Lima, Peru Nov. 4 – Dec. 4, 2008
Day 1 – It’s All About Travel
My latest adventure has begun. I woke up in the hotel at 3:30am this morning to catch the early shuttle to the airport in St. Louis. Check in was uneventful except for the fact that they would not let me have a second carry on. Now I have to pray that all my luggage arrives in Lima OK. Otherwise I am going to be severely limited in my wardrobe. I shared the exit row on the plane with a nice couple on their way to the Grand Caymans to get married. Steve and I talked about travel writing and travel writing ideas almost the whole trip. He is interested in getting into it so I shared what information I could with him and we promised to stay in touch. He had some excellent ideas and I wish him the best of luck.
Now I am at the Miami airport and starting my 7 hour lay over till my flight to Lima. I’m bored already and still have 6 hours to go. It’s going to be a long day. I don’t arrive in Lima till 10:30pm, then I have to get through Customs so I probably won’t be at the apartment till midnight. I think I will sleep in tomorrow.
The second leg of my flight went well. There was an interesting man sitting next to me. He was an Economist and worked throughout South America with Banks to do Micro Loans. They were to help small businesses get started or help them with capital when needed. He gave me some nice tips about Peru and places to see if I have time to travel in the country. He also named a few restaurants in Baranco for me to try.
After landing it was a fast (and I don’t mean time wise) taxi ride to the apartment. I know my fingernails will grow back soon. Cristine and Guillermo were waiting for me, gave me the tour and the keys and took off. The apartment is nice, although not as large as you would think a three bedroom two bath would be. I am fairly sure that the two bedroom apartment I had last year was just as large. I unpacked and it was off to bed. I was muy tired.
Day 2 Where am I, What am I doing here and where is everything at?
I woke up with that strange sensation of; “This isn’t my bed, where am I?” Coming out of the exhaustion induced sleep I realized I had a day full of errands to run and it was already 9am. Coffee and toast plus a quick shower revived my spirits and I was off to reacquaint myself with Barranco. I completed the shopping I needed to do, exchanged dollars for Soles at the Bank, joined the gym, came back and could not figure out how to let myself back in the apartment (Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!) and had to get help from the doorman (Cristian, nice young man). After unpacking the groceries it was off again for a long walk along the coast. The sun kept peeking out and there was a nice breeze making it perfect for a stroll. I have to admit though that the humidity is a bit high for me. I took some photos and then back to the apartment again, trouble with the keys again, Cristian helping me get into the apartment again. I’m sure he thinks I am a complete idiot by now. I do think I know the trick to getting in finally though. Then back out for lunch and a search for a small travel alarm (forgot mine – sorry Mona). Back to the apartment again and Yes, this time I was able to let myself in. Whew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And of course no one speaks any English!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My understanding of Spanish is getting better by the minute though.
For the late afternoon I took a nap. I was still tired from the trip down. Then is was up to fix dinner. Sandwich, chips and soda. I am such an innovative Chef. LOL Then I spent the rest of the evening reading a book before retiring early. Yes, my life is just as boring in Peru as it is in Southern Illinois.
Day 3 Meetings and Long walks
Today I was up early. I am feeling a lot more rested now and am ready for my real adventures to begin. After fixing and eating Breakfast (Bacon, Scrambled eggs and toast) I went back to the Store (Super Mercado) for some things I had forgotten the day before. I love going to the store here, it is such an adventure. Sometimes you just don’t know what it is your buying and then you have to figure out how to cook it. I answered some E-mails (mostly from the girls coming to visit) and cleaned the mess I made in the kitchen.
For lunch I am meeting a new friend at a restaurant called Chala by the Whispering Bridge here in Barranco. This is my second highest priority on this trip. If I am to reside part of the year in Peru I must make more friends. Something that will be hard to do considering my lack of expertise in the Spanish Language. Anyway this man’s name is Fausto and he works in the tourism business here in Lima. I met him trying to get information on line about the City Tours here in Lima. He was interested in the fact that I was into Travel Writing and Photography; and was willing to meet for lunch after I came to Lima to meet and talk about it. For now I will take a nice long walk and get some more photos then go to Chala for the lunch meeting. More this evening.
Well, the lunch went great (Tacu Tacu) my favorite Peruvian dish. Fausto and I talked about all manner of things and I think I have another friend in Peru. He as told me that he will try to find some reference books for me on the histories of some of the Balconies in the Historical District of Peru. He will stop by the libraries in Miraflores and San Isidro and see what he can find. Hopefully between him and Mauricio I will be able to flesh out a good article They get nice long lunch breaks here. We talked for about three hours before he had to return to work.
For the rest of the evening I think I will stay in and read again. Rita, Cyndi and Mary will arrive tomorrow morning and so will begin another phase of my adventure.
Day 4 – The Girls Arrive
I was up very early this morning getting ready for the girls to arrive (5am). Some cereal and coffee, a quick shower and the next thing I knew the doorman was ringing my apartment that they were here. It was a long trip for them too and they were not able to sleep on the plane so naturally they are taking a nap now. I will wake them up at 11:00 and we will wander around Barranco for a bit. They also need to go to the bank to exchange money and the store for various supplies. More later mis amigos!
Well, the girls got up from their nap a little earlier than expected and we were off to run around Barranco to get them oriented. I showed them the gym I joined and we stopped in my Bank for them to exchange money. It was too crowded so we decided to try later. We passed by the Super Mercado on the way to the Center of Barranco. On our way we noted another Bank that was not as busy so they got to turn some Dollars into Soles. Ask them about Peruvian coins, it should get you a funny story.
