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Never not be afraid...

If you haven't seen "The Croods" you should add it to your "Not a great movie but definitely worth checking out when it finally hits Netflix" move list. It's the story of a cave man family who live by a couple of simple rules to protect themselves. Rules like "never leave the cave" and "never be afraid." They follow the rules religiously. The rules keep them safe. That works until it doesn't. The daughter decides to challenge the rules.

Often times in movies, the hero has to decide to follow the rules or choose what is right as defined by their own conscience. I've wondered if I were to be faced with a similar choice, what would I do. I suppose it's hard to speculate without specifics.

I remember a night when my mother gave us a flat plate and a marble. She told us to try to have the marble go around the edges as fast as we could. With a flat plate, the marble fell off before we could gain much speed. We repeated the experiment with a bowl. With the bowl, we could get the marble going around the bowl pretty quickly. The lesson to be learned was that boundaries (rules) don't inhibit us, they free us.

When I say that the rules aren't always right, I'm not saying that I think we should do away with rules. I'm saying that there are bigger bowls out there. (Hopefully the analogy isn't getting too vague at this point.)

Linda was a third grader in Topeka Kansas. Her parents got her ready for school and sent her on her way. Linda passed the elementary school by her house. The teachers there thought that she would be more comfortable with people like her at a school a mile further down the road. It was the rule that she attend school at the other location. You see, Linda was a third grader in the 1950s and because of her skin color, she was forced to attend a segregated school.

That mode of thinking almost seemed unbelievable to many of us today, but before it was challenged, it was the norm. Everyone was taught to believe in a set way. The Linda Brown vrs Board of Education law suit challenged that notion and today we can hardly imagine it being any different.

In 50 years, I imagine we will look back and think the same about many beliefs we currently hold on too. So what keeps us from changing? The only answer I have is fear. We have a caveman believe to never not be afraid. It's somehow built into us. Fear of the unknown keeps us safe. It work's until it doesn't and then we discover a whole new world.

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It's the middle of the night and the house is quite. There is the slow steady tick of a cheap battery wall clock and now the sound of my keyboard, but that's about it. After promising to start blogging again, I didn't. Well, that's not entirely true. I've been writing for a year now - but it hasn't been on this blog.

It has been one of the most trying, rewarding, and interesting years of my life. I suppose that there will be another time to explain why but it does seem appropriate to stop and reflect on the past year.

The year started with my last semester in college. College has been an incredible experience but it's hard to give it an adequate explanation and feel like I've done it justice. While I look back and see the growth that has happened over the years, I must also recognize what made that growth possible. When graduation came, there was a flood of emotion. Feelings of accomplishment and pride, feelings of regrets and goodbyes, feelings of hope and uncertainty. Everything kind of hit at once.

After graduation I was lucky enough to find great employment. It was a new beginning with new people and new phase of life. I've done well there so far. That hasn't been the end of change though. It has happened consistently and progressively. Again, it hasn't been easy but it has been oh so worth it.

As 2014 approaches, I have to look forward. I'm in a place now that feels easy to settle. I could easily become complacent where I am. Somehow, setting the traditional "New Years Goals" feels cheap though. I've set so many in the past. Some I have accomplished but most I haven't. I think a more appropriate term may be 'principles to live by.' Maybe by setting some guiding principles I can keep myself heading in the right direction.

I've chosen to focus on 5 this year.

This is first on the list and it's not by accident. If I have learned one thing in the past year, it's been that human connection matters. It's arguably the only thing that matters. Today I walked around my grandmother's old yard. Much of it is gone. The flowerbeds and plants that she used to take care of are no longer there. Hopefully I'll see her again but it won't be in this life. Her time here was beautiful but the most beautiful part of her wasn't the flowerbeds and plants around her house. The most beautiful part of my grandmother was my grandmother's life which was made up all those she touched. Millions of small, seemingly unimportant interactions with others.  So the top of my principles to live by list this year is to love. To put myself out there. To make new friends. To make the friends I have better friends. To grow closer to my family and those I love. To forgive easier and forget quicker. To see the good in people and help others reach their goals.

