Diary 14 (or Mountains and a failed bandito )27/9/2001 Last night ended well with a dinner of fried cuy and a procession through the streets of Huaraz by a legion of school children carrying paper models, lit by candles. Sweet!I´m booked on a tour today to the other (east) side of the Cordellia Blanco. The first stop for the bus to disgorge its cargo of gringos is the Laguna Querochoca, a windy lake at 3890m, higher and noticeably colder than Huaraz. The pass through the mountains crosses as a tunnel at 4200m, a huge white Italian christ welcoming us to the valleys below as the road zigzags its way down to Chavin. The ruins here mark Peru´s first empire, and archaelogical trends across the country are measured from the yardstick of the Chavin Horizon, the point at which their influences of religion and pottery is first noted. The ruins themselves are relatively simple, but hewn from stone - huge slabs quarrued from the hills around. The real beauty is within the 3 modest pyramids, which are honeycombed with passageways, alcoves, galleries and cubbyholes. Carved heads that previously adorned the temple walls are dotted around underground, though one remins in situ. Lunch was rabbit - the Peruvians have a knack for making everything taste like fried chicken, and then its all aboard the bus back to Huaraz, between snowcovered peaks looming in the darkening dusk.The altitude isn´t agreeing with me, and I have the beginnings of a tummy bug so it´s back to Lima today. Oops! There are no day buses, only departures at 10 or 11pm so I pootle round the streets, have a little stroll above the town and kill a lot of time in internet cafes. My whole digestive system is rebelling by the evening so I quell its complaints with Immodium and hit the bus back to Peru´s capital.Lima isn´t quite as attractive at 5am, I can see why some people consider it to be the arse-end of Peru. Time to treat myself with a luxury morning snoozing at a 10 dollar hotel, complete with a proper quilt on the bed. I have to check out at noon though, so its back to the Hostal Espana. After watching police and protesters manouvering on the Plaza Bolivar its onto the Museo de Inquisition y Congress. Here there are wax dummies being stretched on racks and other demos of colonial torture, and the meander downstairs through the ols cells and dungeons is fascinating. Upstairs I can understand enough to follow the development of Peru´s national flag, and various copies of the country´s constitution are also on display, including the current one signed by the disgraced ex-president Fujimori. Saw Operation Swordfish tonight, quite excellent.It´s Wednesday and time for some more ruins! It takes an age to find the combi bus, in one of the worst areas of Lima: La Victoria. Whilst asking directions someone grabs my arm and rips my watch off! Unfortunately (for him) there´s several weeks of pent-up frustration since Guatemala and he´s not getting away that easily. Only a few yards of pursuit and the would-be thief has relinquished his prize and skulks away with his ears ringing. Pity I hadn´t yelled at him in Spanish, but I don´t know enough invectives and my haranguing was good amusement for the small crowd of locals that gathered. I didn´t think I had an angry face! The ruins are out in the desert south of town, bordering on the coast and the 5km circuit around the site takes 3 hours or so with frequent pauses to read in the sun, admire the views and snap the odd photo. More pile of sand and adobe bricks really ;-) Back at the hostel there´s time to relax on the Plaza de Armes, grab a seat at Planet of the Apes and meet up with William and Jeremy to head out to a discotheque where we have a beer or three, compare tattoos, evaluate the chicas and generally put the world to rights. Why did I book an early bus tomorrow ? PS. The Immodium finally wore off this evening - that stuff is powerful!Four hours of desert thorugh the bus´s windows leads to Pisco. Placed just above the sea mist the sun burns brightly and the Plaza de Armes and Plaza Belén are perfect for kicking back and enjoying the warmth. One church is decorated in pale blue and white stripes, curiously it seems to work as an asthetic. I´m booked on a wildlife tour tomorrow, but first I´ve got to go back for some more of the excellent chicken soup. Guinea pig, named after the noise they make. Tasted like chicken!  Lima always has someone demonstrating, iunvariably accompanied by riot police and a water cannon.  A freudian combination ?  Probably my worst cinematic experience ever, and that´s not even considering the unpalatable fare of the film itself.  From Oz, not the same one as before.  Sorry, I know it´s late September and I´ll get lynched on my return!