Callao (Lima),Peru

Trip Start Jan 13, 2009
Trip End May 13, 2009

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Tahitian Princess

Flag of Peru  , Lima,
Saturday, January 24, 2009

  For today and tomorrow morning, we will be in the port of Callao on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. We have two tours booked for Lima. On the first day we will take a full day tour that will include the Pachacamac Ruins to the south of Lima and a Horse Hacienda (Ranch of Peruvian Horses). The second day is a half day tour that is called "The Highlights of Lima".
On the first day, we got up very early as we needed to be on the bus by 8:45AM. It was a modern new bus with a very knowledgeable guide. We headed out into the sprawling complex that is Lima. It was warm and humid as was the normal for Peru during their summer. Peru is a desert area; the humidity comes from the ocean. The rainfall last year was only 3 inches for the entire year. So there was a lot of dust blowing in the town.

We drove thru some of the nicer areas such as Mia Flores on our wait to an archeology museum. The museum was built at the site of the hacienda of Simon Bolivar, who had help liberate several South American Countries from the Spanish. The museum showed artifacts of pre-Incan groups that inhabited the area before and during the rise of the Inca Empire. This was a precursor to later in the tour when we would visit the Pachacamac Ruins to the south of Lima.
Getting to the ruins included a drive thru various shanty town areas of Lima. Instead of being homeless most of the people build small shacks out of wood, bamboo, and adobe. They build on public lands as these shanty areas are tolerated by the government. As they become larger they can even have medical clinics, Police Substations, and schools. Some hook lines to the city power lines and run single lines to their shacks. This appears to be ignored by the local government as long as it is only used for a single light. But now we continue on to the ruins.
The ruins were originally built by an indigenous group that existed before the Inca Empire. The Incas took over the site by threat of force about 100 years before the arrival of the Spanish. When the Spanish arrived at the Pachacamac site, it was controlled by the Incas. It was a large and important religious site but it was not a permanent settlement. Most of the ruins are in bad shape but they have rebuilt a set of building to show what the site looked like when they were being inhabited. The location was finally abandoned in the middle of the 16th Century.  
From the ruins, we returned on the Pan-American Highway and were heading north to the Horse Hacienda back in Lima. This was an unusual Hacienda in that it looked as one would expect a Spanish Hacienda to look like but it was in the middle of the city. It was about 5 acres in the middle of a Lima Suburb. But once inside of the gates and the white walls that surrounded the Hacienda; we were in a time apart from the modern realities of Lima. They have a large plaza, a Chapel, a large main house, stables and a practice/viewing area for the horses. We walked in and were given a local drink (that tasted like a margarita) and were given a quick tour of the area. Then we were taken to a veranda, where we served a delicious lunch consisting of beef, pork, chicken, sweet potato, Peruvian yellow potato and two tamales. We were also given wine, beer and a local soft drink. Yes, it was a lot, but we had worked up quite an appetite walking the ruins earlier in the day. After the lunch, we were off to the viewing area for coffee and a demonstration of the famous Peruvian Dancing Horses. They had a gait similar to a Tennessee Walking  Horse. It was a very level gait that gave the rider a steady look on the horse. They are very beautiful animals covered in an ornate saddle and trappings.
We arrived back at the ship in time to straighten up and go to dinner. Does it sound like we are eating a lot? This life seems normal to us now. Tomorrow we will take a half day tour to downtown Lima. 

We were finished touring for the day and the bus returned us to the ship for rest and relaxation. Tomorrow we would wake early again for a half day tour of Lima.
The next morning came early and we were up and ready to have breakfast and start the tour by 8:15AM. It was Saturday and most of the Lima area was practically empty compared to the city during the work week. There were still many people in the downtown area. The Lima area has about 8 million people. Lima is an old colonial town which means that the Spanish founded  the town, they did  not took it away from the Incas. We went to the monastery of San Francisco. Does that sound familiar? It is located in the old downtown area near the Main Cathedral (where the Spanish Conquistador Pizzaro is buried) and the Presidential Palace.  On the downtown Plaza where the Peruvian Presidential Palace is located there is a "No Demonstration Policy" that is strictly enforced as evidenced by the soldiers and weapons in the plaza. But the Plaza appeared very peaceful to us.
Before returning to the ship we stopped by a private residence in Mia Flores. This is where Lima reaches the ocean and it is a popular spot for nightlife and beach use. There are numerous large homes built during the 1920's and 1930's. They are reflective of a very prosperous time in the past when many people moved from the downtown to the beach area. We visited one such house. The lady that showed us around was a 4th generation owner of the home. It is an impressive home that shows the wealth that once existed in Peru. Now the family is land poor and shows the home to finance the upkeep of the house.
Now it is time to return to the ship and prepare to leave Peru and head out into the Pacific on our journey to Easter Island. We should be there in 4 days.

Where is Harriet? Hunt

Harriet was found first by Shelby with her post:

Shelby Roy 25 January 2009 
She was standing in the center of the picture next to the maid. Harriet was wearing a black top and Khakis
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