From there we wandered around Barranco while they snapped photos of every inch. We stopped at a restuarant, “La Posada del Mirador” where Cyndi had some trouble staying in her chair. Ask her for another interesting tale. Rita, Mary and I had the Tacu Tacu, two with Lomo and one with Pescador. Cyndi had Pescadore con Championones. The restaurant was just past the “Whispering Bridge” and behind the old historical church
From there we trucked along the coast, watching fishermen and surfers on the Pacific. There is a lot of beautiful landscaping along this part of the walk and everyone was taking photos of all the beautiful flowers and shrubs. Of course you had to mind your step for the “excrementas de perros”.
Finally we ended up back on Avenue Grau and at “My Favorite Little Place” where we ordered Coffee and four different kinds of desserts which we all shared. Then it was off to the Super Mercado for food shopping. Another exciting event which we all enjoyed. Then back to the apartment where some took a nap and the rest looked at the photos we took. Now everyone is up and we are enjoying a glass of wine before cooking dinner. Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with Garlic Bread with a nice Chianti (making the sound from Silence of the Lambs).
After that some reading, maybe playing a game and then early to bed.
Day 5 The Dreaded Shopping Mall and other adventures
We all got a good nights sleep last night and everyone was up early and got ready for another days adventures. We all decided that this was the perfect day to hit the fancy Mall (Larco Mar) in Miraflores and check on the location of some of the tour companies. We took another walk along the coastal road into Miraflores that led directly to the Mall. It was another cloudy day but despite the dreariness of the weather it was a beautiful walk. We did pass some excellent street art on the way (see photos) and everyone we passed was friendly and outgoing.
After arriving at Larcomar the ladies started their shopping tour. Mostly pricing things to compare with the prices in Cusco. I found the nearest Coffee Cafe and sat enjoying my Cafe Americano and Chocolate Truffle while they wandered from store to store. We also found a Travel Agency in the Mall and the girls scheduled a tour of the Historical District for Monday morning. Afterward they will probably go to the Museum of Gold which is in the Mall also. They found lots of things they would like to buy but bravely held off until after Cusco. That’s the girls, always looking for the good deal.
From the Mall we headed inland looking for the Bike Tour office and the Central Park and a nice Sidewalk Cafe to have lunch. It was a decent walk but we found the office (closed) and the Central Park where we had lunch at “El Tigre”. A very nice lady helped us with directions (in Spanish of course) and also told us where we could get a map of Miraflores. We passed a lot of beautiful architecture on the way there and some beautiful churches also. The lunch was excellent (yes they had Guinea Pig and “No”, no one ordered it.) and we all had different dishes each of which was excellent. I had Yucca stuffed with queso and a Sauce of some type and Sopa Lighta Pollo, Cyndi had a Tamale and some type of Omelet, Mary had the Yucca stuffed with queso also and Rita had Aji Pollo con arroz. We all left stuffed to the gills and started our long walk home. Of course we had the energy to stop by “My Favorite Place” for a Postre Y Cafe Americano.
Then it was a quick stop by the apartment before heading to the Central Park area of Barranco to see the Food Festival there. Of course I could not resist and purchased a piece of Mango Pie and Chocolate Cheese Cake to bring home and eat later. If anyone at work is reading this tell Schellenberg I also picked up his “WEIRD” hat. Leaving the Food we headed back to the Metro Grocery Store for water and other essentials.
Back at the hacienda and I am typing this up, Cyndi started reading and Mary and Rita heard music out the window and being the party girls that they are went to investigate. On their return we learned that it was a reunion of sorts involving mujeres only. They took some pictures, enjoyed the music a little and then came back. They are all starting diner now (chicken, potatoes and some veggies).
That’s it for today folks, more to follow manana.
Day 6 Huanca Pucllana and the Sun finally comes out for my Birthday
Another early start today. Originally we were going to go on a Bike Tour of the Bay this morning but the tour ended up being full and we had to reschedule for Tuesday afternoon. A quick check on alternate ideas and we decided on going to Huanca Pucllana. All of us being into exercise we have decided to walk to all of our destinations if possible. We have put a lot of miles on our shoes sice they arrived. The walk from Barranco to the archaeological site in Miraflores took about 50 minutes. Entry into the the site was only 7 soles and it included an English speaking guide. He was excellent by the way. Very informed and enthusiastic about the site. The pyramid and surrounding buildings were built by the Quechua peoples from 100 – 200 AD. This place is “pre-Inca” by many centuries. It is believed that it was used to worship Mama Cocha, a goddess of the sea and also another goddess of the moon. Women and children were sacrificed here as part of expansions of the complex. No people actually lived at the site and it was not used for burials with the exception being the sacrifices. The tour also included a walk through a small botanical garden and zoo with local animals. Of importance was the llama “Paco” who was the star of the show and the two “hairless” peruvian dogs. They weren’t hideous but you know the old saying about”a face only a mother could love”.
Afterwards we walked back to the central area of Miraflores and had lunch at a nice little sidewalk cafe called “Cafe Cafe” just off of the Parque Kennedy. The food was decent but I liked “El Tigre” better. On the way there we passed all kinds of artists displaying their works for sale on the sidewalks bordering the Parque Kennedy. The girls all enjoyed their meals and finishing up we took a quick walk through a “Festival” celebrating the many years of Chinese culture in Peru. The girls got a glass of Chicha Morada, a drink made from purple corn. From there we walked back to Larco Mar and the girls stopped in a few shops along the way looking for bargains. More shopping at the Mall for the ladies, while I sat on a bench with the other “bored” men.
