Plaza de Armas.... every city in SA has one:)

Lima Travel Blog

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I awoke in a strange place that morning. I had been dreaming of home, and as I awoke, I realized that I was no longer at home, no longer in the States, but was in Peru. I opened my eyes to view the surroundings I had only glanced at upon my arrival that night. I heard movements in the room and went to investigate finding my friend's aunt, uncle, cousin, great-aunt all awaiting my appearance:) Immediately, the phone rang, and it was my friend wanting to know how my flight was and if I was doing all right. His mom rang after, and she wanted to know the same as well as when I would be arriving in Arequipa. My friend's family was wonderful, and they immediately decided to take me to see the changing of the guard which is located downtown by the Plaza de Armas. Not only did I get to experience the changing of the guard, but I also experienced a protest, a little machismo, and the chance to see an absolutely beautiful church.

As I watched the high-kicking soldiers moving quickly across the palace grounds, I couldn't help by try and kick up my own leg to see if I could manage to bring my legs up as high as they magically brought their own. To my dismay, I almost fell in the attempt:) Posters of Machu Picchu hung over the palace as well as around the city as Peru celebrated its new wonder of the world! Guards surrounded the plaza as did armored cars. I would discover later as we walked through the downtown area and encountered a rather large protest group of teachers, that they were gathering as a result of the protests occuring throughout the city as well as throughout the country.

I didn't quite understand at the time the extent of the protest, nor understand the magnitude of what was occurring at this time. I simply saw people standing up for what the believed in, and waited for the answers to the questions which had been gathering in my mind.

I was dropped off at a cathedral, and decided to join a Spanish tour group along the way in order to gain more of an understanding of the Catholic Church and the Peruvian people. The building is outstanding. The ornate details and breathtaking beauty astounded me as I followed the guide through tunnels and across the paths leading to the saints gathered at the sides. I'm fascinated by the beliefs of the people. I'm trying to understand why the people pray to the saints. I find myself perplexed, especially knowing that the saints are only human beings who are immortal beings.

They are not God, nor could they ever be. However, in this particular church, the saints are believed to possess great powers, and people bring gifts to them, bring flowers, light candles, and expect them to comply with their wishes. I find myself wondering why. Wondering what they are being taught. Wondering if they have hope. Wondering if their prayers to the saints come true. Wondering if the lady I saw crying and petitioning the saint will have peace after presenting the saint the roses she brought.

As I exited the cathedral, I gazed around me and found that it was a perfect time to people watch. I sauntered across the street towards the fountain and found that millions of pidgeons had arrived. A little boy scattered to and fro as he played amidst the pidgeons, laughing happily as they formed a path for him.

A little girl hid in back of her mom as her mom fed the pidgeons, beckoning her to feed them as well. Old men lounged on the benches drinking their coffee and catching up on the daily news. Older women lined the paths, linking arms with one another and going on their daily walks around the fountain. Couples lined the path as well, gazing into one another's eyes. I found myself trying to capture the beauty of the day.. on a rare Lima SUNNY day.. and ran into an older gentleman who politely asked me how I was doing. I responded likewise.. "muy bien, senor. Y ud?" To which, to my surprise, he started moving his hips in a suggestive way, and said, "Si, estas MUY bien." ... to which my eyes opened widely, and I walked as quickly as I could in the other direction hoping to escape as fast as I could. I realized that older men were not even to be trusted!

Isoinspira says:
:) seriously.. you don't think that an older gentleman would say something like that.. but then again, I forgot that I was in SA! :)
Posted on: Feb 02, 2008
princessbride029 says:
I just about died of laughter when I read "estas MUY bien" :)
Posted on: Feb 02, 2008
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