Friday, November 25, 2011

Peru: Lima and Cusco

We arrived in Lima on schedule and the taxi driver was waiting for us with a sign that read "Monica Semergiu." It couldn't have been any easier to get to our hostel--well, besides the insane Lima drivers. I've never seen anything like that. It was the most aggressive driving I could imagine. We walked around a bit and did some exploring, though Monica had been to Lima before. That night we did what has become our usual routine: Went to bed early and watched a TV show on my laptop with the headphone splitter. We are talking about renaming our blog to "Two old grandmas."

See my car? It was the only volvo I've seen in Peru so far.

The chillest mascot I've ever seen.
There he is in real life! Look at those eyes ... so chill.

Our first meal in Peru: I got the lomo saltado and Monica got a dish with chicken and rice. The Inca Kola tastes like bubble gum flavoring to me. We both agreed that this would be the first and last Inca Kola for us.

This speaks for itself. I found it in a supermarket.

I guess these people help navigate the crazy traffic? What a stressful job.

Monica found the hostel she stayed in last time she was in Lima.

This was a whole rabbit, including ears, head and tail. It was a very tempting purchase, but not very practical for us.

They love creepy mannequins in Peru.
Our second day in Lima, we met up with a friend of a friend of mine, Diana. She is from Lima so she was able to show us around a bit. We even took the local bus a couple times, which would have been very intimidating for Monica and I alone. We went to the Miraflores district and then to Barranca. Both were worlds away from the Lima we had previously seen: Miraflores is one of the fancy, expensive neighborhood of Lima, and there is a path that hugs the cliff looking down into the Pacific. Barranca is a bohemian neighborhood where we ate lunch.

Part of the path in Miraflores.

Diana and Monica with the hose. They keep this area very clean.

Also called "Lovers Park."

After saying goodbye to Diana, we went to catch the bus to Cusco. It was delayed a couple hours due to supposed maintenance, but we just hung out in the cafe upstairs and ate some snacks. The bus took about 22 hours, but it was great! The seats were comfy and reclined, they played movies (American movies dubbed in Spanish with English subtitles), they served us dinner and breakfast, and there were great views out of the huge windows.

Monica settling in for the long ride.

View from the bus. Lots of painted advertisements for products and for politicians mostly.

The scenery got more and more green, lush and mountainous.

A cute hill.

Passing by huge stone cliffs on narrow mountain streets, but we weren't scared.

The juxtaposition of beautiful landscape with less-than-beautiful rundown manmade structures was very common.

Lots of corn and cactus crops. I'm not sure what this one is.

Finally, we arrived in Cusco and shared a taxi to our hostel with another traveler. Cusco sits in the valley between many mountains and is a very touristy city, since it is the jumping off point for Macchu Picchu trips.

This dog posed for me. I love how he's sitting on that step, so civilized.

To prove my point: Another creepy mannequin. I don't know if you can see it, but he has a silver-capped tooth.

In Cusco's Plaza de Armas.

The famous, perfectly formed and placed stone walls.

Close-up of the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the Incas.

It was probably 75 degrees outside--hot and sunny--then, all of the sudden, it started hailing.
It must be the elevation: 3,300 meters.

Grocery store eggs in a bag.

Milk in a bag.

Condiments in a bag.

During the hailstorm, we took cover under an overhang with a Cusquean man. He told us about some off-the-beaten-path places we should check out, all in one area. Then later that night, a girl staying in our dorm told us all about the volunteering she's been doing in some tiny village somewhere. It turns out they were both talking about the same place. I think we are going to check it out this weekend, before we leave for the Inca Trail on Monday.

Posted on 11/26/11 at 8:40 am from the Pariwana Hostel in Cusco.