Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lima. Finalmente

Getting to Lima was an adventure on its own. After missing the flight the day prior, I got to the airport at 6:30am to get on the list for the morning flights. All booked. I was starting to get really annoyed at the false hope they were giving me. If it's no, just say so and let me go do something better with my day then.

As instructed, I went back in an hour to try the next flight. Turned out that one was full too. However, they found that there was only one seat left on the first, 8:15am, flight. It was 8:05. So imagine the guy behind the ticket counter and me racing through the packed airport, shoving aside grumpy French travelers so that I could zip through security and make it just before they closed the door. It was yet another reenactment from the movie Home Alone. I could easily identify my seat on board, as the only empty one, and I buckled my seat belt, still out of breath.

When I arrived in Lima, before looking for my bag, I saw this sign on the wall:

"Worry less, everything will be fine."

It was the perfect message to read at the perfect time. My bag was waiting for me, I showed up at the hostel, and although they didn't have a private room for me, when I asked for a female dorm, they took one of their empty dorm rooms and let me have it entirely to myself. All this is without any prior reservations made. I met another solo traveler from Germany and the two of us set out for the day together.

Lima is such a strange part of Peru. It's the least like any of the cities I've been. I'm seeing no culture, some history, hardly anyone here even looks Peruvian. It almost feels like I'm in a weird part of Europe, and not in Peru.

Central Lima is a total dump. Aside from the few plazas and monuments, all the surrounding areas remind me of parts of the Bronx or Queens. Really not attractive nor safe. In fact, while asking for directions in pursuit of a recommended restaurant, a stranger strongly advised us not to wander through that part of town. Ok... So we stuck to the touristy areas.

There's a main pedestrian street that links the two plazas to each other, which is lined with cheap chain stores and bad/cheap/chain restaurants. There is just nothing to be seen here.

But I will say that I'm in love with Lima's candy colored architecture. The city has such a vibrant selection of buildings, it's hard no to appreciate them. It's like old meets new, which is my favorite type of design, so I'm really appreciating it here.

And this is also true for miraflores, the neighborhood in which I'm staying. This is the kind of neighborhood I'd live in. Its abundant selection of restaurants, boutiques and beautiful buildings is the reason why I chose to stay here (luckily) over touristy central Lima. I emphasize lucky because even lonely planet advises you not to stay out in central Lima at night. Phew. And can I just say that this hostel is awesome!? I highly recommend anyone in Lima to stay at the hitchhikers hostel.

Since I have no desire to see churches and I'm museum'd and sites'd out, my time in Lima is to wander around the good parts and really, more importantly, eat. I ate all things Peruvian in my last 2 days, and ill say, Peruvians know how to eat. Yum.

On my last day, I took a tour at some ruins from 400 AD and walked through a park. As I was walking through and daydreaming, I stubbed my toe on a stone paver so badly, it was gushing blood. That took me 30 minutes to recover.

Way to end on a high note. Now get me home.

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