Day 1: Lima

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October 20th 2014
Published: October 22nd 2017
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Geo: -12.143, -77.0186

We started our day at the "self your serve" coffee and tea station. Mike reported that the coffee was strong but lacked flavor. I was pleased that the tea water was piping hot. The selection of teas included "uña de gato" which means "cat's claw." The ingredient list included both that and "horse tail." A brief check of an promising web site revealed that cat's claw is the friendly term for a South American vine that is good for digestive complaints and arthritis. I stuck with "te puro." It was a short night and I needed caffeine, not surprises.

The hotel has five breakfast options: all include freshly squeezed OJ. I had a mixed fruit bowl that included a lot of papaya, some melon, strawberries and a small yellow, round fruit that we had in Costa Rica. On the side I received a glass of yogurt that smelled and tasted a lot like cake batter.
It was still relatively early when we finished breakfast, even though there is only a one hour time difference for us. Our hotel, 3B Barranco Bed & Breakfast, is only a few blocks from the ocean so we decided to take a bit of a
Rebar birdRebar birdRebar bird

On a wall in Barranco near where there used to be a funicular and now there are just signs that make tourists think there might be a funicular. It closed about 1930-- if you want any easy way down the cliffs to the beach, hail a cab.
scenic tour today to get our legs stretched out and our heads acclimated to the new country.

Animal report: Over the course of several hours of walking around, we saw about 2 dozen dogs, most of them prancing off-leash near their owners. We saw a huge flock of pelicans working the ocean shallows for fish. There was also ample supply of another shore bird that might have been a cormorant (or some similar bird) that either frolicked in the surf catching fish or perched up on light posts looking like harbingers of doom. We didn't see any cats at all. It should be said that we spent all our time this morning either in Barranco or the neighboring area of Miraflores-- both are affluent, well-kept neighborhoods. I don't think it would be an overstatement to say that we saw 10 or more gardeners working in the public parks we passed.

I had very little idea of what to expect from Lima. Mike said a work acquaintance reported that he didn't care for it. I really enjoyed spending the day walking up and down along the coastline. There were many, many public parks and open areas where it was easy to enjoy the view of the sandy cliffs and the morning glories that are the battling erosion there. It's certainly an urban area, but there is construction going on all over the place. It looks like properties are widely being rehabbed or improved. Eventually we worked our way over to an open-air mall called Larcomar.
I had read that there is a very nice, reputable store for buying alpaca products there called Sol Alpaca so we walked around. Our thinking was that we might do better looking for gifts in Lima than tourist-crazy Cusco. I found 2 baby alpaca sweaters that were on clearance-- very exciting-- and bought one other and a pair of socks for a gift. I may go back later before we head home if I don't find other things I like elsewhere. We were both disappointed at the lack of hats in the store: we only saw two. Those are on the "to buy" list before the campout.

The mall is perched on the side of one of those cliffs I mentioned, so we stopped at a restaurant there so we could enjoy the view while we had a snack. We bi-passed Tony Roma's, Chilli's and TGI Fridays
Ceviche at La BonbonnaireCeviche at La BonbonnaireCeviche at La Bonbonnaire

The large, yellow corn is called choclo.
in favor of a local eatery called La Bonbonniere. We split a cebiche plate which included slices of cold sweet potato and corn two ways. The first were very large kernels that were sweet, chewy and a little stiff. I wonder if they had been dried and then soaked. The others were fried and salted. There were a little like corn nuts except that they were actual corn. Mike had a beer with it called Cusqueña Dorada golden lager. He said it paired really well with the fish and lime.

After leaving the mall, Mike wanted to see if we could make our way down to the water. The path we found wasn't particularly easy or smooth, but at least it had some stairs. There are areas where you can see that people (and dogs probably) have just worn trails onto the sides of the cliffs. Those looked treacherous.

Even right down at the water's edge the air didn't smell particularly salty or fishy. The coastline is extremely rocky--they look like river rocks actually. If we could haul them home, we could get really good money for them--lots of color variation, smooth and round. We trekked back north to
Pre Inca from 500 BCPre Inca from 500 BCPre Inca from 500 BC

This was our view from one of our dinner stops at Huaca Pucllana
Barranco down at sea level and started looking for a different path up. We eventually found a series of bridges, ending with the "Bridge of Sighs," that brought us back up to where we were earlier in the morning. This particular path doubles as a Tsunami evacuation route--kind of an alarming thought. Mike wondered if they get tidal waves from the "Ring of Fire" closer to Asia.

