On Wednesday I went into Lima with Walter. We were going to go by bus so I could learn the way on my own, but we ended up taking a taxi the whole way. The taxi driver drove like a race car driver. Fast and furious and effectively. The speedometer needle flickered spasmodically between 40 and 60 mph as if it didn’t know quite how to handle the variances of speed it was always subjected to. At one point, when we arrived to the city, the driver leaned out the window and folded his side mirror in to enable his car to squeeze through a tiny space so he could advance in the lane. “The way Peruvians make more lanes than what are on the road is just like how Jesus fed all those people with the loaves and fishes,” Walter told me. And it’s true, these drivers will make five lanes out of three. The queues of cars uneven and each one trying to find an opening to keep moving forward.
Walter had to go to the Dentist so I walked around Mira Flores on my own. I’d been looking for a good ticket to get to Cusco. I’d found some spectacular deals online but they were prices only for Peruvians. I was beginning to think I’d have to hitchhike. Walter suggested I go to a few of the travel stores in Mira Flores and check out their rates. So I did. I went to three different ones and got quotes. They were all fairly similar. I’d found a good deal online for foreigners with Peruvian Airlines. As I wandered I saw a Peruvian Airlines office and went in. The quote was about 20 dollars cheaper than the other places I’d been that morning so I went ahead and bought a ticket to Cusco from them. I’ll go for a week in July.
After taking care of my point of business I wandered the streets. I stopped at The Haiti, a restaurant I’d heard was a hot spot. I sat and drank an espresso and watched the people walk by. Like a tourist, I asked the maître de if he’d mind taking my picture. “Why would I?” he demurred. “It’d be my pleasure.” One of the waiters stood behind him telling him to raise the camera just so to get the best composition for the photograph.
I walked to Larco Mar stopping to look at old buildings and fun stores along the way. Once at Larco Mar I sat and watched the waves crash up onto the rocks, listened to the sound of the sea that blended in to the sounds of the city. Some time passed and then a group of Peruvians in native garb marched in to the front of the platform and performed several dances. After they finished their dances they posed for pictures for all the tourists. I had mine taken with some of them.
I blend in, right? Okay. Okay. So I don't blend in that much. How about now?
I stopped at a couple of the stores inside the Larco Mar center. With my Cusco ticket in my bag I decided to look through some books about Cusco and also one of Lima. The boy tending the store stopped to answer a couple of my questions. I asked him if the Museum of the Inquisition was near enough to where I was to walk to. He said, no, and that it’d be better to take a taxi since I was alone and I’d have to pass through a little bit rougher part of town. He gave me some other advice about taxis to take and ones not to take.When I got ready to leave he said he was just getting off work and would walk with me back to where I was going to meet Walter. His name was Rodrigo. He’s studying Political Science at the University and talked my ear off as we walked. I told him I was interested in going to Barranco at some point. Barranco is a spot for musicians and bohemians with lots of live music and parties. He gave me his number and said he’d love to go along with me if I did decide to go.
I caught up with Walter and we grabbed another taxi. We’d gone a little ways when Walter tells the driver to pull over. He got out of the cab and went down the street to talk to someone. A while later he brought over a character of a man with an old lamppost. Walter was going to buy it but had to go to the bank to get some money. So we packed in the man and the lamppost and all went together to the bank.
The man told me the lamppost was 400 years old, to be sure and not let Walter paint it, all he needed to do was clean it and it’d be beautiful. He bared his shoulder to show me how he’d been hurt from carrying it all across town. He told me of the twenty years he’d been out collecting antiques and how wonderful everything that he had was.
When Walter got out and went to the bank, the character had me take a picture of him and his lamppost as a reminder.