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Published: July 28th 2017
Geo: -12.0931, -77.0465
Protest traffic stopped us in our tracks this morning, as we tried to make our way to Cusco airport - what should have been a 15 minute journey took well over an hour, we were late leaving the hotel as the car was delayed getting to us and then we were caught in jams in every street. The owners and drivers of Tico cars that have been deemed unsafe by the government were protesting about the decision to remove them from the roads. Riot police were crawling over the city and all of the arterial roads out were clogged completely. Our driver weaved in and out of traffic, forcing his way into long queues and, as soon as we were free from the choked streets, put the pedal to the metal and raced us to the terminal. From here, it was a panicked dash through check in and security, before finding out we had a two hour delay anyway!
Because of the delay, we didn't get to do the things we had planned on arrival into Lima, so instead, we quickly checked into the hotel and then entered back into the frenetic fray that is Lima's Miraflores district. Compared to Cusco's colonial beauty, Miraflores, despite being one of the city's most affluent and touristy areas, is simply a bland and drab place to be. One area of interest was the Kennedy Park, which is also known as the Cat Park. Here, people who can no longer looks after their cars, take them and put them in the park. In this bizarre place, they live wild, but are cared for by a foundation set up by locals, neutering and feeding the cats and ensuring that they are well looked-after. Cats covered every available space, sitting side by side with locals as they read on benches, welcoming visitors by sitting proudly at the entrance gates, snaking around pedestrians' ankles and lazing under the trees.
It was a short walk from here to the restaurant we had chosen to eat at, based on reviews in the Lonely Planet. As we were ushered onto the terrace, a lady stopped to ask us about ourselves and explain that this is only place she will eat in the whole of the city. She recommended the lomo saltado as the best in Peru and the pisco sours as being particularly good. The LP had recommended that the restaurant's version of criollo cooking - the country's fusion food - was unparalleled in the city. So, between the 6 of us who were eating, we managed to order a huge range of the food, all sharing with one another to get the best possible Peruvian gastronomical experience. The spicy beef (lomo saltado) was delicious and flavoursome, while my carapulcra - pork and potato stew was equally delicious. The antichuchos - or beef heart skewers - were a little too rich for my linking, but the aji gallina - the spicy chicken in yellow sauce - was cooked to perfection! Our final foray into criollo cooking was the cau cau (tripe stew - tender and surprisingly delicious) and patita con mani (tendons in sauce - squidgy and too much like soft fat for my palate) tested our adventurous spirits, yet allowed us to enjoy some of the best food we had had on the trip so far! The pisco sour, by the way, was delicious - like a devilish lemonade, this traditional Peruvian drink is made with the pisco spirit - a grape-based liquor, bitters, lemon and egg white, and is refreshing, zesty and lethally potent - after just one, I was feeling the effects, although whether this was down to a change in altitude will need to be investigated with further attempts at the drink, which is delicious!
After a quick visit to a supermarket to stock up on the wonderful passion fruits we love so much, and after dodging some of Lima's insane drivers, we headed for bed ready for what would be a fascinating insight into the unseen parts of Lima in the morning.
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