We arrived back on the bus-from-hell, oops, I mean the bus from Cusco to Lima just before noon on Saturday. We had 11 hours to kill before we were supposed to be at the airport, but we were encumbered by luggage. We took a taxi to the Museo de la Nacion, again, which should have been open, again, but it was strike two. We took another taxi back to the bus station (only $4 poorer) and got on WiFi to try to find a restaurant. Phil found one that we probably should have been able to walk to but, unsure of how to get there exactly, we took yet another taxi. It turned out to be a huge local favourite and was jam packed with people in a huge sprawling restaurant with an upstairs as well as two huge rooms downstairs and live entertainment. We had another excellent meal. Those foodies knew a thing or two when they decided to make Peruvian food the next big thing. In the picture that’s lamb, tacu tacu, fried plantains with quail eggs and some Lima type beans with corn kernels. We walked back to the bus station and Phil negotiated a deal with a taxi driver to go round the city for 8 hours and be driven to the airport for $60. He had a taxi licence so he fobbed us off on his brother around the corner who took us in his own private car. I wracked my brains to remember the things that were left on the list I made of things to do in Lima, but had subsequently lost. I knew that the Bridge of Sighs (Puenta des Suspiros) was on it and we wanted to go the the seaside. It turns out that this was a two birds/one stone situation and we walked down to the ocean from there, where Phil collected sand for a friend.
I then suddenly remembered that we had been meaning to go to the Huaca Pucllana ruins, near where our hotel had been. Although I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name, I managed to communicate this to the driver, whose English was unfortunately as limited as my Spanish. Off we went, arriving not long before the last English tour of the day left. They don’t let people on the site without a guide. It was another good choice.
When we were back in the car, Phil noted that when the taxi driver was not trying to get us to the destination as quickly as possible on his own time, we saw a much nicer city than we had in the few days we had been there at the beginning of the trip. This driver knew we had lots of time and took us along much prettier streets than we had ever seen before. The last thing I remembered from the list was the Parque de la Reserva, which has a bunch of water fountains. I knew that it said to go there at night and we got there just before sunset so we saw it in both the light and dark,It was a great place to walk around because some of the fountains were splash pads and there were lots of kids having a blast. At this point my memory was tapped out so we asked to be taken to the Plaza das Armes to see it in the dark. When we got there, the traffic was terrible and there was no place to park so we just took the driver for ice cream and headed for the airport. This trip has taught me that I am a guidebook person and i will go back to my always having a guidebook with me roots from now on.
We are at the bus station waiting for our bus to Cuzco. It will take 21 hours and apparently electricity and WiFi is a crapshoot…maybe, maybe not. Some buses do have it.
When I saw this sign in the bathroom of our hotel yesterday, all I could think was: wouldn’t it be better for the oceans not to put the unfiltered sewage of a city of close to ten million in the ocean in the first place?
Phil and I got bananas to eat yesterday…she got the common or garden variety. When I opened mine all I immediately thought orange you glad you chose this kind?
I have got some of my taxi questions answered by the cabbie we had this morning, who had lived in the states for several years. The cabs run on natural gas with canisters in the trunk. This costs a fraction of what gasoline would.
They have a local version of uber here that you can get as an app for your smartphone apparently.
I have become fascinated by the electricity here. It is like in India where the code seems completely nonexistent.
Up and around, resting on a roof…anything goes
As Alan used to say when the kids were little…
Is that safety?
Phil had me figure out how to ask for her eggs sunny side up, because the soft scramble was just not her cup of tea. She tried to water down the coffee swill but to no avail so we had to set off in search of better. The restaurant was still closed so we wandered round a big supermarket first. This is apparently something Phil likes to do in different countries. We found the spice aisle particularly interesting.By the time we got finished going up and down the aisles, it was time for the restaurant to open, so we each had a decent coffee and split an empanada.we took a taxi to the Museo de Arte Lima (MALI). I am not sure how the taxi drivers make a living. We have paid anywhere from $3 to $7 per trip and have gone for up to half an hour. The MALI is another stunning building and has a very interesting collection of Peruvian art from pre Columbian to present.
I particularly liked this hat in the textile gallery.
We then tried to take a taxi to a recommended restaurant, but I may have miscommunicated my intention to the driver. I have no idea where we ended up since it was an alley with no restaurants at all. Luckily we found this one crammed with locals nearby.
I think Phil is right to think you are safer in restaurants with big turnover, especially if you are ordering cerviche…a local dish made from raw fish with chili peppers and raw onions. The pepper on top was killer hot and i had to remove it from my mouth before it did damage
We also had another incarnation of tacu tacu, which turns out to be rice with either lentils or beans fried till it has a crust like rosti…this time with seafood on top.
We then headed to the Larco museum which has a fabulous ceramic collection and stunning flowers all over the exterior.
They house all the leftover collection in a rabbit warren of shelves with glass fronts. I was thinking of Gerry from ceramics school and hoped he had visited it at some point.
They even had all their ducks in a row.
We headed back and went to the same restaurant for supper, this time to try the last thing on the billboard…rocoto relleno con pastel de papa. It turned out to be a red pepper stuffed with spicy ground meat with a cross between scalloped and mashed potatoes on a thin omelet.
We got here really late and thank goodness we had a room prebooked. At 2 in the morning all one needs is a bed. We got up in time for the hotel breakfast…scrambled eggs and uber white bread buns with jam and horrible coffee. Phil may not cooperate like Charles did in Central America… she may give up on coffee too instead of becoming my official tester. I told charles to let me know when a cup of coffee worth drinking came along and I had one a week or so later. He drank a lot of swill between times. I love coffee too much for that.
We took a taxi to plaza mayor and started wandering. Fabulous old Spanish architecture all round the downtown. I am a sucker for all that painted plaster. We went into the train station/library first
then the monastery of San Francisco
At this point we were uncertain as to how to proceed so we spent too much on a map from a hawker in the plaza mayor, but this led us to the municipal tourist info place. From there we went round the corner to the museum of gastronomia
Museum of gastronomia
…and next door to my favourite of the day another monastery … Santo Domingo with a beautiful cloister
a cool old library
and a bell tower
With lovely panoramic views
We went back down to the street and immediately caught a bus to Cerro San Cristobal, a very large hill with more panoramic views…this time of a way too big and not very green, smoggy city
We came down, bought bus tickets to Cuzco and went for supper. We did not understand much on the menu
But the tacu tacu was good and the ordering with my very limited Spanish and the waiter’s non existent English was an adventure in mine and gesture.