I graduated with associates in degrees in accounting, financial/managerial accounting, and business from LDS Business College. I then got a bachelors in finance from the Hunstman School of Business at Utah State University. Now I'm out on my own. My employer has already expressed interest in a long term commitment. I'm not sure that's my path though. Somehow I wouldn't feel right knowing that I had a chance to get more education and not taking it. Academically, I want to get ready to take the GMAT. I'm not planning on going back to school yet but I want to be ready to when the time comes. Otherwise, I've done a fair amount of research on varying topics. The last couple of months I haven't done much of it. I think I need to pick it up again. I think successfull people keep learning. They don't need the structure of a school to keep their minds sharp and open to new ideas.

Over the past year, I've had the incredible opportunity to meet a lot of people who were willing to take down their guards and share their life with me. What I've learned is that life is messy. We don't like to show our weaknesses but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. What's more is that the most incredible people that I've met had every reason to hide their weakness and instead made a conscience decision to let it go. To forget putting up a facade and instead faced their fears of rejection and uncertainty. While it hasn't always been easy, I don't know of anyone that has regretted replacing their fears with a desire to move past them. For me, this may mean paying a price at times for something I believe in. I only hope that going forward, I have the courage to do so.

In a TED talk by Rene Brown titled "The Power of Vulnerability" the following quote is given

"Religion has gone from a belief in faith and mystery to certainty. I'm right, you're wrong. Shut up. That's it. Just certain"

On the back of my "courage" principle, I'll admit that my faith is just that - it's faith. My spirit principle is not limited to religion though. It's about feeling fulfilled in every way. I suppose that this is one of the more personal topics so I'll leave it at.

Finally, the most cliche of topics at new years makes it's way onto my list. Frankly I'm tired of typing. So I'll make it short. Be a healthy person.

I've chosen to try to live by principles by I'd love to hear what everyone is doing for 2014.

Dale out.

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The Job Hunt Continues…


What a week. Fun stuff first though. A couple of weeks ago I tried to record some video on my phone while snowboarding. It was a disaster. The GoPro POV camera are expensive but I found an alternative. The Contour Roam. Check out the videos below.

Now for the job hunt. I’ve come up with a system. See the picture at the top. In short though its 10-15 job apps per week for the 12 remaining weeks or 120-180 job applications before graduation. I figure if I throw enough mud against the wall – something ought to stick right? Here are some of the applications:

Target – MN - Reporting Analyst, Business Analyst, Marketing Analyst
Amegy Bank – TX – Fin Analyst
Allstate – TX – Financial Analyst
HP – TX – Financial Analyst

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First real job interview


By the end of the semester, I will have an  accounting certificate,IC3 certificate, Quickbooks certificate, Bloomberg Certificate, A.S. Managerial/Financial Accounting, A.S. Business, and a B.S. Finance. I’m bi-lingual and all things considered, I could have a worse resume.  In other words, I’m about at prepared as I’m going to get if I’m going to go get a job. So the hunt begins.
My first chance came with an investment banking company by the name of Goldman Sachs. If you’re familiar with the financial history of this country, you will have heard of Goldman Sachs. They currently have a running reputation as being the most prestigious investment banking company in the world. During the 2008 financial crises, they were pegged as the next big bank to fail, but ended up pulling through relatively well by diversifying into a deposit holding company.
At the suggestion of a professor I trust, I took his suggestion. Goldman Sachs has an operations division in SLC and USU is a target school for recruitment.
3 years ago, GS only hired one person from USU. 2 years ago, they hoped to get 60 applicants, interview 30, and hire 15. Instead they only got 30 applicants, interviewed all 30, and only hired 5. This year, they hoped to again get 60 applicants, 30 interview and hire 15. Instead, they got 80 applicants, interviewed 45, and planned to hire 15-20. When they email came asking for an interview, I was excited. Since the position was for an internship, to qualify, I would have to extend my college education for a semester in fall (for a summer internship).
Last friday, I showed up for “super day”. They interviewed 45 from USU – but that was just from USU. They also had applicants from a few other schools that day.
I was set for 2 interviews. The interviews went pretty well. They where mostly “will you fit in here” questions so when I was able to answer all the questions, give reasons, and even relate them to experiences on my resume, I felt pretty good about things.
Today, the email came though.
Dear Preston,
Thank you for taking the time to interview with Operations, Salt Lake City for a Summer Analyst position. After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that we will not be pursuing your application further. We are considering many strong applicants for a limited number of positions. We appreciate your interest in Goldman Sachs and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
Goldman Sachs Recruiting Team

