Friday, 16 January 2015

Saved by the name

 Who was the inspiration for Indiana Jones?

George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg are said to have modelled him on their childhood action heroes: matinee idols like Charlton Heston playing Harry Steele in Secret of the Incas, and pulp fiction adventurers like Doc Savage.  

There are some real life candidates too: British explorer Percy Fawcett who disappeared in 1925 searching for El Dorado in the uncharted jungles of Brazil, or Hiram Bingham, famous for rediscovering and excavating the lost city of Machu Picchu.

Wherever he came from, Indy´s look is now iconic, and I like to think that someone, somewhere was channeling tio Hernan - especially when I see photos like this one.

The fedora, the battered leather jacket, it’s all here and something tells me our young artist relished the sartorial aspect of being a roving archaeologist. The only thing that’s missing is the bullwhip.

But the bohemian adventurer look is not to everyone’s taste. Tello and his team garnered a certain amount of fame and were held in high esteem throughout Peru. But when travelling incognito, as was often the case, they sometimes drew disapproving looks from the more conservative members of provincial communities.

In these smaller towns and villages, with their entrenched social hierarchies, appearances mattered. What´s more, some people reveled in their role as big fish in small ponds, and took full advantage of their position -  as you will see in this story.

 fig 1

Saved by the name
 In which our adventurers ruffle the feathers of the local powers that be

When we arrived in Abancay it was already after three in the afternoon and lunch was no longer being served at the Chifa Hotel. Nevertheless, the owner very kindly sent for some food to be prepared for us.

Meanwhile, an energetic drinking competition was in full swing in the hotel bar, with much brotherly shouting and slapping of backs. And judging by the rosy hue on the faces of the participants, a very cordial time indeed was being had by all.