So I´m on vacation. I should not be blogging. I should be out seeing and doing and drinking and eating. Except, I did all of those things for a while today and now I´m pooped. Quizas una siesta pequena y despues mas aventuras.
I love traveling alone for a number of reasons to be explained at some other time, but one of the challenges is that all of my brilliant observations go unnoticed. If a thought is had in the forest but no one is there to hear it, was it really as insightful as I thought it was? Por ejemplo, I just finished Mark Adams´travelogue Turn Right at Machu Picchu about his own trek through Inca country, the history of the empire (which reached 10 million people at its height) and the ´discoverer´ of Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham.
Do you know what I underlined throughout the book? The ladies. Oh my God, the ladies. You are all rolling your eyes right now, like….duh, Emily is all about the womens, but seriously you guys, it was like half a book was missing. It´s not Adams´ fault, history is written by the winners as we all know, and winning, in all of its measurable forms (think elected seats, published articles, coronations, etc) has been traditionally male. But there were at least half a dozen times throughout the book where a woman was mentioned in passing, and I was like, Wait, Mark, don´t stop now, what´s her story?? Por ejemplo,
- Annie S. Peck – She was a mountaineer in the early 1900s who was ostenisbly racing Hiram Bingham to the top of record breaking South American peaks. This is 1912 we´re talking about here. She also got a masters from University of Michigan in Greek in 1881. She became known not for scaling Matterhorn, but because she wore pants while doing it. When she got to the top of Mt. Coropuna, she planted a flag that said ¨Women´s Vote.¨ How have I never heard of this chick?
- Cura Occlo – She was the wife (and sister) of Manco Inca. She was captured by Gonzalo Pizarro (allegedly the nastiest of the conquistadores). When Manco rebelled against the Spanish (he was the puppet kin), he steals Cura back and they escape into the jungle from whence they battled the Spanish for years. All does not end well for Cura, however, she was captured again in 1539, raped and tortured, and finally executed in a public square before her body was sent to Manco via basket down the river (or so says the legend).
- Dona Angelina Yupanqui - She was the child pride of Atahualpa, the Inca king killed by the Spanish after the most famous failed ransom attempt of all time. She became the mistress of Pizarro (by choice? doubtful, who knows…) and bore him two sons. When he was killed, she married Juan de Batanzos, who wrote the early classic Narrative of the Incas.
- Alfreda Bingham – Hiram´s wife´s fortune bankrolled most of his adventures. From Hiram´s letters to her, it was clear that he confided in her about his exploratory insecurities. After raising seven sons while he was off adventuring (wonder how she felt about that…), they divorced in 1937. She eventually remarried a composer.
I want a biography apiece on each of these ladies. Pronto! Seriously though, they each get a few footnoted mentions in the biographies of their male contemporaries, but there are clearly volumes that could be written on each of them.
Off to the Inca Trail tomorrow. Stay safe and wish me luck!