A magical land where coffee and avocados grow in backyards and lime is 40c/kg!
Seriously, the abundance of fresh fruit here is astonishing. And all delicious. We have been staying with the family Renée did 13 years ago. It’s hard to overstate the welcome and generosity we received from Nancy and Quico during our week in Lima. Wonderful homecooked meals.
Nancy preparing lunch
Nancy is warm and hilarious, and seems to have a lot of fun trying to speak with me in Spanish, and then out of nowhere will drop in one of the few English terms she knows.
They even got us a cake!
Staying in La Molina, in the outer(ish) Eastern suburbs with the family was a much nicer introduction to Peru than some hotel in Barranco would have been, even if having to ask to be let in and out of the house (no key for us!) and having to be home early is a bit weird.
La Molina, with a view to the mountains
There´s a lot of this boxy residential architecture. The steel out the top of the buildings is just in case another story will be added down the track
The watchan watches for trouble
Take it to the top!
Transport in Lima is ridiculous. There is so much traffic, and road rules seem ot be more like rough ideas. It’s a bit of a free for all.
There´s a lot of this kind of thing too
So we get into this midsized combi from San Isidro, blaring 80s glam rock while hurtling along Javier Prado, the main East-West corridor, through 3 lanes of other buses all doing the same thing. The theatre of it all, with the cobradors (money collector) yelling from the doors at each stop, vying for customers, is all pretty hilarious, but I expect the novelty would wear off.
JAVIER PRADO! JAVIER PRADO! JAVIER PRADO!
The main problem as a visitor is trying to figure out which bus goes where. It’s all a bit cryptic. That, and having to plan for 2 hours travel time to get anywhere. Basically, we aren’t organised enough to pull off an efficient tour of Lima.
Miraflores, USA (on the Gold Coast)
American shops, Australian cafes, and 6 soles for a jug of beer, Miraflores is a weird microcosm that doesn’t really fit in with the rest of Lima I saw. A blend of gringo expats and tourists right on the coast to the South of Lima. It’s a pleasant enough place, and I enjoyed wandering around and the very large beer, and the plate of ceviche. But it’s just weird. As Nancy said, it isn’t Peru.
Highrise apartments and hotels, bars, and an almost calm atmosphere separates MiraFlores from the rest of Lima
Barranco – more tourists, but less uptight (and a bottle of Pisco)
We met with one of Renée’s school friends one afternoon and took a taxi to Barranco, the suburb just south along the coast from Miraflores. Barranco is at least as touristy as Miraflores, but feels much more laid back.
Looking North from Barranco
We had a look at the Pacific ocean, though from a distance, because nobody seems to use the dirty beaches in Lima. Then we settled in at a table overlooking the water. Luis, Renée’s friend, declared that a bottle of pisco was the right idea.
Catching up with Luis
Turns out, I don’t really like pisco. But by the time half the bottle is gone and with enough lime added, it becomes drinkable.
The next day was a family lunch back in La Molina. Nancy’s sister declared that I simply must try Pisco Sour, after hearing I didn’t enjoy the pisco. So pre-lunch pisco sours. Delicious!
The Language of Politics
It was during this lunch I got quite frustrated with my poor grasp of the Spanish language, for you see Peru is just one month away from an election. There are billboards everywhere in the cities, and in the country walls have been painted over with how to vote info (see graffiti above, and Vote For Pepe!). So while Renee got to talk both Australian and Peruvian politics with Nancy´s brother, Raul, I got to sit quietly.
But the elections are weird. There´s a ballot, and to win a candidate has to get a majority 50% +1 of the vote. However, strange things happen if there´s no outright winner. Instead of doing a preferential vote like Australia and others do, the top 2 candidates are selected, and another election happens a couple of weeks later. I don´t think you could get Australia out to two elections in a row.
A Bus to Magdelena
With 1) an almost anarchic (to the outsider) public transport system, and 2) our approach to planning, we hopped onto a bus from La Monlina to see where it took us. We hopped off in Magdelena, another coastal suburb north of MiraFlores. Again, my instinct for heading to beaches let us down. The area is under heavy development, and apart from this old church there wasn’t much to see or do.
Just love churches!
As I took this photo a family walked past, and the young boy asked “what are they doing?” To which the father replied ” I think they just like taking photos of churches.”
Indeed. Oh well, back to MiraFlores for a beer!
Look, I was finishing Renee´s beer ok
Magico Del Agua
One night we visited Parque de la Reserva, which has some fairly impressive water features. A nice cool relaxing end to the the bustle of getting around in Lima.
So after one week, I’m not sure I would really enjoy living in Lima. It’s enormous, and we’re too disorganised. That said, after a couple of days I started to understand its charm. Lima is a city unlike any I’ve ever been to. Loud, chaotic, and honest.