[Sorry, people, you are destined to forever be subjected to at least a day, if not two or three, lag in information about my life. I can’t type fast enough, nor do I want to type long enough, to write up everything that happens every day. So, too bad for you, and for me, since I dearly love to blog, but information has its limits.]
First, let me tell you that my Peru guidebook urges everyone, “don’t miss [Lima]!” It needs an addendum: Don’t miss Lima, but don’t stay too long either. While both Father and I enjoyed our time in Lima, we agree that two days are long enough to spend under this sky, an eternal, misty dawn without a sunrise. We glimpsed the sun for a grand total of 5 minutes: on Saturday as it dipped below the cloudy, foggy layer that is Lima’s ceiling, before it plunged in to the ocean, as if to escape its grey prison.
We stayed two full days and four nights in Lima.
Day the First:
Plaza de Armas – The large town square a few blocks down from our hotel is surrounded on four sides with imposing and beautiful buildings, including the Palacio del Gobierno, where the president resides.
Monasterio de San Francisco – This monastery named after Saint Francis of Assisi overflows with 16th and 17th century massive paintings, painted tile, ornate cedar ceilings, intricately carved wooden seats, and gilded altars. Below it, in catacomb-like fashion, are thousands of bones of various monks and townspeople, frequently arranged in patterns made of all one type of bone.
Parque de la Muralla – We stumbled upon this park by accident. Our brief stroll through it revealed some ancient city walls, bougainvillea-covered trellises, and rather a lot of couples in very close proximity to each other.
Plaza de San Martin – Bright yellow buildings surround most of this plaza.
Jirón de la Unión – People flow constantly and thickly through this five- or six-block, pedestrians only street. Shops and restaurants of all kinds are crammed into every space available. Here, after asking around, we purchased a SIM card for my phone.
Museo Andés de Castillo – For me the highlight of this museum of rocks, minerals, and some artifacts, all found in Peru, is the building in which it is house. The enormous restored house is painted white and light green on the inside, has beautiful trim and ironwork, and is filled with natural light.
Domus – My favorite restaurant of our days in Lima, Domus offers a three-course meal with several different options for each course. I had a somewhat Italian chicken roll dish while Dad ate tacu tacu, a traditional beans, rice, and beef concoction. The beverage is always a fresh juice of some kind; ours was an applecidery sort (made with boiled water, I confirmed).
Dédalo – We browsed in this modern, local crafts shop for a good 45 minutes. It offers everything from furniture to mugs to alpaca jackets to coasters.
Antica Trattoria – This Italian restaurant has menu at least 20 pages long. We had mushroom pizza and pesto pizza, but we could have eaten calzones, bruschetta, or gnocchi, if we had so desired.
Day the Second:
LAN Office – In the morning we found the LAN airlines office on the Plaza de Armas to print my boarding pass for Sunday.
Palacio de Gobierno – As we left the LAN office, we noticed people crowding around the wrought iron fence in front of the presidential residence. We watched the changing of the blue and red uniformed, duck stepping guard to triumphant music. Something else probably happened after we left, since a local news agency arrived, but we got bored with ten minutes of no change in the uniform posture of the guards.
Museo de la Nación – We came to this museum for the Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s exhibit on the conflict and strife from in Peru from the 80s to 2000, which Dad really wanted to see. While it was good (in the sense that it was well done, not to say that the events it documented were within a thousand miles of commendable), I enjoyed the traveling National Geographic photo exhibit on the discovery of Machu Picchu more. The striking black and white photographs transported you right back to the early 1900s, when the crazy young guy, Bingham, from Yale, trekked into the Andes in search of a fabled Incan ruin. I can’t say I spent more than seven minutes in the exhibit, but I did appreciate the material even with my brief perusal of its contents. I never stay long in museums anyways.
Huaca Huallamarca – A “highly restored” (according to my Peru book) adobe pyramid, this 50 or 60-foot high thing rises right out of the middle of the city. It is really random. We stayed about five minutes, as there was not really much to see or do, other than walk up the pyramid and soak in the bizarreness of it all.
Mi Causa – This restaurant specializes in causas, traditional Peruvian mashed potato salad dishes. Basing my assumptions on our two dishes, I would say that if you mash the strangest potatoes you can find, maybe add some puréed something to the potatoes, put a mayonnaise-based filling with other stuff between layers of the mashed potato, and encircle the whole thing with vegetables or meat or whatever you feel like, you would have a causa. They were not too bad.
Puruchuco – We finally mostly escaped the city to see these very restored ruins of an Incan fort sort of place like a tiny, walled town, complete with a guinea pig farming area and a square for trading. The mountainous hill near which it is build is totally devoid of any green plant. It is just rock. It appears almost looks volcanic.
Malecón – We wandered around on this clean, open-air, somewhat high-end shopping and dining complex situated on the cliffs above the Pacific for about an hour.
Norky’s – We ate at this sit-down–fast-food-rotisserie-chicken-and-fries place for our final supper in Lima. It was delicious! And Dad finally partook of the necessary and traditional alcoholic beverage, the pisco sour.
And that, people, was basically our Lima experience!
On Sunday we got up at 3:30 am to take a taxi to the airport, where started his journey home and I flew to Cusco – more about Cusco in my next post!