So, what does that mean? Well, no shame in admitting that it is a bit of a let down. It some ways, its a relief though.  I get to graduate for one. Also, it doesn’t mean I’m done yet with Goldman Sachs. I saw today that they have a couple of full time analyst positions open.
So who knows, maybe I’ll end up coming out better than just an internship. Maybe I’ll get an analyst position. Or, maybe I’ll find something else. Time to start the hunt for real.
Dale Out.

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Restarting the blog


I have a love-hate relationship with this blog. On one hand, blogging in general is a great outlet. On the other hand, it can be a pain to write somewhat often. When I do write – it tends to be about ambiguous topics.
The ironic part is that even though I haven’t been posting here, I haven’t stopped writing. It continues to be a great outlet. So here is the deal. I’m going to attempt to change the purpose of this blog a little bit. It may be less thought provoking, but it will be more informative for friends and family.
The idea is to start being more open and share the day to day events that I often don’t get to (or choose not to) share otherwise.
So here is to yet another new start to blogging.

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Auld Lang Syne


It has once again been a while since I have posted on this blog. Lately, life seems complicated, confusing, and busy. Once a year though, the whole world stops. We take just a moment and reflect (albeit a bit spread out over the 24 hours). We reflect regardless of class or circumstance. We ponder on old times gone by, where we're at, and what the future may hold. For just a moment - we forget about what separates us and instead rejoice in what we have in common.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We share our memories with each other, express gratitude for the opportunity to share in each others lives. We also hug each other a little tighter, and think a little fonder of each other as we share our trials, shortcomings,  disappointments, and failures.

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine† ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

We think about those that we have lost and the friends and family that we have gained. We make plans for out futures and wonder what it will hold. For just a moment - we see what life can be and at least try not to worry about what stands in our way.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

I've tried setting resolutions in the past. I've tried setting goals in the past. Some I have accomplished by the majority of them I have failed at to some degree or another. This year - I'm letting go of some of my expectations and just enjoying the days as they come.

Happy New Years

dale out.

