Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lima part 2

We arrived back in Lima late afternoon. I then led everyone on a tour of the fountain park since no one had been there. It was still pretty awesome despite having only there a week ago. No new photos. Next up was dinner at Almazen. Yay, this restaurant was open again and it was worth it. I had a raw vegan lasagne, my first proper raw vegan meal in South America, not counting salads. If you don't know what raw vegan is look it up. It does not mean lasagne that hasn't gone in the oven yet. Then Christine, the boys and I drank some beers and cocktails before heading back to the hotel. This was the last night the four of us would hang out :(

The next day Christine, James and I decided to attempt a scary local bus to the erotic pottery museum. Lonely Planet tells you which one to get but you still need to work it out cos it's not that easy. Basically they write the major street names on the side of the bus and a guy (either the driver, or a cashier) yells out the door where it's going each time the bus slows. There does not appear to be any bus stops, you just get on and off where you want along the streets they go down. Anyway, there was three of us, so safety in numbers, and it was less much less daunting than getting one on your own.

Now some people come here and spend $40 doing the official Lima tour. Not us. We spent one soles (about 36c) each and get on the scary bus and get the unofficial tour guided by my Lonely Planet.

When we got on the bus the driver said he goes past the museum. What he failed to mention was that it would take 1.5 hours. Hence, the unofficial tour. But it was pretty cool. The bus, which is more of a minibus, belts of Latino hits.

Our bus trip took us through a bunch of suburbs, some looked alright while others (near the shanty towns on the hill) looked a bit dodgy and crap basically.

We passed a taxi along the way whose back window was made from taped on plastic sheeting. Nice. I wish I'd been able to get a photo of it.

We got to the museum in the end and felt proud of our public transport experience and our "real Lima" tour.

The erotic pottery museum was hilarious. You can't take photos, so you'll have to click on the link to get an idea. I did take a picture of the explanation of the horny Incas though.

The museum itself was also really nice. This is their garden and cafe.

Rather than risk another 1.5 hour bus ride, we next caught a cab to downtown and we did the tour of the squares (see Lima part 1). No riot police this week. At one of the squares, some guys asked Christine and I to be in their photos. Always nice when randoms think you're hot. I've also noticed the fancy squares like to have a colour theme going of the surrounding buildings. So far I've noticed all blue, all yellow, all pink and all white buildings. Like this one, which also doubles as Tim's fountain photo of the day.

I've also noticed how well Lima's parks are maintained, even in the shit areas. The architecture here is also really nice too. Strong Spanish influences in a lot of their buildings. Lima is growing on me a bit.

We found a vegetarian place for lunch. There's heaps in downtown, and only half seem to be in happycow. This one was buffet, which was nothing too special, but still pretty tasty, and cheap, like $7 for three meals including fresh juices. Christine and I felt less bad about dragging James to veggie restaurants given the price. Then again, he seems to not mind.

James and Christine then did the San Francisco catacombs tour while I waited. Some Peruvian guy started talking to me cos I was falling asleep waiting for them. Then he decided to give us a tour of the central market and Chinatown areas. We tried some Peruvian fruit that looked like snot but tasted like a weak passionfruit. Not sure how I feel about that one. But the tour was pretty cool. We probably wouldn't have gone there otherwise, or tried the snot passionfruit.

We jumped on the nice bus back to Miroflores, got our stuff and off we went to the hostel. The beds were awesome for a backpackers, like a king single size. This is the first time I've seen that. Shame I was only in mine til 4.30am when I had to get up for the airport.

The three of us headed off to Barranco for our last dinner together. I went here last week briefly during the day and thought it would be a cool place to eat/drink. Christine and James hadn't been here so we wandered around for a bit before settling on a restaurant with ocean views, even though it was dark and you couldn't really see much. None of the restaurants did anything remotely vegan. Even vegetarian was a stretch. And they all appeared to have exactly the same menus. I don't understand that. How about some variety people? I ordered something I thought was safe. Then our meals came out and it was pretty much an all round disappointment. They were so bland and boring. Oh well, the beer was still good and Barranco was still cool.

By the time we were done, it was too late to get the nice bus back to Miroflores so we decided to find another scary local bus. Of course we got harassed by about a thousand taxis standing at the edge of the street, but we stood our ground and waited for a bus to come along and flag down. I've noticed that whatever the bus is, they all seem to be going where you want. I'm sure its not true, but it seems like it. I think the bus driver ripped us off by since I was looking at the tariffs after sitting down and none of them added to the price we paid. Hmm... Still better than being ripped off by by a cabbie I guess. Again, this bus had upbeat Spanish bollywood music blaring. I think everyone who comes here should experience one of these buses. It's quite fun and really cheap, even if you do get ripped off.

I said goodbye to Christine and James. I'll miss our group. It's been really fun.

Tomorrow, Chile!