They say Lima is big, loud, and smoggy and they are right. The place has a level of chaos we hadnt experienced in quite some time and we were thankful to have found a hostel close by to the bus station in the old part of town so we didnt have to deal with a taxi or otherwise figure out getting across town with all our stuff. We strolled into the 1900 Hostel and dropped our bags before immediately heading back out for some much needed food.
We had one thing on our mind: ceviche and we were lucky enough to stumble on a good looking local spot just a few blocks from our hostel called La Pirana that seemed to be bustling on a Saturday night. We ordered and shared some awesome ceviche and washed it down with a cold Cusqueña. Yup, stoked.
We then headed to the mall grocery store to stock up on supplies for our stay. On our way back from the grocery store we passed back by La Pirana and, still hungry, I ducked in to get involved with the other thing, aside from Ceviche, that Lima seems to have in abundance...Chicken. It seems that every 3rd establishment is a rotisserie chicken place and as we have been seeing them all the way through our trip down South America, I figured it was high-time to give one a try. For 4 bucks l got 1/4 of a chicken and a mountain of french fries. Now I see what the fuss is all about...cheap and filling...and pretty damn good!
In the morning, we were up early and we marched our way a few kilometers down town to find the Golds Gym that Gina had located online. After a good work out and some lunch we strapped on our walking shoes, grabbed our map in hand and headed out for some good old fashioned sight seeing.
There is actually a fair amount to see in Lima. several plazas, plenty of old buildings, churches, and some really nice parks, etc. We spent the best part of the day just sort of cruising and checking it all out. For dinner that night we tried to find something new, but ended up back at ye old faithful La Pirana where we got stuck into yet another delicious bowl of ceviche and I tore into another chicken plate. That's one bad thing about staying in the old part of town- what few restaurants there are tend to close early...so we thought it best to stick with what we knew was a good bet. La Pirana!
That evening we made our way out to the fountain park. I think it has a proper name, but I cant remember it so I'm calling it the obvious because its a park where there are about 20 different fountains that are all lit up and have different sort of themes. Some have choreographed movements with music like at the Bellagio in Vegas. Some are just neat to look at. Others are interactive. One is a water tunnel you can walk through. Its a little cheesy, YES, but hey its one of the things to see in Lima...worth 45 minutes and $4.
On Monday we hoofed it uptown to get to the Museum of the Inquisition in time for the 10am english tour. When we got there they told us there were no tours in English on Mondays. (Just as there hadn't been on Sunday afternoon when we were there!! Hence us coming on Monday at 10am- per their instruction). Our exasperation was thinly veiled, (by that I mean: blatantly obvious) and the guy apparently felt bad for us because he managed to drum up a lady to do a quick tour in English for us. Wow!!! Passive aggressive tactics working out in our favor- that's a first for us in Latin America. I may need to consider employing this more often.
The tour was actually really cool. Not only did we learn a few things...(e.g Lima was one of 3 places in the New World where they held inquisition trials back in the day. The others being...anyone, anyone...Bueller? Mexico City and Cartagena. You're welcome.)...but, we also saw the actual rooms where they tortured and murdered people in the name of the Old Fella and the hellish looking dungeon where they stored people waiting for their turn in the other rooms. So yeah, a little light material to start the day...and we left the museum with a pep in our step.
Next we hopped a bus to the 'cute' part of town called Miraflores which is where most of the backpacker types stay. Its a nice suburb right on the water. We found our way out to the park which is on a huge clif overlooking the Pacific. We watched tons of people paragliding and could see many handfuls of surfers out scoring waves as we walked along the walking path. Its a very nice area, but we couldn't help feel like it was a little fake. I mean there were about a thousand cute and overpriced cafes and restaurants, but I didnt see a single roasted Chicken store... you aint in real Peru if you have to walk more then a block to find a chicken store...thats for sure.
Our taxi ride back to the hostel was pretty exciting. For starters, it was nice to finally be in a taxi after several days as a pedestrian which in Lima means constantly scattering from cross walks as taxis come barreling down the street. It is no joke dangerous to be a pedestrian in Lima. But also, what was fun was that our taxi driver drove like a legitimate Peruvian taxi driver meaning fast, dangerous and recklessly. He blatently cut off one yuppie looking dude and that ignited a feud which involved many blocks of drag racing, aggressive maneuvering, attempts to cut each other off and more then a little Spanish cursing. Of course there were no seat belts in the little bucket of a taxi...G and I just exchanged glances and of course held on tight. Pretty hectic!
Thanks to our driver's speedy moves we made it back in time to pick up our laundry before they closed, which was clutch seeing as we were flying out early the next morning. That night we had planned on catching the new Bourne flick at the mall and even walked down there, but at the last minute we decided it better to spend the evening packing and preparing for (meaning finding a place to stay at) our next stop: Buenos Aires. So we grabbed some sushi for dinner (couldn't face La Pirana for a third straight night) and headed back.
The German backpackers we'd seen playing the 'Magic' card game a day or two earlier came home drunk at 2am which for these losers probably meant sharing a few wine coolers, but for us meant being woken up only a few hours before we had to get up to catch our flight. I laid there for a few minutes considering whether to go out in my boxers to confront them, but didn't want to deal with it. You never know how these things could play out...plus, it was 2am and I'm lazy.
We were out the door at 6:30 am and headed for the Lima airport. It's harder then you'd think to get a taxi to the airport...the first 4 I flagged down said no and peeled away so quick I almost lost my toes. Finally we were able to sweet talk one and we loaded up...
Now, all we had to do was survive the taxi ride across town...wish us luck!!