The first thing I saw when I got to Lima were clouds, clouds and more clouds. I know it´s winter and all but Lima´s winter is right up there, or should I say down there, with good ´ole Detroit. I arrived in the morning and decided to go to the hostal and then into the city center for a bit before meeting Wendy at the airport. Not being entirely sure about the mark up on taxi costs in Lima, I got completely ripped off on the ride to the hostal. I did, however, have more luck once I reached the hostal. The nice lady at the reception gave me several maps and verbal directions into the city and told me where I could change those pesky chilean pesos that I´m still carrying around.
I don´t know if I was already put off by the taxi situation and the weather but I didn´t feel very comfortable in Lima. People not only looked at me but rather starred invasively and one woman started trying to talk to me in horrible broken English (and she wasn´t even selling anything!) I just gave her a dirty look and continued on. I was able to exchange my money but got lost multiple times searching for a supposedly nearby museum afterwards. Lima by far has the worst organization of streets and addresses Í´ve ever seen. Every street sign has two names on it but don´t be fooled there are usually at least a couple more that the locals use to describe the streets. In any case, when I finally made it there I only had about 50 minutes to rush through the Museo Banco Central de Reserva del Peru but I do recall some stunning peruvian art and a few artifacts. The best part though was that I didn´t pay a cent to enter!
Afterwards I went and picked up Wendy from the airport and we spent the night at our hostal near the airport as we were to leave the next morning for Iquitos. We had some descent chinese food that night. I honestly didn´t know before coming to Peru that the Chifa´s (what they call chinese restaurants) were so popular here. To read about the Iquitos jungle trip check out it´s blog entry.
After a few days in the jungle and a day and a half in Iquitos we were ready to head back to Lima. First I had to make another pit stop to change more money but afterwards we ventured out to find some of the sites listed in Lonely Planet. I wanted to find the really neat sounding water and light show but not only were there no shows on the day we went but it was also too early in the day. To top that off the gaurd standing at the gate also told me that they were completely closed for maintenance for another week and a half. Well…that was a triple bust I guess but we did stumble upon an amazing restaurant for lunch afterwards which made the whole mess up worth it. There was no sign outside but the restaurant was called El Senor Pallar. Another amazing lunch ¨menu¨for about $3.50 and the dessert blew me away. It resembled rice pudding but was made from Quinoa. All smiles from me!
After eating our large and wonderful peruvian food we called Wendy´s friend´s peruvian cousin who happened to be in Peru although he now lives in Italy. We agreed to meet up with him after a trip to Museo Larco. Inca pottery and sculptures galore at this place. I could´ve spent days in there but found myself having to rush after reading everything in the first two rooms and realizing that I was almost out of time. Also not to be missed is the separate erotic art section. Wow! It is one thing to imagine how the Inca´s lived it is another to imagine how they procreated and and…stuff. I´m going to leave it there I think!
To top off the night Rolan, the peruvian, met us at the museum and took us into Barranco – the hip drinking part of town. He showed us a neat area with many cute restaurants along side each other leading up the ocean. We had a few drinks and talked as well and despite our best efforts he managed to pay for everything – even our cabs! Upon saying our good-byes Wendy and I picked up our laundry and then caught another cab to an upscale cliffside mall in Mireflores (the touristy area we decided to stay in). There we perused the mall, remeniscent of Somerset in Michigan and had a very good dinner with an even better dessert. Lava cake (I ate the lava mostly) with fruit and vanilla ice cream. It was a heavenly end to our time in Lima.