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Lima Peru–Trip Report 9

putabirdonitMy final stop on this magnificent adventure was a full, fun, brief stop in Lima. When I walked into the Santa Rosa, my hotel, the phrase popped into my head as “faded—badly,” having lost the word “glory” altogether. However, she redeemed herself beautifully. When my hotel room puts off upon check-in (and they often do in my $30-a-night price range) I usually find it becomes much nicer after I’ve had a shower (as does most of life) and it’s entirely comfortable when I wake up there. A shower at Santa Rosa, now that I was back in heat and humidity, was very restorative to body, mood and room. I stopped my lament for the paint these walls had so dearly wanted just moments before.

I went out for a walk around the neighborhood. I was just a block from the Plaza de Armes—the draw of this location—and it was even a pedestrian-only block: a lovely block with musicians playing, photographs displayed, restaurants and lots of activity. I walked around the Plaza torn between people watching and building watching. The rapidly changing sky made both interesting. Lima is a grand capital—at least right here.

fountainThe buildings were a block long Cathedral, a chief executive mansion and two other typically Spanish colonial gallaria-type buildings. The neighborhood is full of other lovelies, housing small shops and restaurants. I found a good seafood dinner (I’m back on the coast and the ceviche is lovely—never mind that it’s a lunch food, said the woman who wants salad for breakfast.) Dinner also included adorable and slightly bizarre little potato rolls. The yellow exterior is made of mashed potatoes that are made into a rectangle and then rolled (cylindrically) around a stuffing of…no idea but it tasted good. They stood vertically on the left side of my dish like palm trees—yet a new form of potato-ness in this potato-capital of the world.

I was told I was safe in the square until 10 pm. I did a little shopping, discovering that there were lots of bead stores right around the Santa Rosa. When I turned in I discovered my room had developed a decent cross-breeze and had a comfortable bed with the nicest sheets I’d touched in a long time. Welcome surprises.

Next morning, the man who ran the breakfast room fixed me two fried eggs and delicious honeydew, along with the typical breakfast rolls, jam, real butter and coffee. (We won’t talk about the coffee, but at least it wasn’t crystals.) After silent and kind service, my breakfast man crumbled under the weight of his loquacious nature and, English be damned, he would know my plans for the day.

I explained I would go to the LARCO museum (something I’d planned all along) maybe the pyramid in town, which I’d just heard about, thanks to an email from a friend, and then return home and enjoy the Plaza. Riccardo explained all the museums in Lima, in Spanish of course, and we had a conversation that went on for about 45 minutes and involved me going back to the room for my map. It was nice to have a graphic anchor, since words were more miss than hit. While he strongly recommended the museum of the Spanish Inquisition, I really didn’t feel the need to take this one on. I’d had a torture-free trip thus far and didn’t see any reason to mess with that. Easter had revealed enough blood and pain.

When I stopped for transportation assistance and advice at the front desk (from a charming and excellent English speaker) I learned that this was her family’s hotel. I thanked her for the friendliness and hospitality, especially from the breakfast man, and learned that Riccardo is her Dad. I now officially loved this place. I was off with a route and a cab for the LARCO, a plan for a cab to the pyramid and a way to take Lima’s bus-rapid- transit back home, after a little wandering around in Miraflores—the pretty suburb that houses Huaca Pucllana, a pyramid begun around 500 CE—among it’s modern condos. Midtown pyramid

DSCF7398It was a perfect day, with a delicious lunch surrounded by bougainvillea in the elegant museum restaurant, a nice breeze and then some cooling fog in the air in Miraflores. The LARCO is one of the finest museums I’ve ever been to—it houses the collection of ceramics accumulated by one man from so many of the ancient peoples of Peru (mostly pre-Inca.) This includes a specially housed collection of erotic ceramics by the Moche people. All of this is so well displayed and explained without shame, snickering or false modesty.ceramic love 2

ceramic 2By the weird way, the bean called “lima” has that name because they were exported from the Viceroyalty of Peru and the packages carried the designation, Lima Peru. I had lentils, but no beans on my trip.

Off to the airport for a 12:35 am flight back to Houston and then home.