Part 2 of my South American odyssey is now live. After a 40 hour flight+layover period, i finally landed in Lima. First thing i noticed was the weather is exactly the same as it was 6 months ago. There is no summer or winter in Lima. It’s just always cool, like a desert overlooking the pacific ocean should be. And it’s almost always drizzling. Dream weather (for me, not the locals). And if it wasn’t another big city, i would spend much more time here. But all big cities remind me of Bombay. And that’s exactly where i don’t want to be for a while. So 4 days tops, and i have to move. 4 days gives me enough time to take long walks along the coast, grab a bicycle and ride around the city, and before i know it, i’ve clocked 25 km of exercise in that time. I’m already waking up way earlier than i used to back home, sometimes as early as 6 am, never later than 8. And i’m sleeping earlier too. Staying off the party streets, staying off the alcohol-cigarettes-drugs-late nights, eating healthy, and feeling kinda proud i can actually pull this off.
My Spanish is still rubbish. And apart from a few greetings, and a few food dishes, i haven’t learnt all that much. But i got myself an app that translates languages on the phone. It doesn’t work too well though.
I caught up with the Point Hostel folk, where i lived the last time around. They tell me they need a bartender… and as tempting as it sounds, i decline. I need to get out of the city. But their branch in Mancora has the same vacancy, they say. Mancora is one of the continent’s hottest surfing and nightlife destinations. Beautiful waves. If i can stay clear of the nightlife, this sounds like heaven. But i know myself too well. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Bruce from the hostel gave me a very fancy ride around town that evening. People looked at us like we were going to pull off a drive-by shooting. West coast FTW. I spent over 5-6 hours every day in Miraflores, Barranco, Downtown Lima, San Isidro, Callao, and Surco. Of the 40 odd districts in Lima, these are some of the most breathtaking, or fascinating ones. Miraflores is the heart of the city. The Bandra. Barranco is the most exotic. Downtown Lima is the old town. Here is where the gringos (tourists) head to show off their cameras. Like me. The Bishop’s House, San Francisco cathedral, and all the old monuments from the Spanish/Italian days are in this part of town. (downtown lima)
(that’s my bike)
(Barranco) (Chorillos, the hood)(Downtown Lima) So are some of the oldest bars, the real charming ones. One you have to check out, is Bar Cordano. It’s on one corner adjoining the cathedral and the bishop’s house. Great food, and amazing drinks. And the Pisco Sour is a must have. For the uninitiated, Pisco is the local drink, made of grape, and quite a heavy hit. Pisco sour is their equivalent of the whisky sour. And the calamari/prawn fries… I’m drooling right now.
You notice the gorgeous colours for their choice of paint? That’s cos the sky is always grey.
A half hour bus ride away (for 5 soles), you can go to the extreme top of the city, and hang out next to a Crucifix, and get a marvellous view. From the ports to the bullfighting arena to the national stadium to the city centres or the Plaza de Armas as they call it.
BUT, the highlight of my time in Lima remains a dark, haunting event. Below the San Fran cathedral lies the ancient catacombs of Lima. The ONLY structure in the whole city that the frequent earthquakes do not destroy. 4 floors of bones. 25000 people, buried together. Separated by bones, each compartment in this underground massive space is not a pretty sight. Not even a pretty smell for most people. Yes, the smell remains to this day. But man, i could spend an entire week inside this. What’s strange was, all i could think of was setting up a massive sound system down underground and having a REAL underground party. Knowhamsayingg??
Of course, this being a ‘place of respect’ and shit, pictures and videos are STRICTLY PROHIBITED. But hey… I also stole postcards from church. But it’s ok, Jesus approves. If you want some, leave your address in the comments section. Remember i said earlier that i’ll only be in Lima for 4 days? Cos after that i head into the Amazon.
“Do you know where you aaaaaare???” I’m in the jungle baby. I’m gonna meet a shaman. Ciao for now.