Monday, September 2, 2013

Sunday the 28th

Another travel day.  We didn't have to leave the hotel til 9:30 to get to the airport, but when we got t some of the here it was a mess.  The gates were all in the same area and we didn't see our flight posted at any of them.   Roberto had gone into the market to get some of the bread and cheese that Cusco is famous for to take back to his grandmother in Lima.  Since he wasn't around for reassurance some of the folks started getting hinky.  They were going from gate to gate trying to figure out where we needed to go, even though Roberto had warned us that the gates for departures change frequently right up until time to board.  Eventually he arrived and they announced our departure.  There was a huge crush of people with no clear indication of where we should line up.  Our group migrated toward a space along the wall and another big group lined up in an aisle across the room.  When they started boarding, they opened up a space next to the wall for people to come through.  The folks waiting in the aisle were ready to riot, Gayle got into a huge argument with a man who wanted to cut in front of her.  Crowd mentality can get weird, we all had assigned seats on the plane and were all going to board, but this need to be first just makes people aggressive.  I'm more of the sit and wait til the line goes down, I'd rather read a book than get jostled and elbowed by a crowd. 

Our flight went well, we stayed in a very nice hotel in the Mira Flores district.  We had a little free time, I walked around and found a casino.  I thought I'd play some blackjack in honor of my Dad, but the tables weren't open til later in the evening.  Played on a machine instead, came ahead by a few soles, then back to the hotel for dinner.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lima, Monday the 29th

We were in Lima during Peru's Independence Day celebration.  Everywhere we went we saw red and white decorations and people were celebrating.  Monday morning we started out early on a tour of the city.  The streets were pretty quiet, our tour guide said most people had been up late the night before celebrating and were probably sleeping in.  From the police presence everywhere we went it was obvious that they were expecting the crowds to come out again later in the day.  The bus took us to the main square where we saw the Presidential Palace, a Cathedral and City Hall.  From there we walked looking at all the fantastic architecture.   Because it is the dry season, they are building a road UNDER the Rimac River that runs through the center of town.  With 9 million people the traffic is monstrous.  After our walk we went for lunch at Al Fresco, a wonderful seafood restaurant.  I had a ceviche of tuna and salmon to start, then grilled otopus.  Yummmmy.   After lunch we were on our own.  I walked down to the waterfront, very beautiful.  Then took a cab to the Museo de Oro where I saw all sorts of gold artifacts.  In the same building was an armaments museum where they had weapons and uniforms from all over the world.  They ranged from ancient to things from WW2.  From there I went to Huaca Pucllana, ruins of a site where pre Incan people had lived, worshiped and been buried (there were mummies found here).  These people worshiped the sea, the pottery had fish, sea lions and other marine animals painted on it.  The structure was built with mud bricks, placed vertically in rows with space between each one which made the walls flexible in case of earthquake.  We were told that when the site was first found, it looked like a big hill of dirt because the top layers had crumbled from exposure to the elements.

From there I decided to walk back to the hotel.  I had plenty of time and thought it would be a good way to see some of the city.  The whole time we were gone, I was never afraid to be out on my own.  Of course I stayed mostly in main areas of the cities, but I felt comfortable walking on my own during the day and taking cabs at night.  The walk back to the hotel took me through a plaza where people were out celebrating the holiday.  I stopped in a variety store and bought a few little things, I had fun using my limited Spanish.  People were so kind, I was usually able to make myself understood, either through words or acting out what I wanted.

Back to the hotel, then the airport and an overnight flight home.  I had a fantastic time in South America.