Thursday, April 14, 2011

Travel Report: 2011 LAPT Lima, Pregame

Huaca PucllanaGreat fun last night at the welcome party thrown by PokerStars to kick off LAPT Lima. While there was much food and drink to be sampled and lots of socializing to do as well with players and staff, the highlight was getting to learn a little more about Lima culture, circa 400 A.D.

No, we weren’t given lectures or made to watch educational films. Rather, the party took place at the Restaurant Huaca Pucllana, located amid some truly stunning adobe and clay pyramids built by the area’s inhabitants some 15 or so centuries ago. Part ceremonial, part functional, the structures were built by the clergy both to further their authority as well as part of an extensive canal system drawing on the nearby Rimac river.

The entire series of pyramids was apparently buried underneath hills until discovered relatively recently. Dr. Pauly, Reinaldo, Shirley, Sos, and I took a brief tour of the ruins, and our guide explained how excavation only began in 1981 and is still ongoing.

“Pucllana” or “pucllay” means “game,” actually, and so “Huaca Pucllana” means a place for games or rituals. Like I say, the place apparently had both a kind of symbolic value, with various ceremonies (including sacrifices) helping further the religious authority of the clergymen who had the pyramids built, and was functional, too, by drawing on hydrological resources from the river. Was a place of trade, too, so the Huaca Pucllana was kind of an administrative center, too.

Was an eerie scene, the quiet and dark contrasting with the lights, music, and voices emanating from the restaurant. We took our time, snapping pictures while marveling to each other about at the sheer magnitude of the structures.

Huaca PucllanaThe pyramids are closely surrounded by modern apartment buildings -- indeed, we were told a good portion of the Huaca Pucllana were destroyed by developers. Made for another weird bit of discontinuity to see those buildings rising up beyond the borders of the (now government-protected) site, although there was a strange peace to be had amid the old being foregrounded and the new held off at a distance.

Pauly took a short video of the scene. Take a look:

Got back to the hotel at a reasonable hour and finally got some much needed snooze time. Have a few things to take care of this morning as we prepare for Day 1 of the event. Sounds like they’re hoping for as many as 400 this time around. I imagine much of our focus early on will be upon the returning champ, Jose “Nacho” Barbero, who came here last June and won his second straight LAPT title. I saw some references to that achievement among those reports that the amazing Vanessa Selbst had won the NAPT Mohegan Sun event last night -- a back-to-back for her, too!

Dr. PaulyHead over to the PokerStars blog later today where Pauly (pictured at left) and I will be reporting on all of the action from Lima.

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Blogger Pauly said...

I am officially a former shadow of myself.

4/14/2011 9:51 AM  

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