The capital of Peru, Lima is a sprawling vast megacity of 7.5 million people, a quarter of Peru’s entire population. Lima wasn’t nearly as intimidating or chaotic though as many capital cities I have visited or had necessarily anticipated – the couple small pockets that I choose to visit anyways, customary for many tourists. I only had two one-night stays in Lima, one in the affluent neighbourhood called Miraflores and another in the Centro. Since I only had a part day in each area of Lima my experiences and photos are definitely limited.
The Centro de Lima is occupied by majestic architecture with a multiplicity of mighty buildings displaying unique facades.
At the heart of this is the Plaza de Armas, and Plaza San Martin. I was spent from an overnight bus so only rambled as far Plaza San Martin.
I arrived in Lima each time by bus. The buses in Peru, I might say, are truly luxurious; usually executive double deckers with snack/meal service and supreme oversized seats; a way higher standard even in any western country. They are definitely more expensive than in Ecuador, around usually $12-$20 for an 8-10 hr overnighter but obviously still much cheaper than in the ‘richer’ countries. I wonder though, as there is still the majority of the population who make extremely low incomes – How do they afford to get around? Where are the economy buses? I wonder. I couldn’t see them.
It was obvious each time coming into Lima, as there was a sudden presence of global chains starting to occupy the storefronts. I hadn’t seen any sort of recognizable chain in months, I was only witness to independent, unique, modest ‘mom-and-pop’ shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels. It was an obvious and unwelcoming reminder of global domination making huge impacts on almost every sizable city, even though the presence in Lima was still quite minute comparable to North America.
Miraflores is an exception to this statement. The wealthy, modern hood of Miraflores is liking stepping into any North American city, yet it’s obviously in Peru. It’s bizarre almost. All of a sudden the infrastructure is parallel to the standards and expectations that us gringos are accustomed to.
There are bike lanes everywhere, an exquisite promenade along the beach front, chic storefronts and a sheer domination of chains. Satisfying to the soul is a multitude of squares, and parks letting the greenness shine, even in the middle of a desert?! You’ll find a windy beach here as well, where brave surfers in wet suits take to the waves.
It was interesting that when I arrived in Miraflores, from Huacachina, for my very last night of my travels, I was told by the hostel clerk that ‘we have a problem’. That usually means there is no rooms, they overbooked. In this case, she expressed that they indeed had no water. Seriously?! Yes. The water was off in most of Miraflores. I said okay and got a discount on my room. I had to laugh as I found it very ironic that in all of my travels these past few months (or even in all these years) to the villages, the towns, the farm, the countryside, water had never been absent. Now in the most prosperous contemporary, sophisicated pocket of Peru, there is indeed no water. Just when you think you have everything…
My flight touched down in Vancouver, 17 hours after the trip began when I left the hostel in Lima, or 3 1/2 months since it had actually begun when I departed Vancouver in January. I was greeted by a genuine welcome from my dear friends. A great friend picked me up from the airport and whisked me away to a tea party with two other friends.
There was a modestly made ‘Welcome Home’ sign awaiting me, which was perfect for the occasion, and then the tea party of four quickly turned into a tequila party of four. It was a glorious sunny spring day in Vancouver, sipping tequila, we soaked up the rays sitting outside in the back garden. Magnificent.
My last stop, would be at another’s friend’s house, my final arrival point where I would be laying my head the next little ‘while’, as I am still officially homeless. But once again, I had never felt more welcomed, and also more at home than I did with such a blessed greeting from a few other friends.
Another creatively made ‘Welcome Home’ sign was pinned to the wall spreading the love that I indeed felt. Beers were served and there were four of us that ended up playing euchre into the wee hours of the night, 3am, which was 5am my time. It was a most exquisite day to have lasted so long. The homecoming was grand. Thank you.
The journey shall continue from the doorsteps of my own front door, in Vancouver, Canada for a while. I will continue to write and photograph as I look forward to see what adventure awaits…
“Shouldn’t life be your favourite adventure ?!”