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.|
All images are copyright by me.
(Large version of the 5th picture down gives a 404 error. sigh)