After exiting the chaos of Lima International airport I had an entertaining drive to the hotel through the red light district and past some interesting shenanigans on local buses. And – have I mentioned the driving in South America??????
Some factoids about Lima
9 million people live here in a 1000 square km city.
330,000 cabs operate here, that is 10X more than NY city
Considered second oldest civilization after Mesopotamia according to Peruvians
Fishing, Mining, tourism, agriculture are the main exports, 85% of the country is catholic, cerviche is the national delicacy.
The next day we caught a city tour and traveled to the old town and the Plaza Mayor of Lima which houses the Presidential palace and the Governor’s palace.
The street art is amazing in Lima!
We then walked over to San Francisco Church/Basilica and the catacombs. In the 1800’s people were buried under churches in rectangular excavations. 5 people were buried in each grave. the first body was put in then covered with a layer of dirt and quick lime, the next body was then placed in etc. 25,000 people were buried in this fashion under that church alone and each church in Lima has catacombs under them. People wished to be buried there to be closer to God. During our tour of the Basilica San Francisco we also saw the old Franciscan monk quarters and beautiful mosaics. the entire structure was tongue and groove – no nails.
After a cerviche lunch ( muy delicioso) in Kennedy park near our hotel, we headed off again with our minder Mario who took us on an unscheduled trip south through the real Lima via public transport to an area called Barranco on the Pacific Ocean. Lovely area. Lots of Asian influence here on food – which is a fusion of Chinese, Japanese and Peruvian.