Day 21: Lima, Peru

Thursday, 3 May 2018 – Day 21: Lima, Peru (12.0464° S, 77.0428° W)

Buenos Dias from Lima…our last day in an international destination.

Lima is a hyper-kinetic city: cars, people, business. Lima is an example of the coming globalized model IMHO: vast differences in life-styles between the rich and poor; their lives, their life-styles, where they live, and how the endure each day—from vast overwhelming slums far from the city center to pockets of opulence in the more beautiful livable parts of the city. We are in one of the later, the Miraflores district. A bubble, like being in Beverly Hills in LA—actually more like Santa Monica physically.

Last night, as I headed into the ether of Lima at around 8:45pm, the doorman inquired where I was headed…I casually informed him that I was headed for a ceviche dinner (my second of the day) at a nearby Punto Azul Noche. He stopped me…no sir, you cannot walk, very dangerous. I informed him that I had visited the city on more than a few occasions and have taken all proper safety consideration: No visible valuables, no passport, only one credit card, little cash. He said no sir, not safe, things can be bad in Lima. After a frustrating, depressing conversation, he wanted me to take a car. By now a crowd of several bellmen and the concierge had joined in. A hotel car would be safest; prices set at US$12.00 ($39 peruvian sol)…I said what about a local taxi; $12 sole…he finally relented but said they would call one for me and it would 5-7 minutes. I smiled, said thank you and walked. It was a straight shot around the park and maybe eight blocks straight up Calle Alanfores to Calle San Martin. Took me, ah less than 10 minutes. During my walk I encountered school girls walking home, dog owners guiltily walking their schizod pets after a long day away, joggers (both sexes), and night strollers. I saw zero menacing gangs of Peru lurking in shadowy alley ways. I joined a quick wait list—a single always gets a quick table!—ate an amazing dish of mixto ceviche (shrimp, octopus and two types of white fish served in a large soup bowl with corn and sweet potato) and walked home unmolested about an hour later.

I walked in and they all smiled at me wearily. I approached the main man. He informed me that was hotel policy to inform guests about the dangers of Peru. (And to offer an upsale hotel car.) He said I was the only person that night, and in a few days that had not heeded their fear-based warning. I assume the hotel’s guests are a little lighter in the wallet and the hotel a little heavier. The hype of fear resounds especially well with we Yanks. We hear it all day…the boogie man is under the bed, the barbarians are at the gate, they are coming for us. It sells.

Anyway, I regress…Lima last day.

Teams always ask me: Bill what are you doing today? I am usually coy in answering: busy, business to do. Well, in fact, a perfect day for me?

Visit Mercado Central early…see the colorful produce, flowers and smell the fresh fish. Then a stroll around Plaza Mayor before the crowds assemble…maybe light a candle for my mom in a dark peaceful nook of Cathedral of Lima. (And spit on Pizarro’s gravestone while I am there.) My conflicted yin/yang nature reveleaing itself. Then I would nosh a little on some morning Peruvian sweets with a couple of coffees. I walk with purpose everywhere, I carry no pack, zipped pockets with what I need and with my 35mm Nikon with 18-200m lens covered in my hand looking like a rolled shirt…I take lots of photos of faces, street art, things in juxtaposition, daily life emerging. Next I would head to the Larco Musuem and indulge erotic fantasies among their great collection of erotic figurines. By then, the city is fully alive and in full swing. I would hit a cafe and watch the wheels go round and round for a while—how I love to watch them turn. After that…I might hail a taxi head out of the city to visit the ancient ruins of Pachacamac, and then drop by the infamous bunker-like Gold Museum. By then it would be ceviche and cerveza time followed by a taxi back to the hotel and a nap before beginning my noctornal pursuits.

A Morning kiss for wife…as it should be.

The eclectic buildings of Peru

One of Peru’s mainstays

Huaca Pucllana…ruins in city.

And you thought it only came in yellow?

Cocoa leaves to help you through the day…munch, munch.

Mixto ceviche soaked in spicy Tigre’s Milk…

Have your own version of a perfect day, every day…

Our Peruvian check-in is at 10:00PM this evening in the hotel’s lobby bar…one last pisco sour! Then we are homeward bound.