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My Big Secret

Truth be told, I write two types of posts, public and private. Further truth – I haven't written in either in a while. It’s a shame because writing is liberating for me. It helps me pull a single (mostly) strain of thought from everything that is bouncing around in my head. Usually, when I write in this blog, it isnt for my many many follower – (meaning my mom and maybe a few other people), but in the words of a movie I’m ashamed to quote, “And remember, this is for posterity so be honest.” In other words, I try to write so that maybe in the moments when I have my personal epiphanies, someone down the road will at least have the “should have listened to him” thought when they face the same challenges. Assuming that they are related to me, they will probably want to learn their lesson the hard way. I’m ok with that. I think life requires it. The “light at the end of the tunnel” so to speak though is knowing what to do after you’ve learned your lesson.
If you know me, you may know that like stuffing yourself at a buffet, I try to get the better of Netflix by watching more than my fair share. For the most part, I don’t actually watch what is going on. It’s my version of background music (although, I will admit its more distracting than music). Recently, I finished watching “Supernatural.” It’s a mid-day drama on TNT(?) that focuses on two brothers facing supernatural events in their quest to defeat evil. For the most part, the show consists of mediocre effects of explosions and ghosts that end in a few minutes of a interpersonal relationships between the two moments where they make some profound discovery or realization.
In one of the episodes, Dean (one of the brothers) and Tessa (a reaper) is talking to a child (Cole) who has refused to “move on” in order to stay by his mother.
“Look at her, Cole,” Tessa says. “Do you see how unhappy she is?” “That’s why I want to stay with her,” he says. “As long as she can feel you, she’ll be in pain. Cause she can’t let go,” Tessa says gently. “Because you won’t let go of her.” “Why won’t anyone tell me what’s on the other side?” Cole asks. “Maybe nobody wants to ruin the surprise,” she says. Dean smirks a little. “That’s not an answer,” Cole says. “She won’t answer you, Cole. Reapers never do,” Dean says. “But trust me - staying here is a whole lot worse than whatever’s over there.” “Why?” he asks. “Because one day your family will be gone. And there’ll be nothing left here for you,” Dean says. “It’s okay to be scared.” “I’m not scared,” Cole says quickly. “We’re all scared,” Dean says. “That’s the big secret. We’re all scared.”
That’s my big secret. I’m scared. I think we all are. (Sorry if you where reading this hoping to get some dirt on me.)
Zach, an old roommate who was a youth counselor this summer, told me a few days after I saw the episode of Supernatural that one of the speakers at the camp had made an interesting observation. The speaker asked people in the room what they did when they heard a knock at the door. The first answer was “open the door” but after some discussion a little more truth came out. Most confessed that before they even knew who was at the door they went into panic mode trying to clean the whole house in 15 seconds. The speaker asked why this was their first response. The answer came that they “didn’t want someone to think they where messy” or that they want to “make a good impression” but those where just symptoms of the disease. Fear. We are so scared of that person on the other side of the door and what they may think that we panic.
Answering the door was just one example. Nearly everything we do can be traced back to something similar. Personally, I go to school because I’m afraid of not being able to take care of my (future) family. I read the news constantly because I’m scared of the war in the middle east and the financial turmoil here in the states, I recently got a concealed license permit and a gun because I’m afraid of not being prepared if I need it. I fall into cultural norms because I’m afraid of sticking out or not being accepted. I hide my personal believes about religion, politics, social and fiscal issues, and a host of other things because I’m scared what people will think. I’m so scared of some of my personal trials that I’ve run half way across the country to try to get rid of them and they are still there. I’ll even go as far as to admit that im tempted to read journals laying in the open just to affirm to myself that other people have problems. (That’s right – go re-hide your journal when I’m in the house.)
Fear never leaves, it cold, dark, lonely, and without mercy. It’s consumed me at times and driven me to do things that I would have never though possible of myself. I’ve tried replacing it with planning, preparation, and justification. I do all of that and it hardly ever works..
What to do then? I don’t know to be honest. As I start another semester and get closer to graduating, I do all I can do. I put my head down and take a step forward. That’s the beauty of time. It never stops, never slows down, and never repeats itself (unless you have a 81’ DeLorean). It’s the constant and persistent force that pushes us all into the future together. And that’s the point. We are together. And we may all be scared, but we are together.
Think about that next time you speak with someone. They are, in some ways, in the same position you are. They are scared. They may have found hope in one way or the other, but “That’s the big secret. We’re all scared.”
-Dale out

On a slightly related note – read up on the story about “Keep Calm and Carry On” or just watch the video below.

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From the dust…

I think that if your looking, you can learn lessons from anything. Including a rocky desert.
I like to sit down with Walter every-now-and-then and explain what has been going on at work. Considering the nature of the work, we often end up talking about guinea pigs, cows, and other random farm animals. Several times, this has led to a discussion about the land that he has. If we talk about cows, he comments how he has some land he could put cows on. If we talk about goats, he has land for that. If we talk about guinea pigs, you guessed it, he has land for that too. He also talked about all the different crops he was planning on planting and the hard work he had to get the canals working to water the land. He always gets excited about it and asked me when I was going to go out there with him (its about an hour and half north of Trujillo).
I finally got to go. Here is what I saw.

Desert and rocks.

More desert and rocks. The canals here where actually built and used by the Incan civilization. Those same canals are still be used today.

That’s more desert and a whole pile of rocks. There are rocks everywhere. These piles were made by the Incans as well in preparation for farming. Call is “Large scale house cleaning.”

Yup. More rocks and desert.

This is the base of operations. The house there has a dirt floor and … yup. rocks.