We went back to the hotel and showered and changed before going out on a nighttime food tour with the Lima Gourmet Company. Our guide, Silvia, picked us up in a company van with the only other member of our tour group: Silvia. The first was a native of Lima and the other is from Costa Rica. Both ladies were very nice and we really enjoyed swapping travel, food and work stories over the course of the 5 hours that we spent together.

Our first stop was at a restaurant on the beach that Mike and I had passed during our walk. There we learned how to make the iconic Pisco Sour. The ideal combination is 1 part lime juice, 1 part simple syrup, 3 parts pisco, 1 egg white. The whole think needs to
House for very short peopleHouse for very short peopleHouse for very short people

The inscription above the door is a joke about not hitting your head. At la Bodega Verde in old Barranco where we had smoothies for dessert. I was hoping for chocolate...
be shaken with ice. Sylvia #2 shared that you can buy pisco flavoring powders to take home. Silvia 1 told us that pisco is made by fermenting non-aromatic grape juice and then distilling it. From there you can macerate fruit or even coca leaves in it. There were several large jars up on the bar with different flavorings steeping into the liquor.

Our next stop was a restaurant called Amaz which specializes in fruits and foods native to the Amazonian part of the country. Mike was especially fond of a sauce made from a fruit called covina that looked like apple sauce and had quite a kick to it. I liked a peanut and coconut milk foam that was served with one of the dishes. After ascertaining that we were up to the challenge, Silvia 1 told us that she would order us the cuy (guinea pig) at our next stop:Huaca Huallamarca.

Huaca Huallamarca is famous for being a world-class restaurant that is co-located on a pre-Incan archeological site dating back to 500BC. You get to sit and take in the ruins while you eat. It's pretty spectacular. In addition to eating the cuy, we had roasted beef hearts, grilled octopus and
Pisco sours with SilviaPisco sours with SilviaPisco sours with Silvia

Pisco sour ingredients: 3oz pisco 1oz lime juice 1oz simple syrup 1 egg white 2 drops Angostura bitters
a comparatively tame raw salmon with an avocado sauce served over a plantain ball.

While we drove around the town, Silvia 1 filled us in on many interesting facts about Peru's past and its current state of affairs. About 1/3 of Peru's total population lives in Lima. There is a giant, lighted cross at one tip of Lima that is at once a religious symbol and a rejection of the terrorist scourge of the 1980s (the cross is made of scraps of metal from terrorist attacks by the Shining Path and other groups). If we can get to the Bridge of Sighs when it is not undergoing repair, we can almost guarantee that the rest of our marriage will be happy. We just have to hold hands and our breath and run across the bridge in one breath. Maybe next week.

Our final stop was in "our" stomping ground of Barranco. Sylvia 1 told us that the church withthe vultures on it that we saw earlier is called La Hermita. Money has been budgeted by the municipality to restore it, which was nice to hear. We had smoothies made from Lúcuma fruit. The restaurant that made them is called la Bodega Verde.
Macerating in PiscoMacerating in PiscoMacerating in Pisco

Apricots, coca leaves, ? And yucca? In my defense, I asked after I drank the Pisco sour. Pisco is nearly 100 proof. We had ours at a restaurant called Cala on the beach
Like most of the restaurants and bars in the area, it used to be a private home.

With very full bellies, we are back at our hotel and headed to sleep. Wifi here is slow, so most of the pictures might not go up for a bit. Maybe from Cusco.

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


Which one is the cuy?Which one is the cuy?
Which one is the cuy?

Bottom left: octopus Bottom right: antichichos (beef heart) Top left: guinea pig Top right: salmon Little dish of yellow: a chili sauce for the beef
Amazonian appsAmazonian apps
Amazonian apps

Amaz Restaurant which works with small producers to bring foods of the Amazon into the city for the enjoyment of all.
Tsunami evac route from the beachTsunami evac route from the beach
Tsunami evac route from the beach

When there is no threat of impending doom, it is just a pleasant path by some hostels and restaurants.

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