Tag: peru-bolivia

The aliens of Tiwanaku (Bolivia)

Tiwanaku lies close to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, divided between Perú and Bolivia (the joke goes that Perú got the Titi and Bolivia the caca — OK: hey, I just work here). I found the site  underwhelming. The “reconstruction” and archeology feels contrived and inaccurate.


From this courtyard, the very large “Bennett” monolith was excavated, displayed in La Paz for 70 years, then “returned” to a museum hall nearby where it would be safe from pollution and pigeon crap. When I descended the metal stairs with Antonio Portugal, there were very few people present (unlike this picture I took a few minutes later).

Tiahuanaco, Bolivia

Jutting out from all sides are facial representations, each is carved on a piece of rock a meter or so long, he told me, based on other excavations. Caraclavos, I think he called them: face nails.


They supposedly represent every different race. In some cases, clearly, better than others.


When I spotted the one below, I turned to Antonio and gestured toward it. He simply pointed upwards. Yes, aliens.


And I thought of the “Starchild” skull we had seen in Paracas.


Then there’s another that seems just a little out of place.


This made me think of the Andayhuaylillas Museum and its enigmatic Huayqui skeleton, which some (and clearly the people who created the display) believe to be a hybrid human.


This was typical of the experiences on this trip: walk into a place with absolutely no prior knowledge, notice something with no prodding, ask a question without speaking, to be answered by an expert* with a single silent gesture.

* he has been researching Tiwanaku for decades. He showed us the site map done with ground-penetrating radar, which reveals large subterranean chambers. Alas, permission for excavation unlikely any time soon, he says, because the locals (and current political leadership) don’t want to know that the builders weren’t their ancestors. Who knows?

Cusco morning

Morning, Cusco

After three nights in a strange room in the Hotel Ruinas in Cusco, which opened onto the lobby, whose only ventilation was the bathroom fan which involved leaving on an extremely bright ceiling light all night, which guaranteed disrupted sleep, we returned there the final night to a wonderful room with a balcony (#306) — and this gorgeous view in the morning.

Tipon: an Inca terraforming masterpiece

Located near Cusco, Tipon isn’t mind-blowing like Machu Pic’chu or Ollantaytambo. But it is an amazing place.

I realize I’ve been kind of slamming the Incas: not because they were incapable of the megalithic work they built on, which is technologically more advanced than anything we can do even now, but because of the “stupid history” that gives them credit for work they could not possibly have done.

I didn’t show it yesterday, but here’s the side of the cave opposite the megalithic “portal.” Megalithic “altar” behind the dude with the hat.

Umm, not quite megalithic.
Umm, not quite megalithic. Not complaining, just saying.

Tipon has a number of well-watered terraces, a collection of microclimates. But your first introduction is a small gurgling waterfall.

Tipon. Cusco, Perú

Channeled from another waterfall.

Tipon. Cusco, Perú

And then you realize there are many of them, on every wall, every corner.

Tipon. Cusco, Perú

Our guide, shaman Dr. Theo Paredes, urged us to pay attention to the distinct sounds of each. When I observed many empty streams (the walls above and to the left), he explained that work was being done on the aqueduct from the source, 2 km away. I could only imagine that with all flowing, the atmosphere must be magic. As it was, all who visited left feeling energized.

Near the very top, the water enters through four streams. Simple, yes?

Tipon. Cusco, Perú

No! The water enters as one stream, which is divided into two streams, which recombine to one stream, which is then fanned out into four channels (that is not just perspective; the final four streams are farther apart at the end than the beginning).

Tipon. Cusco, Perú

As Theo tried to explain, what’s going on here is a profound understanding of energies we tend to ignore. Given his credentials —  struck by lightning twice, first time at age 11 — I am happy to accept his word that more is happening here than I perceive.

Tipon, Peru

So it was a place of healing as well as agriculture. And it wouldn’t have been monochromatic — amazing to imagine the effect of the water and geometry with the terraces planted in vibrant colors. Why not?


The megalithic cave temple

Returning from Ollantaytambo, we turned off the main road near the Skylodge Adventure Suites, where you can spend the night in a hotel room hanging off the side of a cliff. You can. Me, no thanks.

After winding along a riverbed with 1,000′ cliffs either side, we were let out to scramble up a steep terraced incline to a triangular cave.

Climbing to the megalithic temple
Photo: Chester Jagiello

Megalithic cave temple

Inside, we found a perfectly machined wall and “portal.”


Our guide Wilco explained that in his grandfather’s day, the cave was open and extended very far into the hillside, but had collapsed at some point. The recessed ridges in the “portal” represent levels of consciousness. Portal to where? None of us found out (I think).

Megalithic cave temple, Perú

I spent a few minutes sitting in it, not as long as I’d have liked (we were quite a few people), but long enough to experience a gentle probing contact, like tentacles of consciousness coming from the rock on either side of me.

Then onto the megalithic gem at the mouth of the cave.

Megalithic cave temple, Perú
Photo: Chester Jagiello

Wilco explained this could be used kneeling, facing the morning sun, or sitting, allowing the energy to be channeled through the base of your skull. Being late in the day, there was no sun.

Megalithic cave temple, Perú
Photo: Chester Jagiello

Again, I took only a short time, out of respect for others. I didn’t feel much here — until I was ready to get up. Then I felt a distinct need to ask permission to disengage (immediately granted). Nobody had mentioned anything like this, nor had I thought of it before. But it clearly felt like the necessary and respectful thing to do.