Lima and Miraflores

Trip Start May 17, 2009
Trip End Jun 16, 2009

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Today we helped stop a robbery from happening.. More on that later.

We woke up Sunday morning and had breakfast with a nice guy from Germany staying in our Hostel. An interesting chap who was here visiting his daughter in the jungle who is living with indigenous tribes for a year studying their culture and customs. He was able to give us directions and info about what we needed to see around Lima centro which we ended up using.

After breakfast we jumped in a cab where we bargained the guy down from 50 soles to 12 ($18-$4) to take us to Plaza de Armas.   There, we went into the Cathedral of Lima which houses remains thought to be those of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador and  founder of Lima.   Today was our lucky day as it was the President´s birthday which was celebrated with huge parade of costumed representatives from each state and a grand ceremony of changing of the guard and official marching bands playing the national anthem and other traditional songs.

After Plaza de Armas, we made our way south towards Plaza de Grau which is lined by the city´s museums and a few descent restaurants. We had lunch on the plaza before heading towards the art museum which turned out to be closed on Sundays. We decided that it would be nice to take a stroll down the street near the museum which reminded me of Champs d´elysee in Paris.

We were crossing the street when we got our first actual taste of the pickpocketing and thievery that our guidebooks have made us so paranoid about. For no particular reason, I happened to notice a girl walking with her cell phone in hand, with headphones connected and in her ears. She was getting ready to cross the street when I saw young guy walking in the opposite direction reach out and try to grab her phone. She dropped the phone which he then tried to scoop up and run off with. Luckily, one of the infamous money changers (the ones that are notorious for giving fake soles bills when exchanging dollars) was quick to react and gave him a shove, knocking him off balance. Still determined, he shoved back a bit before still going after the phone on the ground. As this was happening I was still crossing the street towards the scene. Seeing the event unfurl, I jumped towards the guy and gave him another shove which nearly knocked him off his feet. Taylor being the 6´6´´ wall that he is, quickly barricaded the would-be thief´s would-be escape. Realizing this robbery was not going as smoothly as he hoped, he quickly gave up and ran down the street in the other direction. The entire event lasted only a few seconds, but the girl still has her phone, and I have a cool story to write about.

The luster of Lima´s ¨Champs d´elysee¨ quickly faded after that and we grabbed a cab back to the safer streets of Miraflores. We spent the remainder of the afternoon reading and planning the next leg of our journey in the much more chic and safer Larcormar shopping center at a table overlooking the coast and watching surfers.

For dinner, we both had a craving for some Italian so we headed to the famous ¨Calle de las Pizzas¨ which is only a few minute walk from our hotel near Parque Kennedy. This pedestrian thoroughfare is a street lined with only Italian restaurants side by side. Choosing a dining venue in this unique section of Miraflores consisted less of differentiating between the menus, and more of playing the waitresses outside the restaurants against each other to see who would give us more free drinks. We were about to enter one restaurant, but then I noticed the name of it- ¨Fazoli´s¨. I´m sure it was nothing like the Italian fast-food chain in the states, but the name was enough to deter us from even trying it and we settled at a place called ¨Las Pizzas Bar¨ which turned out to have excellent spaghetti (me) and lasagna (Taylor). 

After dinner we went back to our hangout from the night before called ¨The Corner¨ which is an American sports bar to watch my Cleveland Cavaliers play the Orlando Magic. The game didn´t end as I had hoped, but we had a good time talking with an American Mining Executive name Fernando who had recently relocated to Miraflores to head up his company´s South American gold mining enterprise.

We have just returned from The Corner and are now packing and getting ready to head to the mountain city of Cuzco early tomorrow afternoon where we will launch our adventure to Machu Picchu. Talk to you from 13000 ft!    
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