Saturday, December 25, 2010


I had a last minute change of plan when arriving here which left me with more time than I expected in Lima itself. This turned out to be a really great time to catch up with my writing, go running on the beach and meet lots of really interesting local people through couchsurfing. I actually have been staying in a hostel as I felt the need to be in one place for longer than a couple of days. But I have been meeting different Peruvians (and one guy from Middlesborough bizarrely) for coffee and pisco sours which has been really fascinating. Most of the people I have been meeting are university educated so it has been really interesting to learn about their ideas in comparison to the average person on the street and the people I spoke with in Bolivia (most of whom were not university educated). Lima is much richer than I expected ( though I have also been out to the poorer, much rougher parts (everyone stares at the unusual sighting of gringa)) and people here have quite high expectations from life, like we do in the west. This is in huge contrast to the countryside where people are still mostly living off the land or selling day to day. Peru is much wealthier than Bolivia and there seems to be a lot more opportunity. But the people I meet seem to be hungry for even more opportunity outside of Peru. This is a different attitude to Bolivia and even Chile (which is an extremely prosporous country now, you can hardly class it as a developing nation) where people seem content to stay where they are. In Buenos Aires its different again and many young people were envious of the opportunities in the west. They felt there was a kind of glass ceiling of opportunity in South America. I also sometimes felt almost guilty and extremely lucky for the opportunity that I have to travel. The rest of the world is getting more expensive for us to travel to but because our economy is strong we can still afford to travel. For someone from South America it is almost impossible because the cost of living in Europe/North America is so much higher. But the people I have been meeting are not giving up on the dream to travel. Someone I met who worked in finance in Argentina in an outsourcing company from America (also part of the reason people in Argentina find it hard to increase their prosperity is that outsourcing forces their wages and opportunities for promotion down) had Italian ancestors (many do in B.A) and was desperate to find a way to get to Italy. I really think couch surfing is one of the best inventions. Without it most of my interaction would have been with market sellers, waiters and hostel owners which doesn´t really give an overall picture of a place.  Meeting local young(ish) people has really opened up the country for me. Also the WWOOF opportunities have given me other great insights and a chance to get to know people really well. 

Anyway, Lima. Getting around Lima is probably the biggest problem. The traffic is terrible, there is no metro here and 10 million people so you can imagine the chaos. Also Peruvians drive like killing pedestrians is a sport. They also have no sense of personal space. Sitting in a minibus to get around town, you can hardly breathe. The other extremely annoying thing, is that being a gringa female alone, it is not possible that I am not perpetually lost or in need of some help or a taxi. Everywhere I go, I am stopped several times to ask if I need help, taxi drivers go out of their way to drive in front of me and many items for sale are thrust in my face. So far I have managed not to be rude, but its lucky I am leaving today.

Huaca Huallarmarca, this is a restored adobe pyramid from the Lima culture around AD200 - 500

Monasterio de Santo Domingo originally 16th century but modified since. It has lots of original spanish mosaics.

Cloister in Monasterio Santo Domingo

Monasterio Santo Domingo

Plaza de Armas and the cathedral

Cafe El Cordano where I tried Tacu Tacu, many old presidents have had a coffee in here

Monasterio de San Francisco, inside were some catacombs which smelled a bit and it was a bit eerie to see so many piles of bones and skulls

Plaza San Martin, you can just see a token Santa Claus head stuck on a building to the right

Many beautiful flowers around here

Huaca Pucclana, a restored adobe ceremonial centre that dates back to Lima culture in AD400

Colonial house in Miraflores

Larcomar - a huge cinema and restaurant complex overlooking the sea, they have really good ice cream, I had maracuya ( a bit like passion fruit but yellow) and lucuma which I think is like aubergine but it somehow managed to taste like toffee.

The infamous Lima fog

You can paraglide right along the coast, but I am not brave enough

No comments:

Post a Comment