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Published: September 25th 2008
Park Kennedy and Central are flanked by beautiful churches well lit at night.
I landed in Lima late in the evening and was immediately surprised by how efficient everything seemed. I got off the plane and through customs in less than ten minutes, the bathrooms were cleaner than O´Hare´s, which really isn´t saying that much, and I got my baggage without waiting too long. I walked outside and there was the guy waiting with a sign to take me to my hostel. I was amazed. It didn´t feel like I was in a developing country. Then I had to get into the cab...
The feelings rushed back to me. I had a smile ear to ear again. This is what I had been missing over the last month while suffering the horrible efficiency of being back home. The cab driver had to go to some random corner of the parking lot to get his ticket paid. Then had to go back across the parking lot, through innumerable other cabbies trying to cut him off, to exit. We fly through traffic, honk as we run red lights, make right turns from the far left lane, pass packs of twenty street dogs sitting outside of delicious looking hole-in-the-wall restaurants waiting for scraps, and I´m in
the back laughing. Why am I laughing? Partially because the music was a perfect eighties mix of, and in this order, Huey Lewis, UB40, Culture Club, and Milli Vanilli. It could also be that my cabbie and I were trying to have a conversation in my horribly broken Spanish and all I could gather was that his father lives in L.A., he likes it, and you can swim at a so-so beach near my hotel in Miraflores. However, the main reason I was laughing was that all this craziness felt so familiar, and so welcomed, that I was simply overjoyed to be back on the road again.
I made it to the hotel and met up with Bronstein, who was already there getting acquainted with other travelers. We went out for a quick beer and a bit of steak and I had the feeling that the food was going to be amazing on this trip. I still do, despite an early set back...
We decided to walk the six miles or so from Miraflores to Lima just to get acquainted with the city. It was long, but the scenery was pleasant and the temperature was perfect. The most
notable bit of the walk though came from lunch. I decided to be adventurous and get a combination platter of two meats I didn´t know. I didn´t realize it was going to be a combination of chicken butt ligaments and pig crotch tendons. Seriously, it was the worst thing I´ve ever had in my life, made even worse by the fact that I was incredibly hungry. I was determined to eat it all. Halfway through I had Eric and Simon, a British friend we made, have some. Both were revulsed and felt pity for me as I suffered through the meal. Finally I had to quit. It was simply too revolting and my stomach was disgusted. I felt queasy and bolted from the table as the mere presence of the disgusting mystery meat made me sick. (Eric´s edit: Kyle does not over exaggerate the repulsiveness of his cuisine. I don´t have the extensive travel experience that Kyle has quite yet, and I´m pretty sure he has sampled some exotic foods during his journeys, but this mystery meat could not have been more disgusting than it was. After sampling his grotesque lunch from yesterday, I was hardly disappointed by the dead
PizzaroÂ´s resting place
A little nicer place to be buried than the resting places of the thousands of indeginous people he killed.
worm at the bottom of my vegetable stir fry lunch today.)
As my stomach wrestled with lunch we continued on to the center of Lima. Saw the Plaza de San Martin, Plaza de Armas, La Catedral de Lima (where Francisco Pizarro is buried), and some random beautiful colonial buildings and churches. It is a beautiful city with old buildings next to huge modern towers. The suburb of Miralfores, where we stayed, is incredibly plush with little cafes and parks abounding. It was a great place to enter into South America, but we aren´t staying long. We are in a rush to get to on Cusco, to do some hiking, and to get out of the larger cities. It feels good to be back on the road. (Eric´s edit: And in my case, it feels good to be on the road for the first time, and to experience this great freedom of hardly having a plan at all... not even a return flight home. It feels really good.)
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