Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
awoke when the sunrays were beginning to be hot. When I looked about, I found that I had
slept near a gentilar as the ancient Indian burial grounds are called. There are many of these
along the Peruvian coast and, after seeing a few, one takes hardly any more notice of all the
skulls and bones that lie about on the sand, which has shifted with the passing of centuries.
The horses must have had a good feed, for they were waiting for me, and when all was ready
we crossed the river without much difficulty, and when we arrived in the village I fully made
up for arrears in the food line.
While conversing with some people I told them about my nasty experience in the river the
nightbefore,andwhentheyheardwhereIhadsleptallwantedtoknowifIhadheardthe man-
chang . This word sounding rather like Chinese to me I asked them what it meant, whereupon
they all started to explain in chorus that the sandhill where I had slept was haunted, and that
the dead Indians of the gentilar danced every night to the beating of drums. So many terrible
superstitious stories did they tell me about the manchang that I began to think I was lucky to
be still alive. Later I had occasion to speak to an educated gentleman who had come to visit
me, and he said that both Baron von Humboldt and Raimondi had once upon a time investig-
ated the strange phenomenon of that hill, and that they had expressed the opinion that the pe-
the sea breezes blow from a certain direction and the air hits the sandy ripples on the slopes
of the hill, it will produce this strange sound. Somehow both explanations appealed to me as
being sensible, but I feel inclined to think that the former is more likely to be correct.
After all these trying journeys I rested for two days, for there was plenty of grass for the
horses and I, for a change, was able to even enjoy a few decent meals again.
One evening I thought I would pass a couple of hours away by going to see some moving
pictures which were announced for that night. The teatro was merely a large shed with a tin
roof, and the films shown were old and worn out, but yet the audience seemed delighted with
the show. All of a sudden everybody made a rush for the door; there were a few shrieks from
women, and the whole place shook. Before I had even time to think what was happening the
place was empty, only myself and two women who had fainted remaining there. Even then I
could not make out what had happened, but when I went outside I was told there had been an
earthquake. I had been under the impression that the trampling and rushing crowd had shaken
up the place. Luckily nobody was hurt in that stampede for the open, but a few had sustained
ing keen on going back, the management announced the show as having terminated; much to
my surprise nobody protested or asked for 'money back'.
Earthquakes are very common occurrences along the Peruvian coast, but as the houses and
huts are so lightly built, and the roofs being merely light covers to protect against the fierce
sun, it is rarely that much harm is done. As I have mentioned before, rains are practically un-
Search WWH ::

Custom Search