We were greeted by the sun this morning, but it was short-lived. Although rain is unlikely here, Lima is often draped in a low, moist cloud, known as "garua" from May to October -- and it moved in by noon. Such a sky makes one forget that Lima is a desert, in fact, one of the driest in the world. Thank goodness for the rivers that run from the Andes mountains to the ocean.
After checking into our hotel at 1:30 am, we slept in and had our first orientation at 11. It was on the top of the hotel where I snapped this lovely view of the city.
We met our guide Pepe Campoy and the other 14 participants. Pepe gave us an overview of the tour and told us a little about the country. Peru has 30 million inhabitants, and 10 million (or one-third) live in Lima. There are 3 geographic regions - the desert along the coast, the Andean plateau and the jungle.
Then he took us on a walking tour of the area of Miraflores where our hotel, the Jose Antonio, is located. After walking along Ave. Larco, we came to Kennedy Park, which was well populated on a Sunday afternoon with families, lovers and "entrepreneurs." Pepe told us that many people work "informally." This means that they work for themselves on a cash basis and usually pay no taxes. Often this means "making work." These shoe shine men in the park are an example. Pepe said that in Peru, if you don't work, you don't eat.
There were also artists selling their wares along the street. I found a delightful small piece for only 20 sol (less than $7) from this gentleman.
Then we had lunch at Vista del Mar. My appetizer was yellow potatoes stuffed with shrimp, which was intriguing and delicious. Of course, there was some corn slipped in for texture. And the fish entre was excellent.
Afterwards we split up and I took a walk back on the sidewalk of Malecon Cisneros along the Pacific coast. The shoreline is not your typical beach. It has these high sandy cliffs that drop off down to the narrow beaches.
a tunnel of water which you can walk through and stay relatively dry and another where you can stand between spouts without getting wet.
All this for only 4 sols (less than $1.50). (I didn't even have to pay that -- seniors get in free!) What a great way to end my first day in Peru!