time to dig out the old slide projector, pop some corn and indulge you all in the over 300 vacation photos I took.

We arrived in Lima, Peru late Thursday night on 20-July-2006.

The Lima airport is a modern and clean facility that offers welcome respite to the weary traveler (it is a 6 hour flight from Miami to Lima).

Lima, on the other hand, is not so clean and sparkling. It is a large, dusty city with air pollution - none of which is helped by it currently being winter in Peru. In the winter, Lima is almost always overcast - although we did get 2 or 3 days of sun. The greyness of the sky added to the greyness of the city.

Lima is dusty because it is a desert and not a tropical or temperate zone. There is little rain to wash away the dust, so it just accumulates. Of course, the air pollution caused by lots of cars and small open fires doesn't really help much either. The biggest change I noticed in Lima is that it is much greener than it was when I was there last 10 years ago - there is much more grass and trees in all areas now - not just the rich ones.

My relatives seemed concerned that I only see the good things about Lima, the rich fancy neighbourhoods, rather than the more common poorer ones. They are afraid I will have a negative impression of Peru because of its poverty and because I got sick (maybe more on that later - I am fine, I recovered). The truth is that I like being with the normal, average people rather than the elite.

The hardest thing for me to get used to is the scarcity of fresh water (in Canada, we have an abundance of the stuff - 20% of the world's fresh water). While it may rain in Lima during the winter months (it rained 2 or 3 times while we were there), it is more a like a fine mist that simply wets everything, but not enough to wash away the dust and grime (a consequence of which is that it makes the sidewalks slippery since the water mixed with the dust act as a lubricant).

You need to be careful what you eat and drink. I would not recommend drinking the tap water or using it to brush your teeth - not because the water is unclean, but because I am paranoid and I think it is better to be safe than sorry. Definitely avoid eating food from street sellers, no matter how tempting it might be.

After 2 nights and a day in Lima, we took off for Ica in the south. As you drive south from Lima, it is even more apparent how much of a desert the area is.

As my friend would say, "All of that stuff is boring because none of it is from the heart".

It was nice to see me Peruvian family once again (note: some people may a big distinction between blood family and in-law family - I do not). My parents looked fine, but it was clear that my brothers and sister had aged (but then, so have I). I finally got to see the whole crop of nieces and nephews - most of whom were not even born the last time I was there (the exception were Gaby and Migeulito who were 5 and 3 at the time).

Seeing the familiar faces is always gratifying. Being invited to their homes and visiting, seeing how they are all doing is also rewarding.

When we went to Sofia's parent's home, the memories of it, the sights and smells were are before, linking the present with the fond memories of the past.

While I do not have the same memories as Sofia of that part of Lima (seeing as I spent less than a month there and Sofia spent the bulk of her life there), nonetheless, I felt a sense of homecoming (although my extreme lack of facility with the Spanish language is something I am definitely going to need to address. You would think that after almost 10 years of marriage I would be a wee bit better than I am, but no ... sigh).

NOTE: Sofia and the kids will still be in Peru for another two weeks.

View of the mountains from were we stayed in Lima. In the winter, Lima is overcast and the greyness does nothing to enhance its attractivess.
We did have 2 or 3 sunny days and the view looks much better with the sun. Even if it is sunny, it is still winter and still hazy.
A fancier part of Lima. In this area is the Museo Oro del Peru (The Gold Museum of Peru, which we also visited)
Another fancy area of Lima near the coast, popular with tourists and Peruvians alike.
Same general area as above, but you do have to walk a few blocks. There were numerous artisan stalls.
Another shot of the coast from the fancy area (I think the area is called Baranco - but I could be wrong)
Same area again, this time from the coast in towards the city.
Another shot. Hmmm … perhaps I should have avoided including the construction.
Final shot

All images are copyright by me.

(Large version of the 5th picture down gives a 404 error. sigh)


Ms. Q said…
welcome back!
Richard said…
Thanks! It is nice to be back in a country with an abundance of fresh water which we so casually take for granted.
Welcome back, too! You've been missed! Glad you had such a good re-connection with your family. It does look awfully dry. Guess it was too cold for swimming in the ocean?

I went to Cuba once and got sick from the food and/or water. it's not fun and you are right..we are extremely lucky to have such clean water as much as we need everywhere.

You missed some pretty wild electrical storms around Ontario..lots of power outages, lightning,wind and rain!
Richard said…
MIO: It is nice to be back. Hmmm ... you got sick in Cuba? All I got was a bad sunburn on my back. I always tell people that the water is completely potable in Cuba. You are the first person I know who got sick from teh water. Hmmm ... maybe things have changed (either for better or worse). I was there during the ice storm of 1998. We left just as the storm was beginning - the plane was deiced several times before we finally took off. We were probably one of the last flights out.
freckled-one said…
Is it nice to be back? I've always loved being away but after some time it's wonderful to come home. Thanks for the advice about the street vendors. Drinking the water anywhere is never a good idea.. although I never thought about what I may be ingesting while brushing my teeth. yikes..

Was the weather cold with the overcast?
Barbara said…
Glad to have you back once again. Lima looks much as it did when I worked there for a few weeks in the 1980s. I was there during a general strike when they were burning busses on the road to the airport. I also have vivid memories of an earthquake in the middle of the night. Did you get to travel into the countryside while you were there. That's when the real excitement begins!
Richard said…
freckled-one: I used bottled water to brush my teeth. Hand washing with regular water was fine - so long as you dry your hands completely. Bottled water is cheap - 1.00 Sole for 600ml (less than US$0.30), 2.60 Soles for 2.4 litres (less than US$0.85).

barbara: the terrorism was 20 years ago. Peru is peaceful and safe. We only went out to Ica and Paracas and some outlying areas. No major trips like last time - we were considering going to Cajamarca in the north, but my stomach and return schdule id not permit it. Maybe Sofia will do some more travelling with the kids - but, at 4 and 7, they are quite a handful.
Richard said…
Forgot to mention that it is not terrible cold. During the day I could generally walk around with shorts and a T-shirt - but, then again, I am a big gringo who comes from Canada.

You can check out the weather here. I see that they are getting a few days of sun, so that makes things warmer.
Lunafish said…
I enjoyed your photos, thanks for sharing. In spite of the haze, Peru looks very beautiful.
I agree with you about the water. I've been sick from being out of country and forgetting about the water in ice and teeth brushing and paid the price - once you've had the experience, it makes the next time have more impact on the routine and safety. So, you didn't eat anything from street vendors but I'm sure you had some interesting fare (i.e. guinea pig post from before)
Glad you are back, look forward to hearing more.
Welcome back, Richard! You were missed. :) Thanks for posting the photos. I particularly like the last shot...very pretty and green!
Not absolutely sure it was the water in Cuba...we were only at a 3 star and it could have been the food. The salads and dressing looked like possible culprits! I did not know about Immodium back then (about '93)! Being diabetic, I could only drink bottled juice when I needed calories, bottled diet pop if I didn't. I lost 8 lb in just 5 days! Cuban Weight Loss Camp!

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