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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Lima, Peru

Cathedral of Lima
I never harbored any intention to visit Peru. For me, Machu Pichu was not one of the seventh wonders of the world, it was the name of a friend's bunny rabbit. Then a couple of years ago, my friend Ingrid, one of the illustrious Hens, said she was joining the Peace Corps and was hoping for assignment in Peru. Of course I told her, "I'll come visit you!"  I say the same thing when anyone I know is going to live someplace foreign and cool, and 99% of the time,  a visit never even comes close to happening. On this occasion however, I decided I was not going to let myself wiggle out of a visit. I mean, when will I ever get such a chance again? I can scarcely imagine anyplace more exotic than Peru. So, now Ingrid has served in the Corps for 2 years, and is looking at returning stateside in January, I packed bags and headed on my first trip to South America.

Plaza de Armas of Lima
Senora Ingrid, at the Museum in Lima

Ingrid works in a little village south of Lima. She took a bus to meet up with me Lima where we stayed at 'the Friend's House', The House is a hostel where several of Ingrid's Peace Corps buds turn up and I got to meet several of them.

The day I arrived, we toured Lima, starting with the Museo Nacional de Arqueología Antropología e Historia del Perú - quite the mouthful.

We enjoyed playing dress up for a bit with Inca shawls and pottery. I think the things may have been meant for kids, but we're just bigger kids.

The museum has an inner garden area that I eagerly birded, finding Vermillion Flycatchers
and a new species that reminded me of White-winged Doves
There were many spooky looking skulls that had me thinking of ancient alien theories
I was quite taken by this ancient pottery owl that so
closely resembles the Wise Potato-chip Owl

 There was a little hall that featured replicas of Peru's famous mummies. I noticed several patrons were hesitant to walk across the glass bottomed area - of course I just tromped on past, hoping I wouldn't end up knee deep in sea shells.

This glass bottomed hall seemed to scare off some
museum guests who hesitated to cross it
Facinating Incan tapestry that looked almost 3-D in construction

Ingrid following behind yet-another group of Lima
school children exploring the museum.
Our lodging in Lima was a little hostel, much frequented by Ingrid's fellow Peace Corps members. She said it gave her a feeling of home, to run into so many people she knew while staying there. I liked it too, it was like a two story home with a living room, dining room and kitchen downstairs, and two stories of bedrooms above. Here is the view from our room, number 6.

You can make out the little door to the left of the carport doorway. Beyond the big gateway is a small Lima street, which for its small size is absolutely bustling with cars, cabs and citizenry. Still, as busy as the street was, the room was nice and quiet.

Later that day, we ventured back out, and took a cab to downtown Lima. There we did a little sight seeing, and had a nice, fairly tame dinner at a local restaurant. Later Ingrid directed us to a ruins, via a wild bus ride and a short walk. The ruins are in the middle of Lima and in the photo below the ruins look more like a Lego castle than genuine ancient ruins.

The cool thing about the ruins is that they are in the middle of the city, and just across from the ruins, affording a great view is a restaurant. Ingrid and I had dessert at the v. swanky restaurant.

View of the ruins from inside of the restaurant.

If you are interested, Ingrid had a lovely chocolate pastry with exotic nuts and loads of syrup.

I had a mix of ancient grains (quinoa and the like) with a big scoop of lemon flavored ice cream and flowers for toppings. Yummy.

Tonight is the last night in Lima for now. Tomorrow we head off to the desert town of Nazca.

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