Lima, Peru

We were in Lima, Peru Sunday & Monday, January 15 & 16, so this will be a two day posting.  We actually docked in Callao (Kai-yow), which is the nearest port, about 25 miles from downtown Lima.  02 Port Of Callao, from ship

Lima is a huge city, 8 or 9 million people, depending on who you ask.  Much of it is very pretty, with beaches (pretty rocky ones, though), cliffs, parks and lots of beautiful flowers.

11 Beach at Miraflores, Lima on horizon  09 Beach at Miraflores 11 Beach at Miraflores from cliff  05 Cliff at Miraflores

29 Red & purple flowers in Lima park  04 Fishing from the dock, Miraflores, Lima Peru

However, it is also a city with a lot of poverty (in fact, we have seen this throughout Peru).  We were told that 11% of the population of Lima live without electricity or water service.  You can see thousands of what are essentially huts (someone said they look like ship containers) on hillsides, occupied by squatters.

14 Squatters hill in Lima

16 Squatters' hill in Lima

On our first day in Lima we were on a tour booked by one of the other passengers that was supposed to take us to the 2 best archeological sites in Lima.  However, when our van pulled up to Pachemacac, we learned that  because there was a major car rally finishing in Lima that day they had decided at the last minute to close Pachemacac at noon.  So we did not get to see the site that was the main reason we booked this tour.  The rally was a big deal, with cars from all over the world competing, & lots of folks came out to see it, but that was a disappointment.

15 Gate to Pachacamec ruins, which we couldn't enter 13 Pachacamec, perhaps, from the road 12 People waiting for road rally finish in Lima

So, having seen nothing up to then, they took us to lunch.  We ate at a nice Peruvian buffet place, where we could sample a large variety of Peruvian food, including the largest corn kernels I have ever seen.  I also tried a Pisco Sour, the national drink of Peru & Chile (and thus a dispute about who originated it).  And on our table was a small pot of hot sauce that tasted very much like what you can get at local Peruvian chicken places in Arlington such as Crisp & Juicy, which is our favorite.  The comparable restaurants here are called “Pollo de Brasas.”

23 Front of peruvian restaurant where we ate in Lima 20 Mary in Peruvian restaurant in Lima 21 Rick in Peruvian restaurant in Lima 18 Peruvian hot sauce

After lunch we visited several parks.  The first one, on the edge of a cliff in the Miraflores district (a wealthy suburb), contained a sculpture the Peruvians are very proud of picturing two indians kissing.  It also has a wall that was inspired by Antonio Gaudi’s architecture in Barcellona. 

24 Kissing Indians statue in Lima park 26 Bay from Lima park

25 Panarama of Gaudiesque wall in Lima park

The second park was all olive trees that were planted by the Spaniards more than 300 years ago.  They are all set out in neat rows.

57 Olive tree park, Lima 56 Olive tree park, Lima

Finally, we visited an important archeological site, right in the city, called Huaca Pucllana.  It is a large pyramid that is in the process of excavation.  The most interesting thing about it (for a visitor, not an archeologist) is the “book style” technique of laying the adobe bricks, which we hadn’t seen before.  We were told that the entire thing is made of bricks; there is no space inside.  Apparently, each generation would build a new layer on top of the old one.  According to our guide, the last picture in the group is the remains of some human sacrifices uncovered here.

32 Mary at Huaca Pucllana 37 book-style adobe bricks at Huaca Pucllana 45 Huaca Pucllana 41 Adobe finish over bricks at Huaca Pucllana    90 Rick at Huaca Pucllana 43 Perhaps remains of sacrificed indians

And here is the skyline of Miraflores from the top of the pyramid.

93 Miraflores skyline from Huaca Pucllana

Also at the Huaca Pucllana site, we saw our first llamas, some guinea pigs (which Peruvians eat), and some Peruvian Hairless dogs (which are exceedingly ugly).

50 Llama at Huaca Pucllana 97 Llama through chain link fence at  Huaca Pucllana

53 Guinea Pig (Peruvian delicacy) at Huaca Pucllana 47 Peruvian hairless dog

The last thing on our tour was a park with a variety of creative fountains, called the Magical Circuit Of The Waters.  This park was very popular; lots of local people there on a Sunday evening (even though it cost to enter), with everyone taking their pictures in front of the fountains.

 62 Circuit of the Waters 67 Water tunnel, circuit of the waters, Lima 68 People in fountain, circuit of the waters 73 small fountain, circuit of the waters, Lima

69 Red & purple Bougainvillea, at circuit of the waters, Lima 74 Old church tower, from circuit of the waters in Lima

That night on the ship a local folk dancing group put on a really terrific show (which included an old Peruvian song written by Paul Simon).  The last dance, which I did not get pictures of, had two young fellows doing some impressive gymnastic dancing (back flips, etc.) while holding a long scissors in their right hands with which they kept to the beat of the song.  I wonder how much blood was on the floor while they were learning to do that!

