Two Weeks in Lima

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Yes two weeks doing not much in Lima.  After the bus ride back to Lima we figured we'd stay for a while and recharge our batteries.  Lima is an interesting place and after the obligatory rate negotiation we thought why not stay and maybe head north at a later date.  They gave us a six bed dorm room to ourselves and after a couple of days of sleeping on the wooden bases (the mattresses were so thin they didn't need to bother with them) we moved across to another room.  As we were in a capital city Megan as usual had to hit the shops so we jumped in a taxi and headed out to Miraflores and the famous Larcomar Plaza, sitting in the cliffs overlooking the beach.  We weren't really impressed by Larcomar, so walked up one of the main streets into downtown Miraflores.  Miraflores was an interesting place full of traveling gringos, but we liked the cheap clothing stores.
We also headed out a couple of days later to Jockey Plaza.  This was exactly like the shopping centres we have back home.  All the global brands were represented.  After we'd wandered around, though not spending anything as most of it was way out of our price range, we tried to get a taxi back into town.  As we looked like foreigners they tried the "lets multiply the price by 10 trick" to which we declined and wandered into the back streets to catch a local bus.  The local buses here are great and super cheap.  Traveling on the local buses for the two weeks we were in Lima was fun, though a lot of people getting on the buses gave us a double take, surprised to see a couple of backpackers on the local transport.  It seems most backpackers get taxis everywhere in town.  Oh yeah for dinner one night we decided to go to a place called Roky's.  It was a sit down fast food chicken restaurant and seemed okay.  Megs ordered off the menu while Rick noticed a poster with a special and pointed that out to the waiter for his meal.  When it came time to pay the bill the waiter scribbled something on to a bit of scrap paper and verbally said what we thought was 33 Sol.  After handing over a 50 Sol note and 3 Sol change we continued chatting whilst waiting for the change.  After waiting ages we questioned the waiter who conveniently didn't understand what we were saying.  He then grabbed another guy who told us the meal had cost 53 Sol and there would be no change.  This seemed absurdly expensive as Megan's meal of a steak had cost only 17 Sol and Rick had only ordered a chicken wrap.   We questioned it and he then said Meg had actually ordered a porterhouse steak which was about 30 Sol, this was easily refuted as the t-bone was left on the plate still sitting on the table.  He also tried to convince us that Rick's wrap was the same price as a steak!  Hardly likely so we argued and argued and threatened to speak to the manager in our poor Spanish and eventually he returned 20 Sol and we went on our way.  We would recommend avoiding the place if you're ever in Lima.  It seems they should be called Roky-the-Rip-Off as they like to rip off gringos.
Wandering around town we've always felt safe even though sometimes there are police everywhere all kitted out in riot gear.  Maybe we've become immune to seeing strange things but we don't seem to be worried by situations that others feel are unsafe.  The massive China Town markets were a bargain and worth visiting.  If you need it you can find it there, somewhere.
One highlight of Lima was we went to see a movie in English.  We hadn't seen a movie since Oxford back in the UK.  The movie was Los Infiltrados (we've found out its actually called The Departed in English) with Spanish subtitles.  The theatre was about half full but it was just great to see a movie again, this time in English. Walking back to the hotel we walked down the main mall, to the calls of "Friend! Friend!", "Amigo!" and "Hey Gringo!"; the usual catch cries of touts trying to flog you something.  It was funny but walking down the crowded mall at night we didn't feel that safe.  Ironically turning down a dark dingy back street we felt a hell of a lot better, making our way back to the hotel.
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