On Lima, Peru

I am so glad I’ve finally come to Lima. I arrived this morning on the red-eye from Miami, and took off to see a pre-Inca ruin called Huaca Pucllana in the middle of the Miraflores township of Lima, which rises almost two hundred feet above the surrounding buildings. A huge mound of hand-made adobe bricks, the bricks are stacked vertically with space between them to fight the earthquake problem so common in this coastal city. This “pyramid” was totally unknown thirty years ago and three pre-Incan peoples occupied this sacred space. The people of Lima had collectively forgotten what it was and thought it was just a large, dusty (or muddy) hill in Miraflores. On a short tour we got to experience first hand all of the plants, fruits, and vegetables that the local people had eaten or sacrificed on this spot. We also got to meet, first hand, the famous Peruvian Cuy, Llamas, and Alpacas–live and in the flesh. Later, we went down to the ocean front to check out the beautiful Pacific before going to the most excellent ceviche lunch you have ever had. We stopped in at a sidewalk terrace for some well-deserved espressos afterward. Since there is no rest for the wicked or the foolish, we then got onto our tour bus to head downtown to the Plaza Mayor and check out the center of Lima. We visited (or observed from a distance) the city hall, the president’s mansion, the archbishop’s house, the cathedral, a Franciscan monastery (which had an enormously interesting bone pile underneath it), and the largest private museum of native indigenous artifacts that exists in Peru. We finally got back to the hotel for a bite of dinner around 7:30 p.m. Big thanks to Millennium Travel of Texas who had us controlled and directed from airport to hotel to Plaza Mayor to museum to the hotel. I was amazed at how kind the people are, how clean and wonderful the city is for a city of nine million souls. It’s not perfect, and no city is, but my experience was wonderful, having coffee, touring an ancient ruin, having ceviche, having a beverage down at the bay, walking the streets of this strange Lima. I bought the Sunday paper, read about the mayor’s impending recall election, watched a black cat cross my path in a city park, went to the “Parque del amor” with a giant statue of a couple locked in a passionate kiss and embrace, rode in a taxi which made up its own rules of circulation, ate real authentic ceviche, found out the difference between a llama and an alpaca, looked a Cuy square in the eyes, climbed to the top of a pyramid built almost two thousand years ago. I rather doubt I could have done much more before toppling over in exhaustion considering how little sleep I got last night–none. So Lima is complicated; I don’t understand how cars figure out who has the right away in this city. I love the coffee, which is very flavorful, but not at all bitter. Ceviche has a million textures, tastes, sauces. The people of Lima do what all people around the world do on their day off–go out and have a good time. The local buses are a mystery to me, especially what seem to be the suburban buses who pick up people in the center and take them out of the city. Nine tenths of the cars appear to be taxis. Now, it’s time for bed–great hotel, hot shower, and time to catch up on the writing, although I’m dead sure the second I stop moving, I’ll be asleep. Postscript update: the mayor survived her recall election by garnering 52% of the vote.