Actually, it’s the exact opposite. Who knew? Geezus I am no fan of those little green monsters though.
So, let’s do a quick catch up. 4 hot hot sunny days in Mancora, 5 games of ping pong, 4 victories, 1 crushing defeat (sob!), 3 pisco sours, 1 slight hangover, a truly surprising number of hairless dog sightings, many walks on the beach, and 1 bus ride to Lima.
I really enjoyed Lima, but I have to admit my adventures were limited to two of the most upscale neighbourhoods – Miraflores and Barranca. I visited some very cool pre-Incan ruins at Huaca Pucllana which was found oddly only 2 short blocks from my modern suburban neighbourhood in Miraflores. I walked all along the Malecon which is a stunning 6 mile walkway along the top of the cliff overlooking the beaches and oceans below. I caught a bit of a surfing competition being held the weekend I was there. If Vancouver is a city where you can ski after work, then Lima is the place you can surf at lunch.
There are some amazing views around the area and it is quite cosmopolitan…(translation… I looked like a dirty hobo there). There is a super glam mall built in to the side of the cliffs called Larcomar where I almost dropped $s/169 on a pair of jeans.
That’s only about $60 but seriously I couldn’t bring myself to do it! I did however find an amazing Helmut Lang pale pink sundress at a discount store called Quincos or something for $s/20 (which is like $8!). Gorgeous!
In the Barranca district I visited a few art galleries, some outdoor plazas, enjoyed a local band playing out in front of a restaurant and had by far the best ceviche I’ve had in my life, and that is saying something as I had a lot of fantastic ceviche in Ecuador too.
The weather was lovely and sunny without any rain at all. The locals complain about the “cold” winter but apparently it doesn’t ever go below about 15 degrees in this city. Cold my ass.
I received so many warnings about traveling alone in Lima but I have to say it felt very safe. Very similar to being in downtown Vancouver (and I don’t mean the east side) without the tragedy of the many homeless people. I guess it really depends on what neighbourhoods you are in. This was about the most scary thing I saw….. which was really far more cute than scary.
From Lima I grabbed a VIP bus back up to high altitude at 11000 plus feet in Cusco. I watched a couple of good movies in English on my personal seatback entertainment system (internet, movies, books, games, facebook, etc. on offer), had a hot meal, drifted off to sleep and woke up to my blanket being tucked in to my cama-bed by the stewardess. Greyhound, take a lesson! The 20 hour trip cost only about twice the amount it costs to travel 1 hour from Vancouver to Abbotsford. I was also initially shocked, but then ultimately reassured to watch them give the driver(s) a breathalyzer on camera before departure. You have to wonder what kind of situations have led to that being standard practice for a professional driver going through the Andes. Yikes.
They say it is easier on the body to adjust to the altitude if you travel by land than by air. I wonder how freakin’ bad I would have felt if I came by air? By the time I got to my hostel I was not feeling well at all, but many many cups of whole coca leaf tea and a good nights sleep seem to have done the trick.
At the Nuna Raymi restaurant today, where I had the best steak I’ve EVER eaten, my waitress was wearing a t-shirt that said something like “The Coca leaf is not a drug – it is part of our Andean culture”. I’ve never been so disappointed! :) In contrast, here’s what Wikipedia says on the topic and also an interesting article on getting the most out of it. I’m gonna keep drinking it anyway. They say it’s good for altitude sickness. lol.
More on Cusco next time. Who’s been to Machu Picchu - any advice is welcome!