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.