Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Peruvian Journey: Part 1 - Lima

Welcome to Peru! My most recent trip was back to South America (by way of Toronto) for a journey up to Machu Picchu. Naturally, the first stop for virtually any trip to Peru is going to be Lima, the capital city and main international airport for the country.

If you are traveling to Lima, a couple pieces of advice: From the airport, you are going to want to grab a green cab. There will be a huge group of them and for airport to the city, the is the easiest option. In terms of expense, it's about $18 from the airport to Miraflores or Barranco, where you are likely staying. The price is fixed and tipping is not expected, however before you run off be sure that you check the sign and confirm the price. If not, then you may end up with a guy that tries to get a couple extra bucks out of you. Not the worst in the world, but it ends up being an ignorance tax.

The city itself is on a bluff next to the Pacific Ocean and is massive. More than ten million people call Lima home, which gives rise to some very stark contrasts between the haves and have-nots (as everywhere). Areas around Centro and closer to the airport are going to show a much more modest version of Peru, while Miraflores and some of the surrounding neighborhoods are lush and high end. Miraflores and Barranco both felt perfectly safe to walk around, even at night. Some of the other areas were obviously places that I wouldn't want to be out there as a tourist. As for when to go, summer in Lima means rain in the Sacred Valley, while dry season in the Sacred Valley means grey days as seen above. It is still warm, but it's not especially pretty.

I was in the city for a total of two and a half days. By far, one of the more interesting places that I visited was the Larco Museum, which houses and extensive collection of Inca artifacts. I'll go more into my thoughts on the Inca empire in another post, but this was what wet the whistle. The level of creativity and playfulness on display was very cool.

In addition to the pottery, there is also examples of the gold working of the Inca empire. One thing that I learned from this was that most of the gold on display that impressed the Spanish so much (and triggered a bloody subjugation driven by their greed of the native people) was actually thin sheets of a gold alloy. In reality, it really wasn't the solid gold treasure that we hear about.

Larco Museum is also home to a collection of very NSFW clay pottery in another section. Obviously, pictures are not forthcoming, but it is pretty obvious that the Inca relationship with sex was not the same as after the Catholics got there. Not at all.

In the next post, we'll take a look at some of the tastes of Lima, including Amaz, Pan de la Chola, La Lucha, and the fantastic Ayahuasca bar.

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