Yesterday my travel day was crazy! Shuttle driver to airport arrived 30 minutes late; air departure was a few hours delayed due to need of a part; 6 plus hour flight to Lima was followed by a 45 minute ride to hotel and then it was 1:00am today! But I did meet the other 5 travelers for the pre-trip extension and that was great!
I slept in, ate breakfast and took a morning walk in Lima, Peru's capitol city. There are 32 million people in this country. Of that number, 1.4 million are Italians, 1.3 million Chinese, and 100,000 Japanese. Peru has had a democracy for 16 years now. Lima looks like any other large city in the world with its housing in varying stages of development and types of architecture, drivers of cars beeping horns and not usually stopping at stoop signs, bike paths through areas of this modern section of the city, along with American establishments: Papa Johns, McDonalds, Starbucks, KFC, Chile's, and Popeye's! With 10 million people living in Lima, I think our guide a Jose mentioned there are about 100 Starbucks and 50 McDonalds in the city. I have plans to drink Peruvian coffee, but this morning's coffee was not strong enough for me (it was probably hotel pleasing tourist strength)
I took my first malaria pill this morning since we will soon be in the Amazon. It is taken with food so I have chosen breakfast as the time to take it. I checked the weather for Lima and it was to be 67 degrees. Our guide, Jose, said today has been their coldest day this winter. I also checked the village we are near in the Amazon tomorrow and it looks like warmer temperatures, but rain everyday we will be there. So while I tried to get used to this gloomy Lima sky today (I was told it never rains in Lima), there will be a variety of temperatures to deal with on this trip.
We walked through the Miraflores District, had lunch at a local restaurant, and our guide explained the various foods and history as we asked him many questions. I had heard of ceviche, but not of tiradito…so another raw fish with lime to try. Jose bought a green round fruit, chirimoya, and we had a slice of it before our lunch. White mango-like inside texture with a sort of plain taste…some thought vanilla….I would be hard-pressed to eat much of it. Jose pointed out a "survivor house" every so often. These are residences that still exist as huge tall buildings are built around these lone houses. Owners refuse to sell despite the fact that their property may be worth a couple million dollars.
We walked by a memorial monument commemorating tragedy in 1992 where a car bomb went off and killed a number of Peruvians. I cannot recall the opposing force. In the Central Park area, you see many flowers, shops, bike paths, people sitting around eating various food, car traffic, churches and buildings. Also walked to the Grand Pyramid which is flat-topped and made with individual bricks. I do not know enough about this, but it is huge and was built 1,000 years before the Incas were here!
It was a good day today and now to pack a bag for the Amazon. I can leave other things here at the hotel since we return here is 4-5 days and meet other travelers joining us for the main trip. Reminder: Amazon does not have electricity as often as the city so I will write and sent the post out when I can.