Life Lesson Learned

During the visit, he made the joke several times that (roughly translated) the only thing that doesn’t grow here is whatever you don’t put in the ground.
I thought to myself “Self – I’m in a rock covered desert. There is nothing here. The canals where built 1500 years ago. I don’t know that you could pay me to own this place. The only thing I see growing is rocks!”
Then I got to thinking, this field is surrounded by sugar cane fields. Large lush green fields. At one time, those fields looked just like his.
Here is the part I started thinking “cup half full” and I learned something. If the guy next to Walter had turned a desert into a green sugar cane field, then why shouldn’t this be a field of endless possibilities of cows, goats, guinea pigs, corn, sugar, or whatever else you can dream up. Like he said, the only thing that doesn’t grow is what you don’t put in the ground.
The grass isnt always greener on the other side, it just take some work on your side and there is no reason why life can be just as good on either side of the bridge.

Enjoy the rest of the pictures from the day.
Dale out.

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Huaca del Luna y Sol…. Finally

I did it. I finally made it. After weeks of trying to get to Huaca del Luna y Sol. These structures are another set from the Moche culture in northern Peru. We (Alessandra and I) met up with Lauren and Jayde (from the orphanage) and headed out. Enjoy the pictures.

All of these pictures are from the Huaca del Sol. The Huaca del Luna is about a 200 meters away and is not open to the public yet.

This in the entrance the temple/pyramid. Always on the North side. you can see the ramp leading up to the entrance. The pyramid is about 8 stories high. The pavilion covers the arena where the blood sacrifices where made.

The hole in the wall there was the entrance. All the paint is original. As in from nearly 2000 years ago.

On the bottom right are the warriors that won. They are carrying all the clothes and weapons of the ones that lost. The figures on the bottom left are the ones that are lost, naked, and be lead with a rope around their neck. The priest (on top) would slice their nice and collect their blood to be sacrificed.

The pictures on this door tells the story of every day life.

Original paint. The figure in the middle is of the “Mountain God” which is the highest deity and is the one that required the blood sacrifice.

The mound in the distance is the Huaca del Sol. What is in between was the “City” where the common folk lived and worked.

And this, well this is just some really good food.

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Aldea Infantil Orphanage in Santa Rosa

This was one of those days that makes all the rest of them worth it.
After discovering that we had “lost” 60 cuyes in 2 weeks time, we decided to scrap some of our other ideas to recover the project and sell them as fast as we could.
Bro. and Sis. Gill Greer are here in Trujillo doing humanitarian work. He volunteered to buy the guinea pigs for about 1/3 the normal cost. To avoid further further loses, we sold 133 guinea pigs to him who immediately delivered them to the “Alea Infantil” Orphanage in Santa Rosa. We go to tag along for some of the fun. Enjoy the pictures.

You wan to know what they all wanted to know from me?
If I knew Justin Bieber.
Then they started to sing his songs to me.

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The Day the Donkey Yelled Back….

The first time we went to Huancaquito, it was an eye-opener. Dirt roads, little running water or electricity, and houses with dirt floors. Life there depends on the land. Nearly everyone works in the fields. The main mode of transport seems to be by donkey. After the first time, it has been more frustrating than interesting. We have two business there.
The first one is a guinea pig farm. This project has been going for nearly 2 years and has yet to make a single payment. Guinea pigs have disappearing from this place like magic.He says that they are dying but doesn’t have any bodies to show for it.
The second place is a bakery that will be completing their loan terms this month. Their accounting records are a nightmare and introducing a new idea is next to impossible. Since everyone there works in the fields, paydays usually come around the 15th and the 30th. To facilitate sells, much of the bread is sold on credit until they can pay at the end of month. They have a notebook where they write down each day who bought bread on credit. The problem is that there is no enforcement to pay. People pay on their accounts, but they consistently have a balance of S/. 100 . To further complicate things, they only write down first names. That means that if ‘Carlos’ comes in to buy bread, no one really knows who ‘Carlos’ is.

