Las Pirámides de Túcume

We Sneaked Into a Ruin

I’m so not a rebel.

I think the part of me that has always wanted to be has been terminally thwarted by the little angel that sits on my left shoulder and takes vicious delight in wigging out the devil on my right.  My bitchy, opinionated left shoulder angel always ends up steering me in the direction of the straight and narrow.

I guess she’s scared of ending up spending the night in a police cell with only a large tattooed woman called Big Momma for company.

In any case – despite the hissy fits of white 13-year-old girls whose notions of what’s sexy extend little further than Nick Carter’s floppy hairdo (oh the shame), I feel I gave my parents very little to worry about during my teen years.  A claim which I’m sure will result in them writing me a long, detailed email contesting the matter.

Happily, recently just outside of Chiclayo in northern Peru I was given another chance to be rebellious and awesome.  Having just met two new friends the day before, I had no real idea what sort of people Pablo and Esther were.  You see, at first they looked normal as we chatted over Cusqueñas – but then we went to Las Pirámides de Túcume.

But hang on, let’s rewind a bit

First up, some history:  Las Pirámides are the remains of several huacas (temples) left over from the Mochica culture who danced, sang and were generally awesome before the Incas came and rained on their parade.  North Peru was the principal hot spot of these peeps and was made known again to the modern age with the discovery of El Señor de Sipán: a Mochica lord found buried with a mountain of gold, treasures and finery.  If that wasn’t enough, he was also followed to the afterlife by an entourage composed of three women, a slave, child, dog, two llamas, a guard and finally a soldier who’d been conveniently relieved of his feet in order to prevent him from escaping after death.  In short, El Señor is the Peruvian – if not South American – equivalent of Tutankamon.

Las Pirámides de Túcume

We were suitably excited.

Pirámides de Túcume
See? We’re excited. And suitably so.

But the excitement soon doubled when we walked past a sign saying:

DO NOT PASS – Site in Restauration 

I mean, I walked past it – LIKE A LAME-O – while Esther and Pablo stood next to it and proclaimed loudly that such notices would not stop the likes of us, no siree.

(My little devil squeaked in agreement.  The angel hurriedly shushed it.)

The plan was simple:  walk innocently up another hill offered legally to us for our viewing pleasure…

Pirámides de Túcume
Walking nonchalantly so as not to attract attention.

…then come back down via a different route, taking us conveniently far from the scary DO NOT PASS sign we’d seen.  If we ran into a pissed off khaki-clad archaeologist, we’d pretend that we didn’t speak Spanish before gesturing that we’d never seen the offending sign…and then run away, giggling like schoolkids.

Not a ninja

That day’s exercise brought home the fact that I would make an astonishingly crap ninja, bank robber, lioness or indeed anything stealthy.  The whole time we were out of bounds in the site (a term I’ve only just remembered now from primary school), I was mentally practising the oh-god-I’m-sorry-it’s-just-that-my-friends-are-cooler-than-me speech I’d give the dusty, bespectacled scientist I was sure was going to pop out at any moment, angrily wiping his brushes on his knee-high socks.

To distract myself from our imminent capture and deportation from Peru, I took photos of my much calmer and more rebellious counterparts – themselves quite stealthy.

Las Pirámides de TúcumeIn the end, this is what the sign wanted to prevent us from seeing…

Pirámides de Túcume


Photos taken from outside the locked door in this position…


In short – we successfully thwarted the sunburned scientists who’d otherwise have had us not appreciate Peruvian Mochica history, and made it down to have a fairly anticlimactic look at this temple.

A temple whose role and function in said history I’ve since wholly forgotten.

Good one, Erin.


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