So, like I said, the only pics we took were in Barranco Quarter, south of the city center, if memory serves, and those photos were like the one below, of graffiti:
The picture in itself is not the best, nor is the graff, but it shows two things that really struck me about not only Lima but Peru in general. First, note the landscaping in front of the pic. You see this kind of care taken everywhere, in charming, touristic quarters and poor, along the highways*... In the desertic, ocean-front areas like the road between Trujillo and Huanchaca, they had dusty green-leafed trees encircled by white-painted stones. We saw men with buckets of paint carefully retouching them at the same time that they redid the lines on the roads. There is a lot of trash, a lot of decay, but it is heartening to see people taking care of their land.
The second thing pertains mostly to graffs. I can appreciate art anywhere I see it, be it on canvas or city wall, but graffiti doesn't always appeal to me because it consists of a lot of tagging (people signing their names in hard-to-decipher letters) or otherwise defacing someone else's work. But in Barranco especially, the graffiti was very socially and politically involved. It often had a humane message calling for awareness or change that I appreciated.
After two days in Lima, we decided to take a quick detour north to Trujillo to see the ruins of Chan Chan because the rest of our itinerary lay in the south. Chan Chan is the world's largest adobe city, and according to our guide was made up of nine Chimu palace-tombs** (Wikipedia says 10).
These little birdies were only uncovered two months ago. The Chimor (I presume) had tried to cover their palaces before the Spanish arrived to sack them. Some of the friezes were left to the elements, to be worn away by El Niño tornadoes and rains, winds, and ocean breezes, while the others had adobe bricks placed over them. Sadly, unlike in some other sites, the pigments didn't survive, but archaeologists have found traces of color and know that the pelicans were painted yellow and black.
This is part of the temple area that was reconstructed according to the archaeological finds. It must have been something at its height. I wish I could have taken the time to get better photos, but J and I visited the site with a German couple and a Welsh girl. We had all hired a guide in common, so we couldn't very well take our sweet time as we are prone to do.
After visiting Chan Chan, we got a taxi to the Huaca el Dragon, aka Huaca del Arco de Iris. "Huaca" means temple, and this one was dedicated to fertility. Several bas-reliefs show rainbows, rain dancers, and couples "engaged in copulation," so says our guidebook. The copulation looks a lot like kissing to me:
A few views from the pyramidal temple top:
Trujillo, city in constant construction, like many places we've seen in Peru. To me, it looks a lot like Mayotte, Moheli, and Madagascar where the people build when there is money and then wait until they have enough funds to add to or finish the structure.
Sands look to be overtaking the mountain. And in the foreground, you can see an example of the rings of white-painted stones I was talking about.
I'll make a separate post for the Huaca de la Luna, which is also in Trujillo.
*They even advertise with landscaping! You can see major brand names written in flowering plants along the road between Miraflores and downtown Lima. On a related advertising note, sponsoring companies have their logos and ads plastered larger-than-life behind the contestants on game shows. Very strange.
**Each king had a palace. At his death, his wife, servants, and about 40 of his advisors, etc. were drugged and then buried alive with him (not in the same tomb, but in holes around his). The palace was then deserted, becoming a tomb, and king's eldest would have his own palace, which had been in construction for several years in preparation of his future reign.