Back to Huancaquito

Last week we headed out to Huancaquito again. Elena had to run an errand so we went a little bit ahead of her. There is a cab service that runs between Viru and Hauncaquito for S/. 3 that we used to get out there. A short, cramp, bumpy, taxi ride later, we arrived at the Cuye farm. Much to our surprise, in 2 weeks time, Carlos had ‘lost’ 60 cuyes. When he only had 180 to begin with, that was a large chunk.

After counting, we started walking the 2 miles back towards town.
Walking back to town…
On the way back, there was a donkey tied up on the side of the road. he was giving me a pretty nasty look so, being in the middle of nowhere – I decided to let him have a piece of my mind.
He didn’t like that.
The Day the Donkey Yelled Back
ok. He actually may have scared me a little bit when he first started ‘yelling’ back.


We finally got back to town and headed over to the bakery. I wanted a water and that’s when I realized it. My wallet was gone. Drivers license, debit card, etc. all gone. not to be found anywhere. By this time, Elena had caught up with us. Elena and I walked back to the Taxis. They called the driver we had used and he said that he didn’t see anything in the back of the cab but there had been someone else  back there. Long story short – there was a fat chance of ever seeing it again.
We headed back to the bakery and started working with them. My mind was obviously else where but we finally started making some head-way with them. We convinced them of the problem with credit sales and worked on a new system for them to use. We also discussed goals for after they had paid of their loan.
Three or four hours later, we headed back towards the taxis. We started to climb in a Taxi and then decided to take a last ditch effort and ask one of the locals if they knew the person that had gotten in the cab after us. Of course they didn’t. Twenty minutes later we headed back towards the taxi’s.
In a one in a million chance, the same taxi that had taken us in the morning had returned and was sitting there waiting on people to take back to Viru. After talking to him a moment, we climbed back in the taxi and waited for a few more people to show up before we left (have to have at least 5 people in the cab before it will leave). Out of remorse I sat in the same seat I had sat in that morning. While we where waiting, I started looking around. The cab was so small, my legs where kind of bent up. That ment my pocket was kind of upside down. I thought, “yep, that’s probably what happened. It probably just fell right out of my front pocket.” Then I realized there was pocket in the door. With a brief moment of hope I thrust my hand in to see if by chance my wallet had made the leap from my pocket to the door. No joy. All hope of seeing my wallet was gone.
Then it happened. I stuck my hand back in the door pocket and there it was! My wallet! Can you believe it?!?!
Not a bad day after all;)
Dale Out.

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Huaca Cao Viejo


Culture Fail… Sorry

God bless the Latino culture but punctuality and dependability is not one of their strengths. A couple  of weeks ago, I had planned to go see the Huacas del luna y sol. Before we went, some of the chicos from work asked if we had seen the sights around Trujillo yet and we told them that we were planning on it. They said they would like to go so we decided to delay our plans a week so that they could go with us.

Of course, when the time came – they where no where to be seen so Alessandra and I took of to see Chan Chan instead. The following week, I had plans to go with some friends from church to Huaca de Cao Viejo. Once again – when time came, no one was to be seen or heard from. Instead of spending another Saturday in the house, I decided to strike out on my own and finally go the Huacas del Sol y Luna by myself.

After getting to the Plaza de Armas (where all the tour offices are) I was approached by a women offering tours but the tours to the Huacas del Sol y Luna had already left. I decided to check a few other places to see if I could find one that hadnt left. After going to a few more places, I gave up and admitted defeat. Today was not going to be the day I got to see the Huacas del Sol Y Luna either. I decided instead to book a tour to Huaca Cao Viejo that left a few hours later.

With a few hours to kill, I headed first to replace my pair of ‘authentic’ Oakley sunglasses. Afterwards, I took a seat in the plaza de armas to wait out the time until the tour started.

New Friends

As I sat down, a few girls about my age – dressed in white scrubs walked by and sat down a few meters from me. At the same time, an older gentleman walked up to them offering to sell them gum because he ‘couldn’t work because he wasn’t from around here but wanted to return home.’ They politely declined which ushered him onto his next client, me. He approached as started immediately into his pitch. I nodded my head as he explained. After explaining, he stopped mid-sentence and asked if I spoke any Spanish to which I (in Spanish) told him that I did not. It was his turn to nod in acknowledgement as he turned in search of his next customer.

