Peru 2005 Day Two: Lima

by Kara on July 23, 2005

Huaca Pucllana, an adobe pyramid in the middle of Lima. Lima, Peru

Huaca Pucllana, an adobe pyramid in the middle of Lima. Lima, Peru

Because we had added an Amazon rainforest extension to our trip, which replaced the Lima portion of the tour, we flew into Lima a couple days early so we could see the city. We had absolutely no itinerary for this portion of our trip, so we just played it by ear. One of my co-workers had a connection with a government official in Lima, so we had been promised a tour of the city. After a light breakfast at the hotel (most of our meals were included in the package), we called our contact and she sent over a driver. The driver was extremely nice, but he didn’t speak English and we don’t speak Spanish, so it was a very quiet trip. He took us on a two-hour tour over the whole city and even south of the city on the coast. Lima was larger than I expected. It has a population of a little over eight million people, which is about a third of the country’s total population.

After the tour, we took a walk around nearby Kennedy Park (yep, named after JFK), which has a craft market, lots of shoe shiners, a little amphitheater, and lots of painters displaying their work. Many of the painters were quite good, and I found I really liked the style of art. The craft market had some interesting things, but apparently, most of them are made in factories. We soon realized you could find the exact same products all over Peru.

Luckily, the Huaca Pucllana adobe pyramid was also near our hotel, so we walked over to check it out. Sadly, much of the structure has been destroyed by urban development, but they have archaeologists working to uncover of much of it as possible. They have uncovered lots of bones (all women) in ceremonial gravesites, but they are not sure if they were sacrifices or simply buried in a special way due to their status. They had some Peruvian dogs there, which turned out to be the only time we saw actual Peruvian dogs, although there are tons of dogs all over the country. The dogs are basically naked, with a crest of golden hair on top of their heads. They are incredibly homely dogs, but the ones we met were very sweet and happy to have people pet them.

Peruvian Hairless Dog

Peruvian Hairless Dog

We walked back over to the craft market and bought a traditional Peruvian outfit for my niece Catherine. When they gave us the price, which was 120 soles, we hesitated because of concern about what we could fit in our luggage. They must have thought we didn’t like the price because they then asked for 100 soles. That’s about $30.75 US. For all we know, we overpaid a lot, but they are trying to make a living, so we didn’t worry about it. Pretty much everywhere you go in Peru, people are trying to sell you something. There’s a real entrepreneurial spirit, so you just have to get used to saying “no, gracias” about every three feet when you’re walking down the street. Even the restaurants have people standing outside with menus chasing after you to entice you to eat there.

Man selling traditional dress (polleras) for girls.

Man selling traditional dress (polleras) for girls.

We were pretty tired, so we decided to just relax that evening and we went to see The War of the Worlds, since it was showing in English with Spanish subtitles. The tickets were about $3 US, and the theater was comparable to any decent suburban theater I’ve visited in the US.

Check out more of Stephen’s pictures of Peru.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: