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  Field Notes From
Inca Rescue



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From Author

Guillermo A. Cock



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From Photographer

Ira Block



In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Ira Block
 

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Inca Rescue

Field Notes From Photographer
Ira Block
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The archeologists started to dig when I first arrived at the village outside Lima. They promised to find all sorts of things. “Sure!” I thought. I had heard that from other archeologists in the past. What they think is usually terrific is not very photogenic: a broken piece of something, or part of a bone. I stopped in the village to get a Coke, and someone called me to come to the site. Willy Cock, the archaeologist, wanted to show me something. When I got there, they had excavated a fabulous-looking mummy bundle, totally intact. It’s what they call a falsa falsa, a false-head bundle. It was just incredible. I was finally going to photograph something that was not only intact, but that looked great and would make a fabulous picture.



The traffic was a surprisingly bad experience for me. It always took us 45 minutes to an hour to make the 20-mile (32- kilometer) daily trip from the hotel in Lima to the village. I live in New York City, where the traffic’s bad, but this made the New York traffic look like a walk in the park. Drivers were terrible; everyone cut each other off. I was surprised there were no accidents.The cars were fairly modern, but I don’t think they had pollution devices on them. There was always haze and smog and carbon dioxide in the air.



My Peruvian assistant, Mario Vildósola, joined me and Willy Cock, the archaeologist, for lunch at a Chinese restaurant. There are a lot of Chinese restaurants in Lima, and my assistant particularly likes those with a buffet where he can eat tons of food. We were sitting at the table when all of a sudden he started to itch. Blotches started to break out on his face, and he started to swell. We rushed him to the emergency room, where doctors determined that he was having an allergic reaction to shrimp. He’d eaten a lot of shrimp in the past, but somehow he was allergic this time. A day later he was fine, but he doesn’t eat shrimp anymore.





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