Marian Johns' Journal of the Desert
Explorers trip to Peru in 2002
Images by John Page unless otherwise noted
Day 25, September
Leimebamba to Celendín See Map
Saturday – This morning, Reda got up at 5:00 instead of 6:00. At 5:30, I
asked her why she was up so early - she replied it was 6:30 and I had
better get up too. A check of both our watches revealed hers was set an
hour early – a mistake that happen when she dropped hers and needed to
reset it – she set it wrong by an hour. So we didn’t have any trouble
making it to breakfast by 7:00 down at the restaurant where we had dinner
The museum caretaker and his
helper, who live in town, hitched a ride with us to the museum which is
three kilometers on the road out of town – the road toward Celendín. We
were properly impressed with the Leimebamba Museum and it was indeed worth
the delay and time.
Not only is it brand new, it is also nicely done with
attractive displays, and descriptions are in English as well as Spanish.
Its construction was financed primarily by Austrians. The highlight was a
temperature and atmospheric-controlled room with 200+ mummy bundles that
have been rescued from a cliff, shelter cave overlooking Laguna de los
Condores. Grave robber had destroyed some of these mummy bundles, but much
was saved. There was also a life-sized replica of a Kuélap house – with
a tall, conical-shaped thatched roof.
We two ladies found several things
to purchase in the tiny gift shop. I bought a replica Chachapoya/Inca-style
ceramic pot with a rounded bottom – supposedly to make pouring easier.
Across the street from the
museum, we watched a woman weaving on a back-strap loom. It must have been
twelve feet long – so long that she had to work standing up instead of
After leaving the museum, we
continued on toward Celendín, first climbing up the dirt road into
drizzly clouds/fog – this is, after all, the land of the Cloud People.
We reached a pass and then drove down, down for many miles it seemed, to
the Rio Marañon, the same river we crossed at Jaen two days ago.
places, the road was extremely narrow, with alarming drop-offs, just as
scary as the road to Kuélap yesterday. At the river it was uncomfortably
warm, but we stopped for a quick lunch anyway on the other side of the
bridge and watched as a man drove his herd of goats past us.
From the river, we ascended one
more time to yet another summit. We were able to relax a little because
the drop-offs weren’t so dramatic and the road seemed somewhat wider.
Along this stretch, we once again saw condors soaring, but they were quite
high and soon drifted over the mountains out of sight.
Then, it was down, down again and into Celendín. Since we hadn’t
planned to stay there, we didn’t have reservations, and the guide books
didn’t recommend any of the several hotels there. So we were on our own
– picked one on the main plaza with a neat, clean patio and a pretty
fish pond/fountain – the fountain wasn’t working, but the water was
clean and the goldfish looked happy. Our room, however, was dowdy, with
high ceilings and a smelly bathroom that had the lower four feet painted
black. Plus, there was no hot water even though we had been told there
would be some that evening – no shower for us. But at least we had clean
sheets. We watched the owner put them on.
It was still early, so we
walked to the market looking for additional travel bags. I need an extra
one for all the goodies I have purchased along the way, and so does Reda.
I found one for 28 soles ~$8 US. It expands, but the wheels on it look
rather cheap, and I doubt they will last even long enough to get it home.
But I desperately need something, and I can manage without the wheels –
Many of the people in this area
wear tall hats – both men and women. I have been amused by all the
different regional styles of hats we have seen throughout Peru. My
favorites are the colorful, knitted caps with ear flaps we saw around
The hotel was noisy and so was
its restaurant. They did turn the music down when we asked though. I had
soup with some sort of rice-like grain, plus a piece of fried chicken that
was cut in such a strange fashion, I couldn’t tell what part of the
chicken I was eating – but it was good.
Next Day To
Previous Day To
Home | to the Fun page