Monday, May 24, 2010

Cusco to Lima

Milagros met us early to bring us to the airport and our flight to Lima. I sat on the other side of the plane this time and had great views of the Andes as we cruised to the big city. Lima was cloudy and drab and grey, such a great contrast to the unrelenting sun in Cusco.

We returned to the same hotel, but this time had huge beds and the biggest jacuzzi bath I have ever seen in my life! Maya was determined to take a bath sometime during our stay. I was eager to get out and explore Lima. We had lunch looking out over the grey ocean and watched the surfers missing waves. Visibility was limited and the greyness uninviting. The Gold Museum was exhibiting at another level of Larcomar ( the large shopping/eating/entertainment complex by the sea), so we elected to visit. This is an extension of the larger gold museum in another part of LIma, which I have wanted to visit for some time. We learned about the methods used in antiquity to create beautiful gold and silver objects, and the collection of artifacts was impressive. The last room with the most beautiful gold was dark and a little spooky. I wonder why curators like to do that; it is the same in the Banco Central in Quito; I imagine it is supposed to make everything look a little other worldly, but it felt equally ominous.

When I emerged from the darkness, Eric was waiting for me; Maya, Sherry and Jeff had walked back to the hotel. We joined them for a short time, but I wanted to explore some more (of course!) so Eric and I took a taxi to the centre of town. I wondered why there was so much traffic on a Sunday, and asked the driver, who informed me that it was Monday and peak traffic time. I asked if anything like 'Pico y Placa' had been proposed (in Quito, on certain days specific license plate numbers are not allowed out at peak times), but it was evident that LimeƱos had no intention of altering the traffic pattern. I did see a public transport line appearing to run along the middle of the narrow city, but the other buses were smaller and less numerous than those in Quito. Fewer people appeared to be taking buses. It took far too long to get to the centre, and the sun was disappearing as we walked around the Plaza de Armas, looked at the Cathedral, wandered to Plaza San Francisco along a street where every store was making and/or selling shoes. Last time Eric and I were here, he had a pair of motorcycle boots made, which were beautiful and perhaps too fine for the type of motorcycling he does, so they fell apart quickly. We decided to look at shoes again, but he has size 13 feet, and it is difficult to find shoes for him. I found beautifully made Peruvian boots for me, but Eric settled for a pair of moccasin type non leather shoes made in China.

We walked along the main pedestrian-only street, watching people, looking at shops, at the art nouveau buildings. The streets were packed. It was dark when we arrived back at the hotel. We walked half a block and found an empty restaurant, which did not seem promising. The house wine was undrinkable. The food however was far better than expected, which was a relief. Maya fell asleep during dinner, but I woke her up when we got the jacuzzi filled, so that she could join us in the bubbles for a midnight swim. At first she was annoyed to be woken up, but she would have been devastated if she had missed the experience. Our wake up call was to be around 5, so none of us planned to sleep very long.

Paza de Armas Fountain

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