First day in South America
Lima Travel Blog› entry 2 of 177 › view all entries
Had a fairly uneventful trip from Australia to Peru, via Los Angeles, although got pretty bumpy around Hawaii (must be all those volcanoes!). An unusual point with the USA is that even if you are just transiting, you must go through Immigration, collect your bags and clear customs. You then give your bags to a transfer person, walk yourself down the road to the next terminal and go through security again to go to your new boarding gate. Seems like an awful lot of work, just to pass through. YOu are also required to give two digital fingerprints and have your photo taken, so it´s all very official. Apparently Melissa takes a good picture, so we´re happy with US Immigration!! WE must say that all staff we dealt with in LA were extremely polite and friendly, so the bad reports coming from this area a year or two ago obviously had some impact on official behaviour.
After about 34 hours of travel we arrived at our hotel in Lima, Hostal Gemina in Barranco. Barranco is apparently well-known as a party/bar/club area and there is definitely no shortage of these. Lots of dining opportunities, some of which are very cheap. You can always find a set deal of the day for around s/6 or 7 (we think A$1 is roughly 2.50 sol), which includes two courses and a drink. On our first night we found a terrific family-run restaurant near the Puente de Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs) where we tried our first Pisco Sour - most enjoyable. The food here was a little more expensive, but fantastic quality. The place has been owned by the family for 80 years, and he is famous for his Friday night parties. Rehearsal is on Wed.night with the band, so we´ll probably head down. Hernan (the owner) talked to us for quite a while, to practise his English, so we really enjoyed our night.
We managed to fit quite a walk into today - followed the coastal walk towards Miraflores (after crossing the Puente de Suspiros and checking out the view of the Pacific from Lovers Point). The walk hugs the cliff-top and is quite spectacular -gardens are dotted all along the route, and are all well-maintained and very attractive. Lots of people walking their dogs, jogging and generally just wandering. We then made our way up to Miraflores, a nearby suburb known as a more affluent area of Lima. The walk took us quite a while, but was just what we needed after so long travelling. Miraflores is obviously the main tourist area, the main square (Parque Kennedy) is lined with KFC, McDonalds,Starbucks and almost every other US export you can think off. It also has more tourist-tat shops than you can point a stick at. You have to wonder how they survive when there are so many of them. We succumbed to a couple of Christmas decorations for our tree - little angels in the style of a Peruvian woman, quite cute. By the timewe finish our travels, we´ll have an extremely multi-cultural tree! After lunch at a local cafe (two delicious courses and all the home-made lemonade you could drink for S/6 each) we walked up to Huaca Pucllana, a massive temple complext built by people from the LIma Culture in about the 5th century AD. Although the site is pretty big, it is only a small part of the original 40 acre complex, as much of it has been built over with houses and other buildings. The archaeologists are still working on it, removing the rubble which covered it for centuries. Mummies have been found on the top level, and the little museum gives a brief explanation about the cultural practices of the time. You must take a guided tour, you can´t wander around on your own, but the guide (Alejandro) was very good and knowledgable, so definitely worthwhile.
WE caught a taxi home because tiredness wasbeginning to catch up with us, so had a short rest before heading out to dinner. As mentioned above, we found a great place called Songoro Cosongo, run by Hernan and his family. The houses is 110 years old, and the area is now listed as a heritage site by the government, so many of the old buildings are being restored. Hernan used to be a computer consultant with the UN in LIma, so a very interesting man, and now runs the restaurant from his home. The food is cooked by the family maids, and each has her own speciality (Maria the ceviche, Therese the meat,etc). Melissa tried the ceviche, a local speciality of fish which is marinated in lime juice with chillies and it was absolutely delicious. Noel had a type of shredded chicken stew (aji de gallina) which, along with ceviche, has been declared a national dish of Peru. All in all, a great day and night.