Published: July 20th 2012July 13th 2012
Our final stop in Peru was a brief (and really too brief) stay in Lima. Our hostel (Milaflores House) was one of the best we have stayed in on our trip. They had everything – DVD players in rooms and a massive selection of DVD’s to watch, guitars, surfboards, beanbags, delicious breakfast, an unbelievable map and information about the city, security, great staff and funky artwork.
We really only had a few hours in this city of 8 million but we still got a rough idea of life here. Named the “City of the Kings” in the 1500s by the Spanish colonisers I suppose the suburb that we stayed in called Miraflores, reflected this name. Miraflores was really nice, safe, was by the sea, had big banks, expensive shops, gastro cafes, expensive cars and pretentious people. In a way it felt further from the rest of Peru that we have experienced than ever. The fashion here was all the rage with Levis, Tommy Hilfiger and the like dominating the streets. A far cry from the handmade embroidered clothing of the ladies in Cabanaconde. The people in this part of the city looked different, many having much lighter skin, often looking
like tourists. We went for dinner in an expensive place by our travel standards and the teenagers were just like home – with gadgets, in large groups giggling almost unaware of others. In other parts of Peru we found them wanting to be friendly with foreigners but also happy with the more basic things in life. It was like we had entered another country!
The main problem is because we had little time - Miraflores is where we spent our time. Lima is a big city and we wanted to see some of it so we explored the coastal walk from our hostel to a very plush shopping area named Larcomar. All along the coast we got to watch some slick surfers catching continuous waves, paragliders shadowing over and around the buildings lining the path and locals doing workouts whether it be cycling, outdoor gyms, running, rollerblading or climbing steps. The parks along the route were immaculate and lots of people just lay about reading or writing notes. We even ran into Rachael, an American girl from our Jungle tour, lying happily in the shade of a tree!
They have an interesting park here called the park of
love. It is taken over by this big red statue of a couple lying down kissing and surrounding it on the ground level is a mosaic wall/seating area with a colourful display of tiles, words and designs. It was pretty cool. While walking to Larcomar I unfortunately hurt my ankle again so it was a slow limp there. When we arrived my thoughts of this area were confirmed. The restaurants were overpriced, the people were very plush and the shops were designer. We grabbed a bite in a Chinese fast food place for a fraction of the price!
When we were getting the taxi to the airport, we did get a glimpse of poorer parts of the city. Buses were overflowing, every one. People were walking the streets with bags on their back – their lives on their back. We also couldn’t get over how busy it was. Traffic was crazy and there were people everywhere. We didn’t get this intense feeling In Miraflores at all.
I suppose a lot of what we heard about Lima was negative before we arrived but I think that what people were talking about was the city centre (we didn’t visit). I
think this part of the city, although we felt very comfortable here and really could have spent a few days more to do surfing, is negative. I really cannot believe the gap between the people here and the people in other parts of the country. We didn’t even get to see the gap within the city itself. I imagine it is frustrating for those with little but the clothes on their backs. The guidebook and our hostel warn you not to go near certain areas as it is dangerous. I know now why it’s dangerous. Same as always – some have a little, the rest have the lot. I wish we had the extra time here to really see what the city had to offer so I could make a truer comparison between here and other parts. After all with a third of the population living here – this city is what living in Peru is for many…….
There are more photos below