After reporting on Caral at 2 in the afternoon when it was about 95° out, I said I would never go there again in the summer.
I went again. And again.
I was asked by a good friend to accompany three visitors, black belt karate experts, one from Peru, and two from Uruguay to see Caral. How could I say no? A huge archaeology fan, Edgardo visited Caral on a previous trip to Peru. He’s visited the Parthenon, the Coliseum, and ranks Caral with them, and he couldn’t wait to visit with his son. We left the house at 8:30 am, arrived by 9:15 am, while the day was still cool. We took the entire tour and didn’t leave the site until about 12:30 pm. Yes, it was hot by then, but the first two hours were fine. It helped that we hitched a ride back and didn’t walk, since the distance from the start and end of the tour is about a mile from the footbridge and parking area.
We are crossing the Supe River, looking back at Caral.
Barely a week later, I returned to Caral AGAIN, with friends Alaka Wali and Rick Hubbard. I had promised to go out with them quite a while ago, even though I decried visiting in summer. We left early and decided to take a ride both ways to the site. Unlike the open top truck, which wasn’t around, the ride in an ancient, underpowered, overloaded mototaxi on an unpaved, cobble-strewn road was a loud, lengthy, bone-rattling experience.
We have a friend who says, “What fresh hell is this?”
I was wondering, myself.
I was so impressed by our ride out to the visitor center, that I went to call Carlos, our driver, and ask him to go see if he could cross the river and get closer so that we didn’t have to repeat this process.
Naturally, there was no cell service.
It turns out that there actually is phone service, but only out on the site, so we set off with our guide, Agustin, and another group.
I managed to contact Carlos, then became ill and retreated to the restrooms. Alaka and Rick were able to see some of the site, Carlos was able to cross the river and we did not have to repeat our journey from hell across the cobbled nightmare called the road. I will never go to Caral again without checking the river crossing. I will also pray the river is always low. Sorry farmers.
Without making any blanket statements, I believe that it is highly unlikely that I will go to Caral again this month. Or this year.