Then it was back to Barranco. On the walk along the coast you could see several hang gliders working the cliffs of Miraflores. It was very neat to watch. Then back in Barranco, yes you guessed it, it was back to “My Favorite little Place” for another round of Postres. Hmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!! At this point we decided to take a walk down to the beach and watch the sun set. After walking along the beach for a bit, we went into a beach side restaurant called “Rustica” for a cocktail and to watch the locals enjoy a sunny day at the beach. We all ordered a Pisco Sour, no one liked them even though they tasted a lot like a Margarita. Not at all like the one I remembered having in Cusco last year. We then climbed back up the trail leading down to the beach and really watched the sun set from the top of the cliff over looking the ocean. It was the end to another perfect day. My Birthday!!!!!!
More tomorrow everyone.
Day 7 A Tour, Laundry and more really exciting adventures
It’s early morning and the ladies have just left for their first solo tour. They will be doing a bus tour of the Historical part of Lima. They left with instructions to get as many stories as they could about the balconies and lots of photos. I will be doing some shopping, laundry, maybe the gym, a nice nap and then I will go to meet them at Larco Mar when their tour is over and see the Museo de Oro with them. Oh, just another interesting tid bit, as we were walking yesterday we saw a sign for “Bull Fights” on my birthday. I wish I had known, I would love to have gone.
Well I got all the work around here done, no time for the gym though, and had to do a little help with an Interface at work. Mike just barely made it a week before texting me. LOL Then it was off to meet the ladies at Larco Mar to tour the Museo de Oro. A short 30 minute walk and I was sipping coffee and eating ice cream waiting for them. They showed up a few minutes after I got my order. They ordered some sandwiches for lunch while I finished my Ice Cream. They apparently had an OK time on the tour. Down town Lima is VERY busy during the week and the ride around town can be daunting. Still, they enjoyed the visit to the Historical district and got to see many interesting building and churches. In particular the Presidential Palace, the San Francisco Church (lots of bones in the catacombs of this church), and other interesting historical sites. In addition they got to see an interesting parade of people from all walks of life.
They left the apartment very early to catch the tour and had time to visit another one of the Parks in Miraflores before it started. The Parque de Amore was definitely an interesting place according to them and I think I will make the effort to go see it myself after they leave. Apparently they have a kissing contest in the Park and the record stands at 45 minutes for right now. The contestants had to be in the position of the statue in the picture as they were kissing for the contest. There are also apparently lots of tiled attestations to love throughout the park and it is the place in Miraflores to go make out with your lover. Apparently no one pays attention.
The Museo de Oro was also very interesting. It contained lots of samples of Gold works done by the various indigenous peoples throughout the history of Peru. The pieces were very beautiful and the history behind them and the people was fascinating. The walk through the museum took about 45 minutes or so and was well worth the time.
Afterwards it was the long walk home, a brief refreshment stop at the apartment and then out to dinner at a restaurant, “the Las Mesitas”. Their Tamales were excellent (not as good as your Aunts, Joe) and I also had the Alpaca. Then a short walk around the downtown section of Barranco at night , a quick stop at the grocery store for a few supplies and back to the apartment where the ladies did more laundry and read some before bed.
Good night all, more will follow tomorrow.
Day 8 A Bike Tour of the Bay and getting ready for Cusco
It’s hard to believe I have been here a week already. Time is just flying by and I haven’t even had a chance to begin work on any of the articles I had planned. It seems I am just having too much fun running about with the ladies. I am definitely going to have to knuckle down after they leave. We slept in a little bit longer this morning, or at least Rita and I did and we are taking our time getting ready for the day. Cyndi is finishing up a bunch of Laundry, I have packed for Cusco tomorrow and everyone is looking at the guide books about Cusco. This afternoon we have a Bike Tour of the Miraflores Bay planned. Except for Mary none of us have been on a bike in years so we hope that old adage “It’s like riding a bike, you never forget” holds true.
Before heading out I took a quick walk around the block to get some photos of the area around my apartment. This first photo is of my apartment. It is the one with the open window. It is a really nice neighborhood and there is a beautiful church only a block away. Returning to the apartment I picked up the girls and off we went to begin our day. We stopped at “My Favorite Little Place” for lunch and some postres. Cyndi and Mary had the “Triple Integral’ sandwich, Rita had the “Tamal de Pollo” and I had my “Empanadas Mixta along with a Lucuma Milk Shake”. The desserts were delicious as always. Finishing up we headed off to Mirafloresfor the Bike Tour of the Bay.
The walk was quick and we arrived an hour early. We paid the guide (Jose) and decided to walk around downtown a little to pass some of the time. We ended up in Parque Kennedy again and there was a display of humorous art from all over the world with a theme of “Global Warming”. There were some fantastic works and a picture of a couple is included here for your amusement. While we were in the park we were also accosted by some students needing help with school projects. Rita and I were interviewed concerning our preferences for restaurants and what would draw us to a new one featuring Peruvian cuisine. Mary and Cyndi were interviewed about Backpacking. It was fun and it did pass the time. Then it was back to the Bike Tour office to get started.
At the office we were given our Bikes which were adjusted for us and Helmets. Bottled water was handed out, we mounted up and Jose led us through the streets of Miraflores to the street/sidewalks bordering the bay. As noted earlier, some of us had not been on bikes in years and it was just a little exhilarating riding again. By the first stop we were all doing well and our guide Jose started his spiel at the statue of one of the famous scientists from Peru. The tour led us along the coast of Miraflores, Barranco and Chorillos. We stopped at multiple points as Jose gave us an excellent lesson in the history of the three cities and the things that we were seeing. He talked about the destruction of the areas from the war with Chile in the 1800′s and then the destruction caused by several earthquakes in the following centuries. We saw the old Funiculo in Barranco which used to carry people down the cliff to the beach. A site that I am positive that not everyone visiting Barranco gets to see. It was down a little side street and through a private gate. We stopped at a view of the Fishermen’s Pier in Chorillos and saw all the boats anchored there. We visited the lighthouse in Miraflores and also stopped at the Parque de Amore to watch the Hang Gliders up close. The entire tour took 4 hours, with a lot of pedaling. Some of it was through patches of very exciting traffic. Here in Peru they care even less about bicyclists than they do pedestrians.
