we had a good lazy last day in Huanchaco, after heading out the night before to celebrate Laura's birthday. Only five of us managed to surface for breakfast, and lazed by the pool until lunch. I tried Ceviche, a classic Peruvian dish consisting of raw white fish marinated in lime juice with herbs and chillis, and served with corn and sweet potato. It was nice but a bit too acidic for just after a big night out!!
We left Huanchaco at 7am, and slept for most of the morning as usual. We stopped for a break at the Sechin ruins for a tour. There wasn't a lot to see at the ruins but the museum had a good selection of mummies!! The front and sides of the ruins were engraved by the Chavin civilisation who were very military orientated . They had engravings of warriors and military figures, as well as their prisoners - decapitated and disembowled!! Back for another sleep on the truck on the road to Lima.
We had a few sick patients by the time we reached Lima; Denise, Lizzie and Lisa have all come down with the traveller's bug. First impressions of
Lima - dirty, polluted, grey and noisy!! Seriously there was rubbish lying everywhere. Pedro took us for an orientation walk of Lima, which was pretty interesting. We saw the statue of Francisco Pizzaro which had been relegated from the Plaza de Armas to a park, as a memory of the conquering Spanish. We found out that the flag symbolising Gay Pride was originally the Incan flag, somebody from San Francisco took the flag back as a souvineer and flew it at Gay Pride marches, it caught on!! The only difference is that the Gay Pride flag is upside down compared to the Incan flag. We also found the safe spots for standing in the middle of an earthquake - big yellow circles in the middle of the road!! The main Plaza was really pretty especially lit up at night.
We had a free day in Lima yesterday and saw the museum of the Spanish inquisition. It was quite grim, everything was in Spanish so we had Tamara translate. We managed to dodge the traffic and make it to a restaurant for lunch, which mostly seemed to sell chicken and chips!! I had pollo saltado - chicken strips, onion, tomatos
and chips fried together and served with rice. I actually had this in Ayacucho without realising the name!! After, we decided to visit the Franciscan monastery and catacombs. The monastery had beautiful tiling and frescos. Then we headed down to see the catacombs which housed the dead Franciscan monks and the ordinary population killed during the Spanish inquisition. They would bury the dead covered in lime to quicken decomposition. We were only able to visit one of the three levels for safety reasons, and it alone housed the remains of 25,000 people. After we were taken upstairs to the monastery where we saw the most amazing library - it was spaced out over a massive space with a mezzanine floor, had a spiral staircase and an ancient old oak desk with massive ancient books stacked up on top of it. It was fantastic and unfortunately off-limits. We dandered back to the hotel later to check on the sickies and had a quiet night in watching TV.
Today we are going to the markets in Miraflores and meeting a new member of our group at dinner, and then preparing ourselves for a disgustingly early start at 5am tomorrow- as in
leaving lima at 5am!!
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