Burger of Beast

Trip Start Jul 31, 2006
Trip End Aug 24, 2006

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Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, August 3, 2006

To me, going out onto the streets of Lima is like going into a war zone.

Let me explain...

Before I set foot onto the streets, I am very methodical in my "pre-battle preparations". To ensure complete safety, it is important that a foot soldier is well armored. My armor comes in the form of money belts. Listening to the Velcro tear as I put on my numerous money belts, I feel like a soldier strapping on his bulletproof vest. I triple-check that my money is secure... similar to how I'd check the safety on a pistol. I know this may be a bit of an exaggeration - and I have no idea what war is really like - but this is my naive take on the situation.

Despite all these preparations, I have always felt safe in my surroundings. What amazes me most about the Peruvians thus far, is how little they hassle you. I was expecting them to be overly persistent in their selling techniques, but it has been very easy-going. I can walk along and leisurely look at the shops without being harassed by the store owner to buy everything in the store. It's quite nice.

I spent the entire day in Miraflores today. I popped into a couple department stores, had a shady character try to sell me an obviously stolen watch in front of "Pizza Street", and then meandered my way down Jose Larco Avenue to the shopping centre on the cliffs.... Larcomar.

Larcomar is kind of a neat place. It's built into a cliff face and it looks upon the Pacific Ocean. There are some pretty amazing views from the observation deck.

Since it is a bit of a touristy destination, your selection of western comforts aren't far behind. I sat in the Starbucks, sipping a Carmel Macchiato and watched the world go by. If you're not into the coffee scene, one can always try out the ever present Tony Roma's or Hooters.

After the coffee, I grabbed a "Hamburgesa de res" in a cafe on my slow ramble back down Larco Ave. Not being fluent in Spanish, I wasn't entirely sure what I had ordered when the meal arrived. It was certainly a burger but the meat was a grayish colour and didn't taste overly like beef. I finished it but wasn't too sure what this "res" was all about. When I did make it back to the hotel, I checked my Spanish-English dictionary straight-away in hopes of solving the mystery. The definition offered to me was that "res" meant "beast". Hamburger of beast. What the heck does that mean? It certainly leaves a lot to be desired. It was later confirmed to me, however, that "res" is in fact beef. Phew.

Intersting side note, I saw Fidel Castro in this same cafe. He's currently in the paper for being very ill and nobody has seen him for a while. It's been questioned whether he's still in the hospital or back home now.

Well... neither.

I had visual confirmation that he's actually hanging out in Lima. There was a fella (I think the cafe owner) who kept coming in and out of the cafe place who looked remarkably like Castro. Mind you, he had a ponytail... but that's just a minor detail. It was Fidel.

I met my GAP Adventure tour group today. These are the people I'll be spending three weeks with as we take in the Peruvian landscape. They seem like a good group of people. Not everyone has arrived yet, but those that were there are easy to get a long with. Of the 9 that I have met, 6 of them (including myself) are teachers. Like it or not, we're everywhere. Most of the group are from England, one from Belgium, and one from Australia. The one's arriving today I believe are from England as well.

The rest of the evening involved the following:
- I tried Peru's national drink, the Pisco Sour. The name doesn't lie... very sour.
- Ordered what I thought was Llama Saltado, but turned out to be Llomo Saltado. Which once again is beef. ('Twas really good but I was excited for trying llama).
- And then headed down to "Pizza Street", pulled up a table at a pseudo-Cowboy bar, and spent a few hours just hanging out with the tour group.

Tomorrow, we're in Lima for the morning and then we hop on a public bus, than a private bus, than another public bus, and we eventually make it to Pisco.
Sounds like fun.
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