We finished up the tour back at their office and I have to say it was the end to another perfect day. I know that they offer a tour of the Historical District by Bike also, and even though I have been there before I think I will take them up on it also. I was very impressed with the Bay tour and I think that the downtown will be even better
Then it was the long walk home, don’t let it be said that we are not getting plenty of exercise. A quick snack, everyone checked their E-mail (apparently my web site is gaining in popularity) and now I am writing up the days events. Tomorrow we are off to Cusco. I do not think I will have Internet access there so this might be the last entry until we return. I will keep the journal in Word and cut and paste it in as soon as possible. Good Night to all our friends and family.
Day 9 Cusco, the Taxi, airport and new adventures
We are sitting in the airport now waiting for our flight to Cusco. The day started early for every one. Packing for the trip, breakfast, cleaning the apartment a little and waiting for the cab occupied most of our time. The cab arrived on time and we all piled in for the ride to the airport. I gave the driver instructions to pick up the girls on Saturday to take them back to the airport to return to the US. Thank god for Google Language Tools. It has been a life saver as far as the Taxi Service is concerned.
After a fairly normal ride (at least for Lima) to the airport we checked in for our flight. There was some type of problem with Mary’s ticket. We never did get the story on what the problem was but it was finally resolved and we are now inside waiting for the gate to open for out flight. The girls are off shopping (big surprise) and I am sitting in the little Café drinking Café and eating a postre (another big surprise). LOL
The plane arrived safely in Cusco. It was a nice flight. Mary had a window seat so she could actually see the Andes as we flew over them. It was a beautiful day when we landed, warm and the sun was out.
Mauricio arrived in the Churches new truck to pick us up and give us a ride to the airport. I guess the multiple trips into the mountains for biking events finally took its toll on the old one. He also told me that they are going to build a new school. There was an international competition for the design and a man from Cusco actually won the prize. It sounded very nice with a sports complex and everything. Actual construction will start as soon as they sell the old school.
We arrived at the Hostel (Santa Catalina) and Mauricio accompanied us in. He had arranged the rooms for us as a favor to me. He is such a good friend. The rooms are nice. Basic but with everything we need. Certainly a great deal considering what we had to pay for them. We went to our rooms, I gave Mauricio the external hard drive I had purchased for him and he had to take off for some meetings. There is apparently a film festival here in Cusco this week as well as visitors from the APEC Conference. It appears that I will not get to visit with my friend very much this trip. We all drank our Coca Tea and took an hour nap to help avoid the Altitude sickness. Rita had a headache but not severe enough to be classified as one being caused by how high up we are.
Having settled in we took off to do a little walk around in the historical district here in Cusco. We went to all the main Plazas and Churches and everyone took loads of photos. The historical section of Cusco is very beautiful but as I have stated in the past, far too touristy for me.
While we were wandering about the plazas we came across the Farmers Market and decided to wander in. Talk about overwhelming sensations of sight, sound and smell. There were rows upon rows of everything from fruit to sea food, to spices, vegetables of all types, nuts and an assortment of tourist type goodies. It was a photographer’s heaven and I am sure there is a short story in there somewhere.
Getting back to our rooms we took a short rest and went to Guisela’s Irish Pub for dinner and to clarify the tour arrangements while we were here. The dinners were delicious (I had the Alpaca Medallions) and Guisela came and talked to us about our arrangements. She is a very sweet lady and such an easy person to talk with. The real Cusco Adventure begins.
Day 10 The Sacred Valley Tour, Rain and canceled events
We all got up early, had our breakfast and were out front at the appointed time to join our tour of the Sacred Valley. I am also calling it the Sacred Shopping Tour since we stopped at more Markets than actual sites on the tour. I knew this in advance though and the trip is still worth it. Getting to see the Sacred Valley and how the general population of Peru lives is worth it. In addition, the scenery is spectacular. Rita, Cyndi and Mary all managed to pick up a few nifty souvenirs along the way. Our first real stop on the tour was at the Market in Pisaq. The girls really liked it there and wished we could have stayed a little longer. I liked it because I got a lot of great photos. There was an extraordinary selection of goods there. From there it was on to Olabamba where we had lunch. It was a buffet of typical Peruvian foods and we all enjoyed them for the most part. There was a green sea weed type vegetable that apparently I was the only one who liked it.
Finishing lunch and snapping a bunch of photos, we boarded the bus for Ollantayambo, the largest archaeological site on this tour. I have to admit that it is spectacular but having been there before I left the girls to the mercy of the guide and I foraged the site on my own. In the end I was glad that I did, I ran across some things that I am positive the tourists with the guides do not get to see considering the time allotted to the site. The one thing about this site is that it was never destroyed by the Spanish. That was due to the fact that the Inca never completed it.
Back on the bus again and we were off to Chinchero, the last stop on our tour. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot for a tour but we started at 9am and didn’t get back to Cusco till 6pm. There was a lot of distance and mountains between these stops. Chinchero is another Incan site where the Spanish destroyed the Temples and built a church on top of them. The church here was built in the 1600′s and is beautiful. Lots of GOLD, Silver and fantastic murals cover the whole of the inside of the church. Of course there was a Market here also and I finally broke down and bought something for myself. Then from Chinchero it was back to Cusco. By the way our guide on this tour is an archaeologist, Romulo Valencia, and very knowledgeable. He worked on some of the original excavations at Machu Picchu. His latest dig was an assist in the excavation of some pyramids at Palenque in the Yucatan. He is doing guide work as a supplement when the season ends for digs. Cyndi and I purchased his book which has a lot of interesting facts in it.
