...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Monday, December 12, 2005

Quote of the Day, from Jon: ''Okay, we're about to leave the secured bunker of the Lima airport. Are we ready for this?''

It's an honest question, too. Especially after hearing about the very scary experience our good friend Kristin had in Limaa week or so earlier, we were both a little nervous of venturing into the sprawling Peruvian capital.

Our first glimpses of Lima did nothing to dissuage our fears. First impressions: busy streets lined by squat gray buildings with none of the color or life of Chile or the elegance of Argentina, gray, smoggy sky hanging over the low buildings, death-defying traffic, exhaust fumes from the bus ahead of us blowing into our cab's rolled-down windows. Barely anything was within walking distance, everything had to be accessed by taxi, which gave the city a disconnected, disjointed feeling, as though we were being shuttled from one experience to another with nothing to tie them together into a unified whole.

Walking around the Plaza de Armas later in the day made us feel better about Lima. The low, squat buildings of the Miraflores and outying areas were replaced by the tall colonial buildings, soft lemon-yellow with white trim. The San Francisco church was absolutely gorgeous, and the collections of religious artifacts were fascinating, especially considering the level of syncretism between the Incan indigenous religious beliefs and the Spanish Catholic theologies. We spent almost two hours at the church, then bought ice-cream cones and walked around the pedestrian shopping streets for awhile. They reminded me of the pedestrian streets running perpendicular to the Plaza de Armas in Santiago, and Jon said that they reminded him of Calle Florida in Buenos Aires.

Tonight we had dinner at a chifa, one of the hundreds--thousands?--of Peruvian-Chinese restaurants that are scattered all throughout the city. I had beef with oyster sauce--yum! The food was better than I would have expected it to be for the strange ethnic combination and the price tag of only S/. 7.50 -- 7.50 soles, or about US $2.50. Tomorrow, we're going to see an Incan ruin that should be close by in Miraflores, the changing of the guard in the Plaza de Armas, and the National Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. For dinner, I might eat guinea pig!

Jon, watching Intervention on the AE channel with me: ''Where's that woman going?''
Me: ''She's going to a recovery center to treat her shopping addiction.''
Jon: ''Well...at least she'll have some nice things to wear on the way there.''