Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Field Trip

We went on a field trip with our Spanish class to the National Museum of Culture in Lima to learn a little about the history and culture of Peru. We went down there in the training center’s combi which stalled out at one of the craziest intersections I’ve seen in a while. It kind of reminded me of an intersection in Manhattan during rush hour traffic except this one had mototaxis (three-wheeled motorized rickshaw-type taxis), older vintage Japanese cars, semi trucks, combies, etc.) There was a hell of a lot of honking, fist waving and pleasantries exchanged like in NYC. Fortunately, our able combi driver Ali was able to get her revved up and out of the intersection before any serious damage was done.

We learned a bit about the ancient cultures like the Incas, Nazcas and saw their artifacts. Of course there were a bunch of colonial-era type paintings of the Virgin Mary. In these paintings, the Virgin was always wearing a robe that was narrow up close to her head and tapered out in a kind of triangle shape at the bottom. A halo emanated from behind her head so it kind of looked like the sun behind a mountain. When the Spaniards arrived, they forced their religion on the people of Peru (as colonists are prone to do). Folks aren’t quick to give up their religious beliefs just because some asshole is holding a sword to their head. The local artists did paint the Virgin, but the robe represented the spirit of the mountain and the halo represented the sun which they also worshipped. At the time, the artists may have been giving the Spaniards a good old fashion “fuck you and your religion” but since then, the two religions have blended together and you see elements of both the original natural beliefs and Catholicism.

Up on the second floor there was an XIX century oil painting of two carriage drivers in a collision and whippin’ the shit out of each other over a fare while dust is flying, dogs are barking and people are hollerin’ in the streets. Not a whole lot’s changed in the past couple hundred years.

The Nazca warriors used to put mummified sculls one their belts.  Early psycological warfare.

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