Back in town the girls (you guessed it) went shopping again and were then going to get something to eat and contact Guisela about the trip to Mach Picchu in the morning. I went out to dinner and was going to watch a Fashion Show that was part of a Film Festival they are having here. But, true to form it started raining just as the show was about to begin. I waited for the rain to stop for about a half hour, it didn’t so I am back in the room typing this up. It’s 10pm now and still raining so now it’s TV and bed. More tomorrow.
Day 11 Machu Picchu for the girls, writing and catching up for me; Hmmmmm who got the better deal?
I got up this morning around 7, got dressed and had breakfast. The girls had already left so I imagine that they were enjoying the train ride while I was downing cups of Cafe Americano. After breakfast I decided to wander around Cusco a bit. The air is so thin up here, “a little bit” is all I can handle at a stretch. While walking around taking pictures at random, naturally a young man “Julio” came up wanting to sell me post cards. After multiple No’s” as he followed me around the square I asked him if he would like to guide me around Cusco to some spots I was unsure of for pictures. He agreed and so I was able to see some of the smaller churches and Plazas I would ordinarily have missed because I didn’t know how to get to them. Julio was nice, a 15 year old student who was selling post cards to get lunch money. Schools here are a bit strange as there are two sessions. Some students attend from early in the morning till 1pm and the others start at 2pm and go till 7pm. He is in the latter.He wants to be a Doctor when he grows up and now he loves sports and is a “Great” soccer player. At the end he walked me back to my hotel so that I would not get lost. It is easy to get turned around on the small side streets in Cusco. The best of the Plazas that I aw was the one called San Blas with its old church. The fountain outside is very beautiful.
After a short rest and downloading the pictures I took I went back out for a mid morning coffee and some postres. Now I am back typing all this up and waiting for my friend Mauricio to call for a lunch meeting if he can get away for a bit from all his responsibilities. More later in the day mis amigos.
One last note – ALL my love and prayers go out to Mona and her family today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Besides gliding around Cusco, most of my day was taken up with working on this site, writing an article on a restaurant I dined at and catching up on E-mails. Finishing up with all that I watched a little TV until Mauricio came and we went out to eat. The girls were not due back from Machu Picchu till almost 9:30 so I decided we would not wait for them since Mauricio had another meeting about the Film Festival at around 10pm. Just as we finished up our meal the girls came trotting in from the tour. They were all very impressed with the site and had a whole bag full of stories to tell. I’m sure that most of you reading this will get regaled with them on their return. After a quick visit with us they headed back to their rooms to spruce up and go out to eat. Since Mauricio had to leave I opted for heading back to my room to finish packing and get to bed early since we have an early morning flight.
Day 12 Back to Lima and the Girls head home
Up early again and after a quick breakfast it was off to the airport to catch our flight. The Hotel had arranged for us to have a Cab and he was there right on time. At the airport I only have one piece of advice for those traveling within Peru. Do your check in on-line if at all possible. It will save you a lot of time checking in. Otherwise things were smooth and we boarded the plane and arrived in Lima on time. A not so quick Cab ride back to the apartment and it was nice to be home. LOL The girls showered and spruced up and we headed for Barranco’s main square to eat lunch at the Food Fair.Tacu Tacu with Fried Eggs and Beef Heart was had by all and washed down with Chicha Morada.
Stuffed to the gills I waited while the girls (you guessed it) shopped again for more stuff. Then a quick trip to the grocery store and here I am writing this up. More later as the day progresses.
The rest of the day the girls spent packing and getting ready to leave. It was great aving them here. They expanded my horizons a lot. We did things I am sure that I would not have done if they were not here. The Bike ride around the Bay is a perfect example. Anyway, they have been loaded into the cab and are now on their way to the airport. They have a long 24 hours ahead of them. For all of you who have been following their adventures on this site, I hope you enjoyed it. I am going to miss them but more friends arrive on Monday.
Day 13 Just a bunch of boring stuff
Up early again today. Don’t know why but I have a hard time sleeping late here. Sure missed the girls today though. It was a little weird getting up and coming out to the living room and not seeing one or two up already reading. I didn’t do anything exciting today. After breakfast and checking E-mails I did some laundry, cleaned the apartment, did dishes, went to the grocery store and wrote up a couple of reviews on two restaurants I was impressed with in Cusco. Just another boring day and I kind of enjoyed it. At one point a small parade passed in front of the apartment. I had to hang out the window to see it, so no pictures. There was a marching band, some young people in uniforms and what looked like an order of Sisters from the local church. Seems like there is always something that I haven’t seen before.
The rest of my day was just as boring. I watched a movie on TV, read some on one of my books and tried writing some more on one of the articles. Now it’s bed time. See you tomorrow.
Day 14 More Friends Arrive and another walking tour of Barranco
It was up early again today to wait for my friends from Seattle to arrive. A quick cleaning in the kitchen and making sure that I had enough for breakfast. They arrived at the same time my previous guests had and were naturally tired from the long trip. They napped a little after I fixed them a quick breakfast and we sat around and talked for awhile. I hadn’t seen them since my visit to their place in May. After they had rested up a bit I gave them the walking tour of Barranco. Essentially the same one I gave the girls. We stopped by the bank so that they could get some Soles and I also showed them where the Super Mercado was. Afterwards we went to “My Favorite Little Place” for some Postres and Coffee. It was good as always. Then back to the apartment for a little more rest before going out for a late lunch or early dinner depending on how you look at it. We went to Las Mesitas, a restaurant that the girls and I had enjoyed.
