Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, Jan 29th, Lima, Peru


We met up with our tour group today, and once again Adventures Abroad has found some great partners to join us on our adventures.  Mostly Canadians as usual, they're seasoned travelers with interesting backgrounds.  Several have friends who live in the S.F. Bay area, with one in Petaluma.

We've gotten to know about half of them well, having had lunch at the same table or sat close to them on the bus.  We've begun to share travel stories, and realized that we've been to some of the same places.  We even share trips with the same guide (Jonathan, who took us to Egypt and Kenya), and found out he got married in December to the assistant guide on that trip.

Today's journey took us by bus early through Lima to Lover's Beach, where I was able to check out the hardy folks weathering the Antarctic Current to catch some small waves near a pier.  The Current also brings a consistent fog bank which creates really wet summers for residents near the beach, and depresses housing costs.  Better to be inland a mile or so, especially near the four private golf courses.

Lima has an economic growth rate almost unrivaled in the world (at least 6.8% over the past five years), and has significantly strengthened their middle class.  One of the indications recently has been the sold-out rock concerts for international bands which have bypassed Argentina and Chile for Peru.  

Passing by two of the estimated 300 pre-Inca ruins in the city which have been damaged by development, we saw huge temples constructed of adobe clay bricks which have survived everything but development for 2,000 years.  At anywhere else but one of the driest cities on earth, rain would have washed it into a pile of mud.

The Raphael Larco Herrera Museum was our first prolonged stop this morning.  A private collection of 45,000 pieces from all of the major civilizations in Peru, it was assembled from the ceramics, textiles, metals, and jewelry reclaimed from those stolen from sites all over Peru.  For almost 100 years, it has also stored the materials found by ranchers and developers working the country's vast landscape.

  It also has come to present the largest collection of Moche art, including their extensive erotic art.

Lima's Plaza de Armas was our next stop, where we were in time to watch the arrival of the Romanian President at the start of a 2-day official visit.
We walked through the Monestary of San Francisco, and its extensive catacombs, where the bones of 70, 000 residents who died between 1535 and 1820 are stored.  The construction costs were partly subsidized by wealthy residents who sought key placements underneath the alter.
Finally, we traveled out to the very private Hacienda Los Ficus to watch a presentation of Peruvian Paso horses, and have an excellent dinner on their grounds.  Here is an excellent post which describes what we experienced (Los Ficus).   Before dinner, Pat photographed me riding one.

To view the entire 234 photo collection taken today (it's only going to get bigger as we head for Macchu Picchu), click on Tuesday in Lima.

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