Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lima - Day 2

Sunday, May 24
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. 
I was also impressed with this man's work.
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.
But the city has done an excellent job of sculpting beautiful parks and commissioning artwork to enhance the walk. Three pieces which stand out are "Intihuatana," the hitching post in Quechua by Fernando de Szyszio, "The Kiss," a monument to love by Victor Delfin and "Silencio" by Jose Tola.
Along the way, I could also see people hang gliding off the cliffs. Too scary for me but I loved watching them.
Tonight Pepe and I went to the Circuito Magico del Agua at Parque de la Reserva. Throughout the park are 13 magical fountains that make an awesome display of water, light and music.
Although the park has been there since 1929, the fountains were opened in 2007 to rejuvenate the aging grounds. At first people complained about the $13 million price tag, but now they love it. On a beautiful Sunday evening, it was packed with families with their children dodging the water in some of the fountains, watching the changing patterns of light and water, and enjoying the music.
a tunnel of water which you can walk through and stay relatively dry and another where you can stand between spouts without getting wet.
(See me in the tunnel?)
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!

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