Now we are back at the apartment and soon it will be bed time. Another relatively boring day in Lima. Tomorrow we plan to walk over to Miraflores and try to arrange for them to do a tour of Cusco, Machu Picchu, Puno and Lake Titticaca. They plan to take 7 – 9 days to do the tour.
No photos again today folks. maybe tomorrow.
Day 15 Miraflores again and trying to arrange tours
Up early this morning and fixed my breakfast. The guests are sleeping in a little. Today we will walk over to Larcomar to see if the Travel Agents there can arrange the tour the guys want to do. I worked a little on a short story idea, checked E-mails and then Dale and Dean were up. Showers and morning ablutions finished we were off to Miraflores.
The morning was cloudy and cold but the sea views on the walk to Larcomar were beautiful anyway. Security was everywhere for the APEC Conference. I think they are expecting large crowds of demonstrators at some point. No pics of the security, I didn’t feel like getting arrested today.
Arriving at Larcomar we stopped in a restaurant first so the guys could eat and then I dropped them off at the travel agent. They are already decking the Mall out getting it ready for Christmas. About an hour later they came out and had decided that this route was too expensive. I was over $1100 each and that did not even include the airfare. We decided we could do better making the arrangements on line ourselves.
Leaving Larcomar we headed up Av. Larco to Parque Kennedy, casually stopping in at a few stores and just checking things out in general. The sun had come out and it was a beautiful day.Arriving at the Park we strolled and looked at the art exhibition. We also stopped at one of the side walk Cafes for a Postre and some liquid refreshment. I cannot brag enough about the desserts here. They are so good. Thank goodness I am walking a lot and am hopefully keeping the weight off.
Afterward it was a long leisurely stroll back to the apartment to start our internet planning of their trip to Cusco, Machu Picchu and Puno. In the end we managed to get the cost of the trip for considerably less that the travel agent had managed and that included airfare. They will leave the 20th and return the day before Thanksgiving.
Finishing up the guys went out for a few walks and Dinner, I stayed in and tried writing. Now it’s early to bed and looking forward to another day in exciting Barranco.
Day 16 Cleaning the Apartment and trying to write some more.
Well I spent the day cleaning the apartment and finally taking the time to try and make it look more homey. Lots of boring work for me. Dusting, sweeping, mopping the floors, cleaning the shower, dishes, etc. etc. etc. The boys took off early enough to wander around Barranco some more. Not sure what they were looking for but they seem to be having a good time here. They returned around noon and left while I was at the market (getting flowers and more water). They wanted to return to Miraflores and do some wandering and shopping there. While they were gone the small local school just down the block had a parade with the children. They led the parade with a big Banner (not sure what it said), this was followed by a marching band of young boys and girls in their school uniforms. After that each of the grades down to the very young kids followed with parents and teachers helping. It was just all too cute. I managed to take a break from the chores, lean out the window and get a few pictures. Here’s a couple of pictures of the inside of the apartment also. It’s nice but a little too monotone for me.
The rest of the afternoon, I read a book and waited for the kids to get home. Then I fixed dinner (Spaghetti with meat sauce and Garlic Bread with a little wine). Dale and Dean went to my favorite Little Place and got Dessert so it was a very satisfying and filling meal. Afterward they packed for the trip to Cusco and Puno. As always early to bed after another relatively boring day. And, NO, I did not get a single line written about anything. The guys will be gone a week so I am hoping that finally having this time alone will help me get some stuff done. Or, maybe I’ll just go party all week and worry about it later.
Day 17 The Guys are off to Cusco and Puno and I finally have some time alone.
Up very early this morning to see the guys off to Cuzco. Hopefully they will enjoy their time in the city and at Mach Picchu. From there they head to Juliaca/Puno to see Lake Titicaca. Didn’t get much sleep last night for a variety of reasons so I have been tired all day. Even a couple of power naps didn’t help. So today just cleaning up the apartment a little, reading on my book some TV and it will be very early to bed tonight.
Boring day but that’s OK. Tomorrow everyone.
Day 18 Planning Tours, A Parade and a walk around Miraflores Coast Line
Finally a good night’s sleep. I was up at 7, coffee, coffee, coffee and some breakfast and I was finally awake. answered some E-mails, found out my friends made it to Cuzco OK and it was time to dress for my days adventures
As I left the apartment, there was another parade forming right in front of it. It was a big one. Dedicated to Santa Terrisita I believe. It went on for over an hour. I think every school in Barranco, Chorrillos and a couple of other barrios were represented. Each school either had a band, kids in costume doing local dances or both. The ages ranged from adults to very small children who could not have been more that 5 or 6 years old. I was taking pictures like crazy and even a couple of movies. I hope I can load them here for you to enjoy. If I thought the little parade I saw at the school down the street was cute the other day, this one was even more so.
After the parade it was off to Larcomar to arrange my tour to the archaeological site south of Lima. The walk over was interesting as the amount of security had increased even more from the last time I walked over. I passed several attendees of the APEC, they were fairly easy to spot with their body guards and badges. Peru had pulled all the stops for security. There were City Police, National Police, Army, Private Security and Horse Mounted Police. Check points were everywhere. I guess it pays to be tall and look Irish because I was always just waved through. I have to admit that all the security guys are starting to look familiar. In a few days I will be calling them all by their first names.
Getting to Larcomar it only took a few minutes to make my reservation for the tour on Tuesday morning and I was off walking again to the north. I wanted to get more pictures of the Parque de Amor and the lighthouse. As I was walking low and behold, Jose and his Bike tour passed me from behind. Jose yells out a “Buenos Dias, Que Tal Rod” as they raced by me on a bridge. When I got to the Parque de Amor they were still there so I made my reservation with Jose in person for the Bike Tour of Downtown Lima on Sunday. It was good seeing him again. He is such a nice friendly person. I think his families business will do very well with him doing the tours.