The two girls that had walked by previously looked at me in amazement. They said something to the effect of “You speak Spanish don’t you?” I was caught, so I laughed and told them I did. With in seconds,  I had made 2 new friends who wanted to take pictures with the Spanish speaking Gringo in Trujillo. They asked a chico nearby to snap picture of us all together.

After they had left, the chico came back and I made my 3rd friend for the day. He was about 17 and from a small village in the big city visiting some family.

Then the time came for the tour and I headed back towards the office. I was a little early. There I made my 4th friend. The girl who had sold me my ticket. Yeah, we are Facebook friends now.

When the time came she lead me over the office where they all the different tour shops send their clients. This central office coordinates the tours and the others only take a commission. There, I made my 5th friend for the day.  It was the lady who had first approached me in the morning. She gave me grief and explained that since she was the coordinator she can always give me much lower prices than the rest.

Huaca Cao Viejo


At last I was on my way to Huaca Cao Viejo in the Huaca del Brujo complex.

Its about an 1.5 hour drive north the complex. When we got there, we where the only ones there. While Huaca Cao Viejo has been known for some time, it was only in 2006 that the queen was discovered and the huaca became a major find with the funding to match.

The Huacas are Temples from the Culture Mochic from around 100-800 AD. Under all that dirt lies a pyramid of ancient brick. They would literally build new temples on top of the old ones when a new ruler took hold. The purpose of this was so that they could rule standing on what their ancestors had built.

A few days before I got there, National Geographic had brought a crew of a few hundred people out to film a segment. This temple (along with others in the mochik culture)2012-03-03_17-57-51_332 have been called the Temple of Doom. In the picture – you can faintly see images of people painted on the wall in this picture. 2012-03-03_18-30-23_788

After a battle, the captors would be led naked to a priest here. He would slit their throats in front of everyone and a priestess would catch their blood in a cup and present it to the queen for offering to the god of the mountains. The captors where then quartered and the bones where stripped of meat. The bones where then burried in the temple under painting of the Mountain God dancing. Pretty messed up right? With that in mind, take a look at some of the other pictures and see if you can fill in the rest of the story.




Meet the Queen. She was in her early 20’s when she died. (Probably in child birth).


This is where she was found. Men and Women where equally powerful in this culture (which sounded really weird to the Spaniards when they got here. The th other holes next to her contained “volunteers” to assist her transition into the spirit world. That included a couple of kids and a man in his 20’s. (not her husband.)


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The Sandman


When the summer students come to prepare projects, they stay in the Hotel Libratadores at the Plaza de Armas. In that hotel, they have a bar. At that bar, works a boy. The boy that works at the bar at the hotel at the plaza de armas where the students stay is in love with Alessandra. He had been asking her to stop by for a free frozen lemonade since we got here. After our Chan Chan adventure, we decided to do just that.

At that bar, I met Rich. He took my Bar Talkginity. (yes mom – I just said that.)

Rich Varano2012-03-04_01-12-41_56 is a Grandmaster Sand Sculpter. This is a picture of this business card that he gave me. His website is www.SultansOfSand.com .

Rick was (coincidently) working as a bar tender when he got word of a job at Sea World. Growing up in Florida, he had been carving sand castles all his life. When he heard that there was a chance he could get paid for doing something he loved, he jumped at it. Long story short is that a few years later, he had created a solid new program at Sea World. From there, one thing led to another and he now has a network of sand sculptors all over the world. He now contracts out most of his work.

Don’t worry though, he still gets around. The picture to the right was a sand caste carved in New Amsterdam.

The reason he was in a bar in a hotel in Trujillo Peru was because a Bank had asked him to judge an annual amateur sand sculpting contest that was being held in Huachuca this year.

It’s amazing the people you meet traveling. It makes you look at your own life a little differently. Like an adventure.

And that’s how my bar talkginity was taken.

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