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Day 122 - Found the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida)

COLOMBIA | Saturday, 18 October 2014 | Views [227]

Another early, brisk but sticky, damp start to the day. All our stuff was still wet but we were all excited to find the Lost City so nobody was really too bothered for too long.

We left around 6.15am and trekked for about 1.5 hours to what was the ancient city of Teyuna - now Ciudad Perdida. It was a nice little jungle scramble to find the lost city but not as difficult as it had been talked up to be. Even if we had to walk up 1200 muddy steep stairs it was all part of the adventure.

We got to spend a good 3-4 hours at Teyuna however the exact facts about the workings of this ancient empire are a little sketchy, largely as a result of Cesar's poor translation & tendency to totally make shit up. From what I understand around 600AD the City was the social, economic, cultural & political hub of pre-spanish Colombia. While the Spanish never actually discovered Teyuna, the diseases they brought with them to Cartagena were passed on to the inhabitants of the city which led to its demise around 1000AD.

As well as our time at the site we were fortunate enough to have the Shaman of the Coguis (one of the  three semi-nomadic indigenous tribes), Rumaldo, invite us to visit his village. We spent a while there as he explained their lifestyle, beliefs, the significance of the Poporo & the sharing of energy that comes from the woods (Bosque), the sky (Cielo), the flowers (Flores) and the night (la noche). He explained that their pointy white hats are a map of the Sierra Nevada, the pointed top being the peaks & the bottom strands representing the beach. The entire time he was chewing coca leaves claiming (as he used a straw to push calcified snail powder and leaves to the back of his mouth) that this enabled him to see the future. 

The chewing of the coca leaves is however an inherent part of tribal life for Coguis men. When they reach 16 or 18 they are given a Poporo by the tribe Shaman which contains calcified snail powder, the straw and a small calcifying growth mounted above a small phallic shaped pumpkin bulb (gord). Upon receiving this they must marry and it is then the woman's responsibility to collect and dry the coca leaves for her husband. He chews constantly and the saliva, snail powder & coca juice are then rubbed onto the mound above the gord to grow prosperity & fertility. 

After stopping back at camp for lunch we were able to dry off a bit before walking another four hours or so to the next camp. We settled in around 5.30pm, played more cards, ate another giant dinner & then laid on the grass outside laughing at Cesarisms & spotting shooting stars.

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