Yesterday, we arrived in Lima, Peru at 7am. I had aarranged to meet a friend through a friend at Tue airport, who would meet us and show us the best way to get into town and show us around a bit. After the anticipated fumble.of trying to find another without a cell phone, we met Fillipe and all hopped into a cab to our hostel. We got the cab at a stop behind the airport, and so we're able to pay the local commuter price instead of the crazy airport price. At the hostel, we checked in and dropped.off our luggage. We then organized our bags for the day and set out on foot with Fillipe who oriented us, answered the barrage of questions we threw at him, and gave us tons of advice.
We started the day off at la Iglasia de Santa Rosa de Lima, the patron saint of chastity (?I think), who grants wishes. Then the day unfolded before us as a church day. We stopped at half.a dozen beautiful cathedrals, touring a Franciscan monastery as well as quite an elaborate system of catacombs--filled with bones. All the bones had been organized by type, so we saw rooms filled with femurs, pelvic bones, and skulls. The smaller bones had degraded away long ago.
We toured the neighborhood of downtown Lima and hung out in Tue gorgeous plaza major, a town center that truly rivals the plazas of Italy and Spain. At noon, we watched the changing of the guard in front of the president castle on the plaza-enjoying the presidential marching band. We checked out the public library, a magnificent converted train. Station with stained glass cupolas like infant's as the museum of the parliament and inquisition, where we learned about witch burning and torture that took place here in Lima. The building.sits above the official torture dungeons.
For lunch we had fusion Chinese food at a cheifa in Chinatown and zack tasted his first InkaCola. We ended the day at the top of a mountain with a huge cross overlooking the city. We got there at sunset and it was quite beautiful.
Today, we explored a few primary archeological sights, starting the day at Huaca Pucllana where they were ruled by, worshipped, and sacrificed women. Just like home. We learned about the "library technique" of adobe brick construction (stacking bricks vertically with no mortar in between to allow seismic sway). Then, we grabbed some spinach pie for the bus and made our way out of town for the sight of Pachacamac, an Adobe city in the desert outside town. Very cool.
We returned to Lima and walked for the rest of the day, exploring.the neighborhoods of Miraflores AMD Barranco, pastime some thoroughly delicious ceiviches, bombitas de felicidad (syrupy fried dough blobs), and local beverages. We then walked along the long pacific coast of this gigantic city (kids parked in steamy cars all along the way) back to our hostel and crashed after a long day of urban hiking. Tomorrow is a museum day, then Friday night clubbing in Lima. We will probably stay up all night, because next is a 4am bus to Paracas to explore a desert peninsula reserve, las Isles Ballestas ("the poor man's Galapagos), and camping on the beach.