Monday, September 7, 2009


After a day of traveling, we finally touched down in Lima super early in the morning (4;30 AM).  It is pretty cool travelling through the empty streets of a city that early in the morning, especially one with 8 million people - no soul, just hulking, skeletal buildings and trashy sidewalks.  I wasn´t sure whether to tip our taxi driver, who we got through the hotel.  Nothing more awkward that trying to determine tipping ettiquite in a foreign country - especially at four in the morning.  Decided not to tip, which seemed to be a mistake since he obviously expected one.

Once we slept for a while and hit the stereets, it was much more livley.  Lima really is a beautiful city, in parts.  The colonial archticture can be quite stunning - intricate facades, balconies covered in detailed woodwork, massive doors, etc.  The first thing, though, I noticed about Lima was the amount of security - army, police, riot police (didn´t see any riots, though), K-9 units, bike police, private security, and on and on.  Seems like one in every four persons is employed by some sort of securioty firms - public or otherwise.

We were too tired and hungry to do the fine-dining thing, so we went to a roast chicken and fries (pappas) place.  This was kind of the Chuck E. Cheese of Lima, I think.  We watched kids go down slides and jump in boucy castles - it was awesome.  Pretty good chicken.  We drank Inka Cola, which seems to be the Lima equivalent of San Pelligrino in Italy - everyone had a huge bottle at their table.  Tastes good, but kind of weird, like a cross between a cream soda and Sprite.

The coolest place we went to was the Franciscan Monestary.  It was super elaborate - exotic wood from Central America, tile from Spain, marble from Italy, etc.  I always thought the Franciscans led kind of austere lives(?), but apprently not in Peru.  Lots of talk about their "benefactors," who popped up in the corner of paintings - kind of like the Chase Bank of the 16th Century.  There were cool catacombs beneath the church where they estimated 25,000 people were buried.  They dug them up and just threw the bones in huge piles - creepy.  I think there is a great novel in here - greedy Franciscan priests, wealthy benefactors currying favor, colonial setting, massive death, etc.  Dad - any books in the Holy Cross library on Peruvian Franciscans?  Oh - lots of pigeons, too - the only thing St. Francis would have appreciated, I think.

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