Lima, Peru - Day 2
Special note to Vickie Gran: Thanks for the Guestbook entry! I hope you, Roger, Cory & Lynn Groves have a terrific cruise later this week – please stay in touch and let us know how it goes!
First, I’d like to correct some misinformation I shared with you yesterday. I said there are “150 different neighborhoods” within Lima – INCORRECT – according to our more seasoned tour guide today, there are only 43, and they are called political districts, not neighborhoods. Each political district has a mayor who serves a term of four years. They believe government can be more effective if they have more elected officials closer to the people. Conceptually, it makes sense, but in reality, I believe it’s a very costly & disorganized approach to running a government when in fact each Mayor can make his or her own laws. Although there are some general guiding principles acting as a unified governing umbrella per say, there CAN BE and ARE stark differences in civil laws from one district to the next, separated by a mere city block. What’s lawful down the street might be against the law up the same street – something as basic as a speed limit, or night curfews.
The second item I’d like to share with you is that we took a few hundred photos today and it will take a couple days to go back through & select a few for posting. We had an incredible tour and visited many interesting places – we each had a camera going all day, so please check back to this page in 3 -5 days.
Our tour this morning started at 8:30 – our ultimate destination was the Inca ruins south of Lima but before venturing into the desert, we visited an archeological museum downtown. This facility housed all of the artifacts excavated from the ruins and proved to be quite interesting – relics several hundred years old and in very good condition. We spent about 90 minutes going through the exhibition hall then boarded the bus for the trip south. We were again today driven along the ocean front and because school is suspended from December – February, there were thousands of teenagers enjoying the surf.
I need to digress for a few minutes here and share with you a play on words & language differences which proved to be quite funny.
Our tour guide today was a very nice lady named Ruth – she’s lived in Lima her entire life, and very knowledgeable about the city and its rich history. She’s learned the English language well enough to guide large tour groups, but doesn’t always articulate correctly. For example:
Beach - is bitch
Ramp - is rump
Freeway – is furway
Buddha – is Budder
So we leave the museum and Ruth gets on the bus microphone: “Before we get to de ruins, we stop at bitches…de bitches are very busy today and if we can, we stop for maybe 5 minutes so dat you can get off de bus and take pictures of de busy bitches”
So now we’re back on the bus, and Ruth says, “I hope dat you enjoy de bitches – so now we go to ruins. We have to get on furway to get to ruins. To get on furway, we must go up de rump over there next to de budder statue, then down furway for maybe 30 minutes. Oh no, I see jam on de rump…there is jam on de rump next to de budder, and it is de only rump to leave de bitches.”
Needless to say, there was controlled, ‘respectful’ laughter throughout the bus – though I must admit, we had tears running down our faces! Ruth was trying so very hard! The longer she talked and the more she tried to describe our dilemma, the more comical it became! It was an absolute classic!
Once on the freeway, we entered a community known as Chorrillos – Ruth was very apologetic and said this is the dark side of Lima, also known as shantytown. There were thousands of crude wooden huts built on hillsides, one on top of the other in layers stretching from the bottom to the top. Ruth said these were residents who came to Lima looking for a better life only to find themselves with no job and no money. Very sad, but not unlike the unfortunate, deprived areas we’ve seen elsewhere – and certainly not as bad as Bombay. Within minutes, we were away from the city and into the desert. It resembled Phoenix in some respects – the sand and stark landscape, though the dunes were towering in some places. Upon arriving at the historical excavation site, you could immediately see the ruins – immense, lofty walls constructed with crude, yet skillfully placed rocks & boulders. The Incas were a creative society and had many interesting rituals. You can see thrones, alters, small dwellings with unsophisticated windows, modest streets connecting the various assemblies. The digging and reclamation continues to this day, with funding from Brazil and of course, the US government. Located at the base of the Andes Mountains, you look up and see the curving, twisted terrain that has been there for millions of years and recognize that the Incas themselves looked at the very same marvels just a few centuries ago.
In total, we spent approximately 90 minutes walking the ruins, though most of the area was barricaded with security guards posted throughout. It was now time for lunch.
Walking around in the desert for 90 minutes can produce quite a thirst – we had warm water on the bus we brought from the ship but I decided to wait until we arrived at our reserved restaurant for lunch and have something cold to drink. There’s a drink in Peru known as a Pisco – it consists of ginger-ale, lime, and a special grape that’s fermented and produces a drink that’s 40% alcohol. We heard about these drinks (and their reputation) in a few lectures but passed the comments off as propaganda. I should have taken the advice seriously! Once off the bus at our lunch location, we were seated in a horse amphitheater to view a Peruvian horse show – this was a beautiful setting with trees, lush flowers, and two long rows of chairs within this horse riding arena. Before the show began, waiters with trays of pre-made COLD Pisco’s began distributing to the guests. As thirsty as I was, I slammed the first glass straightaway and asked for a second – it tasted a little like a whiskey sour but before the second glass reached my lips, KABOOM!! Down went the second drink, and the horse show began – Cheryl was enjoying herself as much as me! As you’ll see in photos to be posted at a later date, Peruvian horses are among the world’s most beautiful – we were treated to quite a show for approximately 30 minutes, and then escorted down the trail to the open-air restaurant where a buffet was set-up with, as one would expect, authentic Peruvian cuisine. From what I recall, it was an excellent lunch – we of course started with yet another Pisco! During lunch, they brought out some Peruvian dancers to entertain us. I don’t know how it happened, but I was somehow persuaded to get up on stage with these dancers (actually pulled from about 100 folks) and there I was, going in circles with a beautiful young lady, as if my head wasn’t already spinning enough from the Pisco’s! Of course Cheryl was busy taking pictures – she thought it was hilarious! I’m a lousy, very clumsy dancer to begin with – so couple that with long pants, heavy hiking shoes and three Pisco’s…NOT a pretty sight!
Before we boarded the bus for the trip back to the ship, Cheryl was able to go for a ride on one of the beautiful show horses – they were indeed incredible animals with extraordinary colors in their manes. I honestly don’t recall the bus trip home – when we arrived, I had a stiff neck and a wet shoulder – apparently I drool when I sleep.
We arrived back at the pier at 4:25 – the last bus to return. Our posted ‘All Aboard’ time was 4:30, so we just made it. Since it was a ship-sponsored shore excursion, the ship would’ve waited for us but it’s never a good situation to throw departure schedules off. Once aboard, the gangway was immediately pulled and by the time we got up to the top deck for the sailaway party at 4:30, we were already moving. As if either of us needed more alcohol, it was, after all, the sailaway party and it was, after all, happy hour. What were they serving?? PISCO’S!! Oh my…here we go again!
We skipped dinner last evening – in fact, we skipped last evening period. We were in bed by 7pm – and here I sit at 2am writing this update as we sail toward General San Martin, about 100 more miles south to go!
Again…please check back for photos in a few days!