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Published: April 22nd 2009
Bones of Catacombs
Bodies were buried for a few years, then dug up and the bones were put in shelves or bins. This one had circular pattern
O.K. This really is my last day in South America. I fly out at eleven,on the dreaded overnight flight to Toronto. I never sleep on planes so I know I will be useless for a day or so.
Yesterday was a blast! With two Brits and Servas friend we explored downtown Lima and the Bohemian communities. At the Cathedral we arrived just at the end of the ordination of some Bishops. Riot police were on the streets; nuns and priests seem to outnumber the members of congregation as they poured out of the cathedral. We went in to take some photos, then proceeded on to the catacombs. It is worth the 5 soles to visit, and if you are sneaky enough, you can get that photo of the skulls arranged in a circle. Wear perfume on your wrists because there is a smell....
Then we got refreshments in a famous street bar (over ninety years old) that has served people of note over the decades. We watched groups of tourists walk by and take pictures from the street. If you get to Lima, go into this bar, Cordano, and order the dark beer and cheese sandwich, and if you have
Cliffs of Lima
Near here, the diving monk would entertain crowds
room, the crepe desert. Food is incredibly good for a local pub.
We chipped in and rented a taxi for two hours to whip around to the tourist sites and beaches. The problem with Lima is that it is divided into towns with various economic status and if you can´t speak Spanish enough to negotiate proper taxi fare or direction, you cannot get round the city. When I tried to hail a taxi to friend's house which was thirteen blocks away from my hostel, in a straight line, I negotiated the price at six soles. The driver was young, and three minutes later he was lost. He hailed down a friend to ask for directions, and despite me saying 'Miraflores' and showing him a map, he was directed to a street in Surco. He pointed to an apartment building, and I said No, wrong house. He was at a loss and demanded more money to drive to another place. Luckily, a lady on the street could speak enough English to learn the problem and direct the driver to the correct Miraflores community. She told me he wanted a lot more money for the drive. I said he would get
Wave to Crowd
'Monk' waves to crowd while Annalisa watches.
paid when I got to the right house. When we arrived I gave him the 8 soles coins in my pocket and knocked on the door to get more money. My friend came out and informed the driver that it was his problem. He had the address written down, and the ride should have been five minutes or less, for 4 or 5 soles. He was lucky he got the 8 from me. So, lesson learned....get in taxi with mature driver who really does know the city.
Buses are privately owned and in a mishmash organization. In the city centre they are ripping up streets and sidewalks while building a new road, some of it underground.
Yesterday a soccer match attracted gangs of fans to march through the streets. Combined with tour buses and taxis and street police, the city was very alive for a Sunday in South America.
We visited things that I had already seen, but with new people in town, and a different time of day, it was fun to go over old ground. I still like the restaurant on the pier alot. Many surfers were in the water, and the pounding waves on the pebble
The flying 'monk' dives into cold ocean to get money from tourists.
beaches create a soothing sound.
On to new places.....wow, once you get past the beaches of Miraflores, you come to a marina and fishing cove that is quiet beautiful in the setting sun. Keep on driving, round the bend and you are in this cafe and bar area on the beach, cut off from Lima by the cliffs. There is a restaurant, El Salto del Fraile, perched on a cliff that is notorious for the diving monk. Historically, there was a monk who dove off the cliffs to raise money to support an orphanage. Today, a man dresses in a monk´s robe and makes the same dive for money. It is a bit twisted to be part of the crowd on the cliff watching this guy take his bow, wave to the cameras and then hurl off the high cliff into the cold, churning sea. But....I got a hell of a good photo. Eeegads....the dark side of tourism....
Then we proceeded to Barranco, the Bohemian part of Lima (think KeyWest meets Havanna). What a cool area. We were eating our way across the city, trying all of the local foods, and here we watched the cook make pumpkin and
Cathedral of Lima
Friends pose in front of cathedral.
sweet potato donuts dripped in sugar cane syrup.
We went to the famous Bridge of Sighs, then walked around the bar area and settled in a club that had sea views and traditional food. Barranco feels like Key West, only with more history and great food and drinks. It is the place to go dancing; there are clubs around the plaza with salsa music and pisco sour drinks for all. The first pisco sour is free.
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