Surprised by Lima

Trip Start Nov 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 20, 2011

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Where I stayed
The Lighthouse

Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, March 31, 2011

Arrived in Lima around 6 am - little later than expected but definitely had been able to get a few hours of sleep on the bus.  Felt ok.  What was so great is that I had a driver meeting the bus - wasn't sure if he would still be there as we were about 45 minutes late.  The guy was there - what a treat.  Easy easy.  He told me my little Hostal was in the nicest part of Lima and as we drove through the city it looked  like many really big cities, but less harsh than I expected.  When we entered the Miraflores area it was obvious that we were in the 'Beverly Hills' of Lima.  Lima has few tall buildings because of the prevalance of earthquakes.  The Miraflores area looked a lot like the beautiful areas of Paris, big wide tree lined principle streets, roundabouts and quite european in flavor.   My B and B was on a lovely little residential street and I made it there by 7 am - a little early for checking in but I was hopeful that they might have an immediate room for me - I really wanted to get out exploring this neighborhood.  Sooo different from Piura, the mist was rolling in off the ocean which was just three blocks up the street. 

The lady at the hostal let me in and gave me a great little room at the top of a tiny tiny circular staircase.  That is why you need to travel light.  I wouldn't have been able to get a bag any bigger than mine into this room.  Grabbed a quick shower and was out the door around 8 with a bag of laundry to drop off.  I was told where a laundry was but nothing was open in the little neighborhood.  No signs over the doorways either so I just kept asking people and they were all really nice but together we couldn't find the laundry. The Jehovah Witness's were out in force and they were all very disappointed that their print material was only in Spanish.....darn!  The laundry finally opened and I got rid of my dirty clothes and I headed to where the mist was coming from - only three blocks through some beautiful new exclusive homes and small apartments - and then I was at the malecon.  and what a malecon!!!  Sharon and Ed you would love this one.   A  series of beautiful parks and walkways hug the cliffs over the water and I just walked and walked for miles marvelling at the beauty of it all.  Who knew Lima and beauty went together?   Most travellers poo poo Lima - they obviously haven't stayed in Miraflores.
As I was coming back to find the center again I tried to cross the road at a traffic circle...not easy and actually just stupid.  An older man was motioning to me to show me where to cross without being squashed.  He motioned to me to join him as we dodged the crazy drivers.  Eventually we caught up with each other again and started chatting  and walking and walking and walking through the beautiful neighborhood..  He (Leon) was trying to remember his English as it had been a long time since he had used it.  I thought he was taking me to a market but somehow we ended up at his apartment - to meet his wife.  His wife (Jenny) was very surprised - Leon walks the malecon every morning and I surmised he rarely brings home strangers.  Leon is a very fit 84 year old retired Endocrinologist - he used to run his practice in the apartment building he took me to, and it was a real treat to spend the morning with he and Jenny.  They are a beautiful couple, Jenny speaks no English but still we had a great time over lemonade.  They have lived in that apartment for 50 years and it was the perfect way to let the day unfold.  The name of this years blog is 'A Diary of Interrupted Days" and I love meeting new people and going home with them to see how they live.  Maybe I miss those encounters from policing when I got to see into people's homes and lives on a daily basis. I am just plain nosey. I seem to be able to find these opportunities on the road, or they find me, and these are the moments I remember most.  We exchanged addresses and I continued on exploring, all the richer for my short time with Leon and Jenny.  It was apparent that Peruvians were super friendly - a completely different feeling than I had in Ecuador.  Most people on the street seemed genuinely happy to have tourists - the opposite of how I felt in Ecuador.
By the time I made it back to pick up my laundry....ahhh, the easy way...I usually do my was already 7 pm..... a full day in Miraflores!!  My little intimate Guesthouse - 5 or 6 rooms only,  owned by a young British guy (Duncan) and his Peruvian wife.  Duncan is a tour guide and is away a lot of the time and has found some really nice people to help him run this place.  Obviously built by a traveller, for travellers.  And a private room for only $15...with Breakfast!!!  Big sunny interior courtyard and full kitchen to cook your own food if you are so inclined. So lovely. 
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amber Pettem-Shand on

After looking at your photos and reading the blog, I sigh wistfully. Travel safefly. Are you going to Brasil (close to the Iguassu Falls)?

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