Savages we call them, because their manners differ from ours.

Benjamin Franklin

“Remarks concerning the Savages of North America”

It was obvious that there was more to this trip than just the codices. Now knowing who to trust, Robert decided to investigate on his own. He opened the desk drawer and removed the phone book. After several calls, an agency that had four-wheel drive jeeps reserved one for the following morning. It would be delivered to the hotel for a slight extra charge.

Robert rolled up the map that Willie had used to show him the site location.

Willie had gone home hours earlier, knowing that Robert would be working late again. The night was crisp and the hotel not too far, so Robert decided to walk.

[note: Local flavor]

As he walked into the lobby, the manager told him there was a young lady waiting for him in the bar.

It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the change of light. When he could focus again, he saw the black hair swing around and greet him with luminous eyes that hadn’t changed in twenty years.

“Hello, Diana.”

“Hi, Robert.”

“I’m glad you came back. There are a few questions...”

“Not now, Robert. Please. Sit here.”

She gently patted the seat next to her, without making any more room. He sat, keeping his distance.

“Roby, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be such a bitch before. It’s been pretty crazy down here. You were my first... real friend. I didn’t want us to turn into enemies. The fact is, I wasn’t only surprised to see you, I was very glad. Please forgive me.”

He could see a tired look he hadn’t noticed before. For the moment, she was no longer superwoman, but an insecure little girl. Old feelings began to stir. As much as he had loved Ilene, it had been different. Diana’s fire was one of his greatest memories. Maybe...

“I wasn’t really angry with you. Well... maybe just a bit disappointed. There’s nothing to forgive. I’m glad you came by again. It’s good to see you.”

She looked at him coyly and asked, “Do you have an early morning planned?”

“I’m going to meet Dr. Quintero around eleven. Why?”

Diana looked at the candle in the center of the table, turned her head slowly and met his inquisitive glance head-on.

“Why don’t you order another drink, Roby. Have the waiter bring it to your room.”

His hesitation lasted only a moment. The light in his eyes was the only response necessary.

The next thing he knew, they were in his room kissing.

Room service briefly interrupted their reverie. Signing the bill, Robert walked back to the picture window overlooking late night Cuzco, the lights twinkling like jewels far below. Handing one of the drinks to Diana, he toasted in mock cheer, “To old friends, Diana.”

She stepped forward without drinking and whispered, “To lovers, Roby.”

Robert stared at her intently, then slowly smiled. He took her glass and placed both on the table behind him. When he turned to face her again, Diana had opened her blouse. She silently moved closer and kissed him. They embraced tightly and caressed each other, her scent transporting him to his youth and a time when life was more than just old books.

As they kissed, he was struck by the surreal sensation of exploring well-known territory afresh, all the while knowing that each spark, every small and subtle electric charge that passed between them was new and yet not new.

They fell together like what they were – long lost lovers – his strong hands on her, trying to find through an imperfect flesh the far-off familiar responses, while she sought her release through him, at first timorously and then with the same rapacious passion she had felt in plundering the once-sacred tombs.

As their clothing fell from them like wind-whipped leaves and their sweat mingled into a single intoxicating scent, they discovered with surprise and fresh delight that each touch, each caress brought with it a certain heightened sense of awareness.

Here was desire matured, for the intervening years had not diminished the passion but had only served to give it new dimensions.

Excitement, like an enormous shock, passed between them, as slowly and with care, he brought her closer to the edge of passion. She lingered at that edge for a moment, then with a tiny gasp, she was over it, carrying him along in her fall, like a cascade of stars in the sheltering mantle of twilight.

Diana slept contentedly, Robert’s arms still around her. His thoughts reliving all their yesterdays, times that could have been and never were. There were so many questions to ask her. They could wait a little while longer.

Dawn came sooner than it should have, bringing a new day and the harsh reality of where he was and why. Why? Now, he would look for answers that were not to be found in books, old or otherwise.

Pulling his arm gently free, Robert kissed Diana’s forehead and quietly got out of bed, tucking her back in.


Robert meets with Dr. Quintero and takes a ride to the new settlements being built by the Indians that have come down from the mountains for the city.

Diana goes with them and meets Quintero for the 1st time?

Conversation between Robert and Señor Quintero

Once they are here, they trade goods amongst themselves on the basis of contract law.

They are in every business necessary for survival and growth. What you have is a city with three times the population of twenty years ago and much of the city operates under its own informal economy, unofficially.

These people that come down from the hills run about sixty percent of the country in a very democratic fashion. Even when we were under the dictatorship from 1968 to 1980, we of the formal sector were not allowed to elect local officials, they did. We are very tightly linked to the state and the privileges it hands out, but we pay for those privileges by occasional lack of democratic representation. They are much better suited to survive. They have been able to do it without an external public debt. We of the formal sector of Peru owe more than eleven billion dollars to foreign governments and banks. They owe nothing to anyone. They built almost eight billion dollars worth of housing.

They may owe nothing to anyone, but it is far from paradise. They are not on the government books. Officially, they do not exist. In a makeshift factory on a garbage dump, they turn broken bottles into vases. Garbage into profit.

They are no longer dying from actual starvation, but they still die from diseases that stem from poor food and too little of it. So for a few soleis (?soleus) the mothers make sure there is at least one balanced meal a day. Pitching in with their neighbors means they can buy in bulk. They either unite or go under.

Everything that isn’t grey is brown. It rains about once every seven years. There is no sewage treatment or disposal, no electricity and no piped water. They don’t qualify. They have not reached the status of what the government calls a “community of human beings”.

Much of their life depends on things you and I take for granted. Light at the flick of a switch. Water at the turn of a tap.

They fetch water bucket by bucket and yet they smile. Just being there is a big step forward. They’ve started work on a proper water supply. Now, they must raise money for pumps. They have to persuade the city electricity board to run power cables to the pumps. If that happens, it will amount to official recognition that these people and their homes exist.

The suburb is named after the Inca prince, Tupal Amaru.


Codex – Book VI


Cortes enteres Mexico

Discuss religious conflicts

Moctezuma stoned by his own people

“Friendship” of Cortes?

Tenochitlan is razed

Itzan flees to his homeland

F I R S T - P R E V I O U S - N E X T

Jose Rosa

Jose Rosa

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Recent Articles

  • No comments found