I continued my walk and naturally took more pictures as I went. Then it was time to return to Barranco. On the way back I of course stopped at My Favorite Little Place and had Jose’s (Is that everyone’s name here) wonderful Empanada’s and a Postre for Lunch. Then back to the apartment for a quick change and off to the Super Mercado for some much needed supplies. Now I am typing up the days events and then I hope to add a little to the story I have started. I will add photos later. Tomorrow is another day. See you then.
Day 19 Writing, writing, writing writing
Does the header say it all? LOL I finished up the first draft of a short story I was writing and sent it off to Tim for proof reading and corrections. I also started a new article on the Bike Tours of Lima. The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, dishes and watching a little TV. Tomorrow is The Downtown Bike Tour with Jose’s company. I am looking forward to that.
Day 20 Bike Tour, Interviews and more writing
Up early today to get ready for my adventure with the Downtown Bike Tour. Shave, a shower, coffee and cereal and I was ready to go. A quick half hour walk to their office and of course I was too early again. So, I wandered up and down Ave. Larco and watched all the preparations for the dignitaries to leave.Then back to the office and there was Jose’s father opening up. Within minutes Jose pulled up in his van andwe sat and chatted while waiting for any others who might show. There was supposed to be a couple but they didn’t make it for whatever reason and so “Ta Da” I got a private tour.
The bikes were prepared, they adjusted my seat height and gave me my helmet and off we went. I young lady accompanied us. Fiorella was her name and although she did not speak much English she understood it very well. I have the impression that she might be Jose’s girl friend but I could be wrong on that one. She is the official photographer for the Company. I thought that they would cart us dowtown, let us out and the tour would start there. Boy was I wrong on that one. The Tour started at their office and we rode the bikes all the way down town through all the neighborhoods. Jose also explained to me that we would be taking different streets than normal due to the Security for APEC and because President Bush was having lunch at the Presidential Palace we could not see the Central Square of Lima. Having already been there with Mauricio on my last visit this did not bother me at all. Now, I have to say that I am not the most in shape guy and I did not have a problem doing the tour at all. Even though they told me it was a slightly uphill ride, I could not tell it. I think this one is easily as good as the Bay Tour and depending on what your interests are, it might even be better. We rode through Miraflores stopping at the Parque El Olivar with its Olive trees that were grown from seedlings brought from Spain in the 1600s. We stopped at an archaeological site in San Isidro called Huaca Huallamarca that predated the Puclluana site by several centuries. It was remarkable and there was a nice museum attached to the complex. From there we rode through several neighborhoods whose names I can’t remember and stopped at an assortment of historical buildings and homes where Jose explained the history behind them. Most of the ride was down a central esplanade with a sidewalk made especially for Bike traffic. There were several large Parks that we passed through. Of interest was one park built to celebrate 100 years of independence. Each of the ethnic peoples of Peru donated and built an area there. For example the Japanese built a Japanese Garden, The French built a little Palace, etc, etc, etc. It was very beautiful. One park that I thought would be interesting (but we did not stop there) was a place that had a “miniature Lima” built in it with all the important monuments in miniature. By Lima I mean all the areas of Lima (Barranco, San Isidro, Surrco, Chorillos, etc.)
Reaching the downtown area, the nice Esplanade ended and we were at the mercy of traffic. Due to the APEC and the fact that it was Sunday, the traffic was very very light and it was a breeze maneuvering the streets. I think that Jose added a bunch of things in the downtown area that the tour does not ordinarily involve since the main square was closed off. I am not going to go into a detailed report of everything I was shown on this tour. I doubt my terrible memory could do it justice anyway. I will tell you that Jose has a remarkable amount of historical and casual information on this city. In talking with him I can tell you I agreed with him on one very important point. If you are coming to Peru, you need to spend more than just a day in Lima on your way to somewhere else. There is so much of Historical and archaeological interest here, not to mention the vibrant night life (of course I have yet to see that).
One of the interesting stories that Jose told me was about the Hotel Bolivar. The building and its interior are magnificent but the Hotel has fallen on hard times and they have lost their 5 star rating and now it is just a 3 star. Anyway, it is said that Ava Gardner stayed at the Hotel and went to the bar. She had three Pisco Sours and left without any effect. So here she is a legend. LOL They obviously haven’t seen me drink. Also, the Rolling Stones were thrown out of the Hotel for being too rowdy. If you like, the Presidential suite is only $120 US per night. Their regular rooms are only $60 and they are beautiful.
At the end of the tour Jose took me into the bar at the Hotel Bolivar and we had a couple of Pisco Sours while we waited for his father to come pick us up in the van. I swear they get stronger every time I drink one. Still, we sat and had a nice long talk about Lima, his business and things that he thought would be of interest to me. He gave me some areas to go visit that look beautiful so now I will have more to write about. Also, great guy that he is, he offered to take me back to the downtown area and help me figure out a tour route for my Balconies article. He states that he might have some information on the historical homes that would help me.
Then back to the Office where I recorded an interview with him for the Bike article and then the walk back to Barranco. A stop at My Favorite Little Place for lunch and now I am back in the apartment writing this up. Yes Mary, I got your sticker and both Jose’s say “Hi”.
It’s almost after 6 already so I will try to add a little to my articles, maybe a little TV and then to bed. APEC is over YEAH!!!. But I will miss saying Hola to all the Security people. Manana my friends.
Day 21 Lunch with a Friend and not much else
Up at a decent hour this morning. Spent most of it adding photos to yesterdays Journal entry. Then I soent some time putting together all the photos I had taken of the Bay Tour and the City Tour and burning them to CD for Jose. He had seen the ones on my camera from yesterdays adventures and asked if he could have copies. Of course I agreed but noted that if he used any on his website he must give me credit. I dropped the DVD I burned for them to on my way to meet Steve for lunch at El Tigre.
