archeologists began to excavate the site and the rest is history.
Getting to walk around Pachacamac definitely made up for all the random, often tiring little trips along the way. But before we could square this trip away and head back home, we were once again publicly acknowledged. This time we were applauded by the kids and their teachers (I like to think for enduring almost seven hours with 30 third graders and one bus) and many pictures were taken. It was sweet. One of my favorite moments was when the kids’ teacher had her student get out of his seat to take a picture of her sitting with all of us, all while the bus was steam rolling down the highway.
All in all, it was quite a day. I don’t think I’ll be signing up to tag along on another field trip like this one, but nevertheless, it was nothing short of memorable.