75 Folk dancers on Prinsendam in Lima 76 Folk dance show on Prinsendam 78 Peruvian folk dance show on Prinsendam 82 Peruvian folk dance show on Prinsendam 85 Peruvian folk dance show on Prinsendam  86 Peruvian folk dance show on Prinsendam

On our second day in Lima we visited two archeological museums.  The Larco Museum allowed cameras, but the Gold Museum did not.  Larco was an archeologist/collector who uncovered a huge amount of pottery & sculpture, mostly in northern Peru, early in the 20th century, when it was still legal to do so.  He established a museum in what used to be his Hacienda, a beautiful building with fabulous gardens.  We had an excellent guide & learned a lot at this museum.

Most of this collection is pre-Inca.  The Inca conquered much of Peru in the 12th & 13th centuries, so their empire was only a few hundred years old when Pizarro came and conquered them (that’s an interesting story in itself, since he did this with a total of 168 men).  Other civilizations in this area, such as the Moche & Chimu, lasted for 6 or 7 hundred years before declining.  Many of these pots, which are in astonishingly good shape, are actually water vessels (you can see the long spouts on the top), but probably were never used for that since they were made to put in the tombs of noblemen.  In these tombs they have also found the skeletons of dozens of other people, who apparently were the nobleman’s retainers, buried alive to serve him in the next world.

12 Pre-Inca indian water vessel with person (1000 -2500 years old) 15 Water vessel pottery with skull sculpture 17 Man's head pottery water vessel (Moche, pre-Inca) 16 Woman's head pottery water vessel

There is also a room containing ancient textiles that were in the tombs.

19 Moche textile, closeup (Lorca museum) 20 Moche textile, closeup

In a separate wing of the Larco museum is a collection of extremely explicit pottery, demonstrating that these Indians knew how to have a good time, & expected to continue doing so in the next life.  I was going to post some pictures of these, but Mary prevailed upon me not to include pornography in the general blog posting.  If anyone really wants to see these, email me & I will try to email you copies of some of the pictures (not sure it will work on this spotty internet connection).  You can specify the type of sexual depiction you are interested in, if you like, since these Indians pretty much covered the field!

The Lorco museum also has gardens with beautiful flowers hanging over walls & giant cactuses, so I will share a few here.

\10 Red & blue flowers at Lorco museum 37 Mary at Lorco Museu  05 Flowers on wall at Lorco museum in Lima 06 Flowers at Lorco Museum in Lima 38 Red & yellow flowers at Lorco museum 07 Cactus & flowers at Lorco museum

36 Cactus at Lorco  museum

Here is a “Chifa” restaurant, which is a Peruvian version of chinese food (we didn’t get to try any), and the national library of Peru, for the librarians in the audience.  Also, we have here laundry drying on the roof of a house, which we have seen quite a bit of here in Peru.  Note that there are steel construction rods sticking out of the roof on the building nearer the front.  You see this all over Peru; we are told that this is because property taxes are lower for unfinished buildings, so people keep their houses permanently “unfinished.”

40 Chifa Wong restaurant in Lima 42 Peru national library

43 Washing on roof & unfinished roof, Lima

Finally, here is the monkey towel animal we received at the end of the day, and another bread sculpture of a barrel, with a bunch of grapes at the lower left made out of 2 different colors of bread.

01 Monkey towel animal 02 Barrel made of bread, with bread bunch of grapes at left bottom

3 responses

  1. Phyllis

    The two water vessels on the right side of the photo look very modern! I am astonished at the facial detail compared to the gargoyle looking ones on the left side.
    Ah- there’s the textiles!

    January 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

    • I wanted to reply to your other comment today, but accidentally deleted it from my email inbox. There are quite a lot of colorful & interesting textiles in Peru, such as the costumes on the dancers that I posted in the Lima posting. But as to ancient textiles, the only ones I saw were in the room at the museum where these two were. There were a few more, but these were the most interesting (to me, anyway). Actually, I was surprised that any textiles had survived for over 1,000 years; they say its the heat and dryness of the climate that make it possible. The textiles are very fine; I think they told us some of these textiles have up to 1600 threads per inch. I was also astonished at how modern those pots looked; if you saw them in a vendor’s stand, you would think they were obviously knockoffs for that reason and because they are so smooth & shiny.

      January 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

  2. Barbara Bader

    Hey. Lima’s in Ohio!
    Sucks about Pachemacac. Other than that, looks great.

    January 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm

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