The lunch was nice, I had the Lomo Saltado. It was quite delicious and Steve and I spent the rest of the day getting to know each other. He’s a great guy and will be another good friend for me here in Lima.
Nothing else for the rest of the day. Didn’t even log on to the computer.
Day 22 Pachacamac and working on my writing (huh?)
The day started early and having to meet the Tour Guide at Larcomar. Steve (from lunch yesterday) had agreed to go on the tour also to help with my seriously poor Spanish translation. There was only one other young lady on the tour. She was from Ecuador and was working in Spain for a Bank. She was back in South America touring the archaeological sites.
The tour also included stops in Barranco and Chorrilos, both of which I had seen as a result of the Bay Bike Tour and wanderings on my own. The stories between the the different tour companies was consistent though. It was a slightly long drive out to the archaeological site Pachacamac and I was able to see a lot more of the barrioes that surround Lima. There was also a protected Wetlands that we passed through. It was quite large and although we did not stop there I think it would be a good place to visit for bird watching and other nature activities.
We arrived at the Pachacamac Archaeological Park and I was stunned by its size. It made Some of the places I have visited pale in comparison. There were many huge pyramidal structures for worship, administative activities and palaces. The place was so large we had to be driven to the points of interest covered on the tour. We even saw some archaeologists at work on one of the pyramids. The views from the top of the Temple of the Sun were amazing. The site goes back to the 1st century and has passed through several empires, the last of which were the Inca. The site was deserted after the Spanish arrived and converted the population to Catholicism.
After the tour, we drove back through Barranco and they were kind enough to drop us off close to the apartment. Steve wanted to fix us lunch so we stopped at the Metro and bought groceries and returned to the apartment. Lunch was nice. Rice, Carrots, Yellow Potatoes and Tuna. Then he had to return home. The rest of the afternoon involved a power nap and doing some laundry and now I am updating this. It’s after 8 so this will be it for the day. I have several options for tomorrow and I am expecting the guys back.
Buenos Noches Amigos y Amigas!
Days 23 – 31 Busy, Busy, Busy, more trips and then NO Internet
I am writing all of this after I have returned home. I got so busy with the guys after they returned from Cusco and Puno that I just didn’t have time to work on this. Then after they left I had lost my Internet connection at the apartment. So here I am trying to finish off the last week from Memory. I am sure I will get the sequence of things out of order but at least the gist of it will be here.
The guys returned from Cusco/Puno with tales of good times and near death experiences. It appears that the boat that they took to the islands on Lake Titicaca almost sank in a storm on their return. Three Hour Tour anyone? LOL After a few days back at the apartment they were finally seeing the humor in the situation. We spent that day listening to their stories, taking a look at their photos and eventually going out to dinner.
The next day Steve got us his Mom’s car and agreed to take us to the La Punta area. This is an area North of Lima where the Naval shipyards are, an Italian neighborhood and some older wealthy homes. I didn’t expect it to be as big as it was so we really didn’t get to see everything. Our day consisted of a tour of the Naval Museum, the Real Filipe a old Spanish Fort, and a 1950′s vintage Submarine.
The submarine was really cool but I have to say it was a little tight for me. Thank goodness my claustrophobia didn’t kick in while we were on the tour. The tour was all in Spanish so I am glad Steve was with us to translate the details. It was interesting to see what little space these men lived in while under the sea. This particular Sub could only stay under for 30 days.
After the Sub we toured the Naval Museum and learned a lot of history on Peru’s Independence and the various Wars they have been involved in over the years. The museum contained a lot of artifacts from throughout history including some ships mast heads, they were beautiful. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum. After the museum we went to lunch and for a little walk till the Real Filipe opened up. We ate at a nice Sea Food place and in our wanderings we got warned that we were venturing into a dangerous neighborhood. Apparently it was full of pick pockets and other dangerous types. We retreated to the main street and continued on without incident.
Lastly we toured the Real Filipe, an old Spanish Fort. It was a nice tour with lots of historical facts thrown in for good measure. Once again the tour was in Spanish so Steve was most valuable to us. We were put in a group with a bunch of school children (ages 8 – 10 I think) and at first we thought it would take away from the experience. In the end it actually made it a great tour seeing the kids excited and eager to learn the history of their country. At the end there was a little show of sorts involving a Pirate and the kids had us as excited as they were about the show.
The next day was one of relaxation and just hanging around Barranco. I needed to stock up on supplies for the house and do some cleaning. Then out to dinner and to bed.
Then once again Steve came to our rescue and got his Mom’s car and took us off to Central Lima. There I was the tour guide for once and was able to take them through some of the squares, down streets to see some of the Balconies and the Churches. Steve provided glimpses of some of the Goverment buildings, the Presidential palace and main square.
It was a nice day and we also had a good lunch in a downtown restaurant.
After that, the guys packed and left for home on Monday. Not before hitting the Disco though and having a little fun. I stayed home and cooked a nice dinner with Steve. My Disco days are long gone. LOL
The rest of my time there was spent getting to know Lima better and checking on apartments to rent in the future.Steve was once again a great help and now I know that I can actually live in this country for long periods of time. My only regret with this trip is that I did not get the writing done I needed to do. It was mostly my fault, I was just having so much fun entertaining my guests and exploring Lima that it just slipped into the “I’ll do that later mode”. Now I hope to get some of the articles done while I am here at home.
I will return to Lima for an extended stay on May 1st. Hopefully, this time I will actually get more work done.
To all those who followed my adventure, “Thanks”! I hope you will log in for Thailand in April.