Back to Lima

Trip Start Aug 23, 2008
Trip End Sep 28, 2008

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Easy day walking around Miraflores, including the Indian market with all the wonderful handicrafts from all over Peru. All high standard so lovely to look at with lots of pieces of art and wonderful ceramics. I didnt realise that ceramics was the main art of Peru, but guess it stems from the Inka times.

Its a public holiday here for Santa Rosa De Lima day. She is the Patron saint of Lima and the Phillipines.

Down the main square of Mirafloes a huge stage is being erected.... Ive taken a photo as the stage is being assembled for a major city event and Rob and I reckon its "only" the size that Earl and Rose had in their garden for their wedding reception entertainers in Thailand..hee hee.

We finished the afternoon with an english tour of Huaca Pucllana which is an archaeolgical site built over 500 years between 200 and 700 AD and is right in the middle of the city. The guide told us that although everyone knew the site was buried there it was used until recently as a bmx bike track for the locals to burn around.
It is amazing that the people were smart enough 1800 years ago that they made mud bricks and then laid them primarily vertical with staggered few horizontal ones - this allowed the building to not only sway but just about rotate when or if there was an earthquake.
If they had layed them as we do now, horizontally then the building wouldnt have survived an earthquake (of which there has been some major ones as Lima sits on the San Anders fault line.

Tomorrow we change hotel to Lima Central as we meet with the Intrepid group of 7 at 2pm.
We dumped our bags at the new hotel in Central Lima and walked the couple of blocks to the historical centre. Is very beautiful and being Sunday once again packed with your people and families out enjoying their day in the sun.

One of the builidings in the squre is the palace and we luckily arrived right on the changing of the guard. The palace gates opened and the marching band followed by the palace guards proceeded to dao a lap of the big historical square all to the claps of the local Peruvians. The guards did kicks and threw their guns in the airl like american cheerleaders..heee.

It was a very happy and festive atmosphere, happy families and smiling faces which made the tanks with machin guns hanging off the top and water canons positioned around the square seem quite sureal..heee

We went to the 16th centry monestry of San Francisco and paid for a tour of the catacombs which lay underneath. This was Lima's first cemetary and 25,000 people where buried here hundreds of years ago. In the tunnels of the catacombs we saw rectangle pits filled with each type of bone eg. one pit of fibia's one pit of femurs and of course a pit of skulls. Im not sure but I think the bodies were buried normally, laid out and covered with lime and another on top with lime etc. then after a period of time the bones would be dug up and separated and stored in these box pits so that more bodies could be buried in the holes. (this type of thing was down in the monesteries in Greece whe we visited Meteora - it was a space issue.
... anyway the other highlight was the Rubens paintings hung in the hallways leaading to the Catacombs and the famous round table last supper painting which had so many symbolic peruvian parts to it (like guinea pig on a platter).

Quick shower and time to met the group. Looks like no probs. The leader is a Peruvian girl named Cynthia, originally from Cusco. She now lives in Limas the past 2 years but prior to that she worked in the lodges in the Amazon and is bird mad.
The group - 2 from the UK on their honeymoon, an Irish girl in her mid 30's, one Sydneysider girl about 25 (who arrived in Lima the night before and already had $200USD pickpocketed) and a 51year old guy from New Zealand. Everyone seems really relaxed and ready to go - a good mix too.

I should add that Cynthia is only 23 and a little thing. She is real happy and excited about everything (and proud of her Peru - so wants to share everthing.. small problem.. no not really...heee) She just laughs and giggles all the time but is a very organised sensible thing at the same time.. so we're set..ha

We met for an hour and then went for a walk together up to the historical centre where wed been earlier and with Cynthia stopping as we went giving us the lowdown on the history of the Inca/Spanish etc. (soooo different to Javed in India who just partied with us and just told us about his girlfriend problems..hee but we loved him!).. anyway.. I think Cynthis will be a bonus fun and informative.

We also found in the first 2 hours that she is an eating machine, which will be great cos she just kept stopping and buying every conceivable snack along the road - which of course we joined her in. Firstly I had a deep fried waffle thing filled with condensed milk (40cents) while rob had a "chicken pasty thing" (40cents). We then split some of the guys to see the catacombs while Cynthia Rob, I and Phil the NZer took off to see where the Lima Spanish Inquistion took place - stopping on the say at the little orange juice cart where the little lady squeezed fresh joince (40cents again.... geez this local price thing sure is good!)

The Inquisition building was interesting. In more recent times it was a house (mansion) but had been donated back to the city. The walls had been stripped back to reveal the old fresoes and in the excavations under the building the torture chamber and prion cells were found.

A quick walk back to the group via the quail egg cart on the corner - 5 quail eggs hard boiled and still warm for.. wait for it .... again 40 cents (1 sole) Suddenly with Cynthia by our side everything now cost ONE SOLE... instead of 5 or 6...sigh.. very tiring being ripped off as a tourist.. they just think westerners have a license to print money.. we never used to mind but the expectation of continuous tipping for every conceivable thing is really starting to p...s us off too... (talking to other travellers we all seem to agree that travel perhaps makes you less tolerant not more so..heee - problem hey!..ha)

Everyone together again and it was decided that it was PISCO SOUR time.. ! We went to a beautiful old hotel in Martin Plaza square. Its like our Windsor in Melbourne and was closed 5 years ago because of tax deb t. 200 employees lost their jobs so many of them got together and reopened a tiny part of the building themselves in a bid to pay the tax and get it running again.. (hope they succeed)

The group were all ready to party but soon discovered that 2 pisco sours is a party..hee

So it was agreed time for typical Lima dinner...would you believe the most popular food of this time....??... Chicken and chips.. I kid you not... every 2nd shop is a chicken and chips or pizza restaurant..amazing.

Early night.. tomorrow we fly to Puerto Maldonado for the Amazon.
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Hotel Inka Path
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