The last hurrah in Lima


My next two days in Lima were fortunately less eventful. I spent the majority of my mornings and evenings walking around to various hostels in Lima to carry out marketing duties with StudentUniverse.

Tuesday afternoon, I took a break to take a walk around the main shopping area in Miraflores. The main street, Av. Jose Larco, was the 5th Avenue or Champs Elysees of Lima. Of course there was no Prada shop, but there was an Apple store and a specialty clothing boutique called Alpaca. Perdy fancy.

As the sun set that day, I happened upon a small, open park in the middle of the city called El Parque Central de Mraflores. Seemingly it was the place to hang out in Lima, for young people lounged everywhere in the grass on and on the benches, talking, playing music, napping. But the real pièce de résistance of the park was the hoard of stray cats meandering through the shrubbery. When I entered the small, wooded area, I saw a man shaking a bag (presumably one full of some kind of catnip) and out of the woodwork ran to him at least twenty stray cats.

They were all different breeds, and they didn’t look emaciated — most likely because this man came to feed them everyday. They were scared of any person who approached them, which made it difficult to take pictures, but I did my best.

After hanging with the kitties for a little while, I headed back to the hotel. It was getting dark and I didn’t want to be out alone at night.

The next day, I spent all morning and early afternoon walking around to different hostels. Midday, I found myself back at el Parque del Amor, this time during the day when the sunshine was plentiful. My brightly colored sundress matched perfectly with the bright mosaic tiles and I asked a kind German tourist to snap a few photos!

I sat by the water for a while, enjoying my last day on the Pacific coast, soaking in the sunshine (meanwhile, it’s 40 degrees Fahrenheit at home and about to snow, so I definitely appreciated the warmth).

I continued on with visiting hostels, then went back to Hotel Nobility to check out. The checkout was smooth and effortless, and the hotel let me store my luggage there until my late-night flight for no extra charge. After taking care of that, I headed back out to downtown Miraflores to visit a few more hostels. Then, I stumbled upon a flyer for a bus tour of all of Lima for 25 soles (about $8 USD) run by Mirabus. It was such a steal that I had to hop on!  I joined the group of fifteen or so 50+ year-old women and a few small families as we rode on the top level of a double-decker bus and explored the city.

The tour guide pointed out major historic sites and attractions as we drove through the different districts of Lima, including San Isidro, Miraflores, Barranco and Churillos. We drove all along the coast, visiting familiar sites such as el Parque del Amor and Barranquito Beach, until we finally looped back round to the pick up spot.

The tour was a fantastic way to get one last look at the beautiful, traditional city. Afterwards, I headed back to the hotel to grab my luggage and make my way to the airport.

I had a few mishaps in Lima, but overall I found the city charming, bright, charismatic and inspiring.  I’ll never be able to wipe the images of the beautiful view of the water out of my head. The people (other than the man on the scooter) were friendly and congenial and made me feel welcome in a foreign city. I would recommend  Lima for anyone looking to explore a beautiful, lively, traditional yet metropolitan Latin American city.

Day 2 in Lima: The adventure continues

Lima, Lima, Lima, Lima, Leeeeeeema

I have so much to say about this city, it is so difficult to fit into a few short blog posts (well, arguably short).

My second day in Lima was another adventure in it’s own. I woke rested and ready to take on the day. I took care of some marketing responsibilities in the morning, then set out to walk around the city, with my first stop being an ATM.

So here’s a story:

As I was crossing the street at a crosswalk, out of no where, a man on scooter turned the corner with an outstretched hand and reached for the camera around my neck. He was driving so quickly that when he grabbed the camera, the force pulled my neck along with it and I plummeted, head first, into the pavement. Thank goodness for my huge noggin and thick hair which trapped the camera strap, so he was unable to pull it off over my head in the drive-by. He sped off, unsuccessful, without even looking back.

A million thoughts raced through my head as I lay there in the middle of the street, trying to collect myself and wrap my head around what happened. People stood nearby, but the the incident happened so quickly that there was really nothing anyone could have done.

I brushed myself off, got up and walked to a sidewalk. There, I did a quick check of my body and saw that my shoulder was badly scratched up and finger was bleeding. My head hurt, too, from the direct impact with the asphalt, so I headed to a pharmacy to get some bandages. I was a mix of angry (and I am NOT an angry person) and grateful that he didn’t get away with anything. The incident could have been so much worse — he could have taken my camera, wallet, phone, passport, etc. or I could have been seriously injured…or worse. But luckily, I wasn’t hurt badly and I still had all of my belongings.

After my trip to the pharmacy, I headed back to the hostel. I needed to check out anyway so I could move to my next location. Still disheveled from the run-in with the thief, I checked in with my parents and had a relaxing cup of tea. Then I packed up, called a cab, and set out for my new hotel in Miraflores.

I was shaken by the morning’s events, but I wasn’t going to let that ruin my day! After a short cab ride to Miraflores (the more developed, touristy district in Lima) I made it to my new hotel, Hotel Nobility. Oh. My. Gosh. Y’all. This was listed as a 3-star hotel but seriously is the nicest hotel I’ve stayed in (probably because I’m young and broke and can’t afford nice hotels). The service was incredible. I don’t think my hand touched a door knob the entire two days I was there. The food was exquisite (don’t get me started on the breakfast buffet).

I settled in, which was easy to do because I still didn’t have my luggage from the airport, and jetted off to walk around this new district of Lima. If anyone hasn’t noticed, I’m annoyingly partial to water — if there is a view of a lake, river, ocean, sea, etc. — I need to find it; thus I found my way to the Miraflores side of la Coasta Verde, and there, happened upon el Parque del Amor (the Love Park), a small and neatly landscaped park overlooking the water with a statue of two people embracing, entitled The Kiss.

The park nearly mirrored el Parque Güell in Barcelona in that a long, winding wall covered in colorful mosaic tiles set the perimeter. I sat in the park for a while and watched the sunset. From where I sat, I could see down the shoreline to where people were parasailing off the cliff. How I would have loved to join, but I’m sure it was costly, and I didn’t have time. Even watching, though, was a thrill.

Soon it grew dark and I headed back to the hotel to do some more work.

Monday had been a long day to say the least, but as always, the eventfulness simply added to the adventure — it’s all part of the story.