November 28th, 2008 – by: alyssa_ob
We arrived at the Plaza Mayor, Limaâ€™s version of a Plaza de Armas, or main plaza. What to do? Have you guessed it? We sat on a bench and consulted the guidebook! We decided to tour the church for S/10. It was a big church and of course we got split up. It was nice and sort of museum like. I felt like I took forever and couldnâ€™t find anyone else so I left the church. No one was outside. Where were they? They couldnâ€™t possibly still be inside could they? So I went back in and looked around. Nope. Rather than sit in a warm, dark, depressing church I decided to sit outside on the steps and enjoy the breeze.
It was so nice out. I searched the plaza but didnâ€™t see them. I had a feeling they were sitting on a park bench reading the guidebook and deciding where to go next. Maybe even at the next destination and figured I'd meet up with them. I stayed put. The best way to be found is to stay where you are and let them find you. I figured if they were still in the church they would be kicked out at 5 when it closed. If they had moved on to their next stop without me, I would just catch a cab and make sure Iâ€™m at the airport by 10 pm. I was content to sit on the steps all night. Meanwhile I was enjoying the people watching, including the police in riot gear on the plaza. Hmmm...
ornate balconies so nobility can hide and watch people on plaza
They wandered out about 20 minutes later.
I guess they had been looking for me too, inside the church. Now that we were back together we took off towards our next stop. It was the San Francisco church/museum. We walked over a found a million people waiting in line to get in to the church. No thanks. Oh, that wasnâ€™t where we were going. We bought our entrance tickets but had to wait for an English tour. It was a good thing, because I probably would have gotten lost if I had wandered around there and this way we actually learned something! We saw another version of the Last Supper with guinea pig, but we couldn't take photos inside. It was all very cool - we saw some earthquake damaged walls, the library, church, and the crypt! For some reason, some archaeologists decided to categorize the bones by artfully arranging them by bone type. A little creepy, maybe, but we saw lots of leg bones and skulls and I wondered where the ribs were.
altar of Catedral
We wandered under the church and could hear the service taking place above us while we were looking at bones. On the way out I saw a niche with random ribs and vertebrae. And that was that.
mosaic in Catedral
We walked around the palace complete with armed guards in riot gear and tanks with manned machine guns. Hmmmâ€¦ are they expecting something to happen? I hear their president isn't very popular, maybe he had full protection like this all the time. We wandered around and came across a church that seemed to be guarded by two guards and dogs. But maybe they werenâ€™t guarding the church? We decided to check out Chinatown but it was disappointing. It was more like Christmas decoration-town. One really cool thing was a snowing Christmas tree.
It shot little Styrofoam â€śsnowâ€ť from the top and it collected in the base and got sucked up the trunk to snow again. It was very cool and I want one. We passed the Chinese arch thing but that was really the only sign of Chinatown. Yeah, we had enough of this town. We had to go back across a really busy multilane road packed with traffic and people and directed by traffic people. When the guards said to cross you went as fast as you could because you did not want to be caught in the middle of the road. Need I even mention all the honking? That is a given.
police in riot gear on plaza
We ate at a little restaurant where we all guessed at our orders since the menu was in Spanish. I had my final CusqueĂ±a and a turkey sandwich. Nothing special.
We tried to catch a cab to the airport but it was really difficult. Most cabs were full and when we did get one to stop, he refused to take us to the airport. I think maybe he didnâ€™t have the papers to get into the airport. We finally got a cab where the guy didnâ€™t creep us out. He was a good driver. He told us to lock our doors but his gas tank was also on empty. Donâ€™t they keep gas in their tanks here? It was a very scary cab ride through a not very nice part of town. Lots of honking and swerving, people that wanted our cab, lots of traffic and it was dark. We went through a rougher neighborhood and the whole time I was praying we wouldnâ€™t run out of gas because we would be the only gringas here and there were no empty cabs around. We also werenâ€™t on a highway, but more like a frontage road that ran along shops.
We were fighting for the road with big buses packed with people and four lanes of traffic squeezed into two and a half lanes - and there were no gas stations in sight. The needle was below empty. I was stressed out, but I donâ€™t think anyone else realized that we were driving on empty through a rough neighborhood because they were all dozing in the back. I made myself stay awake so I could see where we were driving, not that I had any idea if we were actually heading towards the airport or not. Fortunately we did indeed arrive at the airport and were able to collect our bags. We waited in line forever to check our bags but we didnâ€™t care because we were no longer out on the streets of Lima.
San Francisco Church (look at the line to get in!)
And then we began our journey home. Yay.
When we flew over Minneapolis the next day, I could see ice on the lakes and rivers, but no snow. And the day after that we got our snow - and it stayed.