Friday, March 14

Lima, Peru

(see map) mike: We visited Lima on our way to the ultimate Peruvian destination, Machu Picchu. We spent two and a half days in the large metropolis. Eight million, roughly one third of the country's population lives in the capital city. It is divided into 50 neighborhoods many of which are called Joven Pueblos (young towns) populated by people migrating from the countryside. These areas are built without planning on the outskirts and often lack electricity and running water. We stayed in a fashionable neighborhood called Miraflores. The owner of our hostel, Angelo, greeted us with a brief lesson in Peruvian history and outlined an agenda for our time in Lima. Then we were on our way.

Our first stop was lunch. While in Lima we ate ceviche daily. It was so... good. Corn nuts are served as a pre-meal snack. The corn nuts are made fresh at the restaurant and they are a thousand times better than the ones in the bag at home. We also tried chicha morada, a drink made from black corn. It is a sweet bright purple drink that is suppose to aid digestion. Corn plays a big part in Peruvian food both on the coast and in the highlands.

Then we walked out to the cliffs over looking the Pacific Ocean which are lined with parks and restaurant. One of the parks is called Lovers Park and true to its name, there were many young couples sitting along the mosaic walls.

Brave tourist can paraglide on the thermals rising off of the cliffs. There were people of all skill levels trying their luck the afternoon we were there.

The next day we visited the central district. The first stop was the Convento de San Francisco where we toured the church and the catacombs below. The catacombs were claustrophobic and a little creepy. All of the bones have been neatly arranged in different formations.

Next we walked to the Plaza del Armes to watch the changing of the guards. It was a long elaborate presentation which they do everyday. It drew a large crowd of both foreign tourists and Peruvians.

It seemed like nearly every car in Lima is a taxi. Apparently, because of the high unemployment and underemployment many people become taxi drivers. Despite the high gas prices in Peru (some of highest in the world) taxi rides are very cheap. Supply and demand.

Next, we had lunch at a restaurant run by a French order of nuns. The food was excellent and the nuns were so genuinely nice. While there we noticed that everyone around us was using the Lonely Planet Peru book. That was how we all found the same out of the way restaurant inside the nunnery. This happens all the time, Lonely Planet Syndrome.

After lunch we happen upon a Palm Sunday procession with a band, incense and the whole deal. It was the first procession I had seen outside of the movies. Thirty two men strained under the heavy load and would take breaks between each song.

While in Lima we also visited a pre-Incan ruin. We're not including pictures because we have many pictures of ruins to come. At the Natural History Museum we tried to get up to speed on the ancient cultures: both Inca and pre-Inca.

Last stop was the beach which you can see was very crowded. Sadly, it was also very dirty and polluted though it does not seem to deter the locals.


Tim said...

enjoying the blog!
looks like fun, missing out on some great cube action here at work :?


Janelle said...

I thought you were eating bugs when I saw the first pic of the corn pics. I was like "Go Trin!" Corn nuts are good too. ;-)

Janelle said...

oops, corn nuts, not pics. Worked late tonight, I'm tired and can't write. Hope you guys are having a blast. Miss ya!

Brent said...

Tan cuidado con el chupacabra. Es viendo a todos ustedes.