As we await in the airport for our flight to Santiago, Chile I sit here and wonder about how different Miraflores Lima is to Cusco. It felt like we were in a totally different hemisphere between the two cities; Lima hot. Cusco cold. Lima humid. Cusco dry. Lima urbanized. Cusco native. But in reality, one could say the same between New York City and Reading Vermont (my home town).
It’s funny though, the differences in cultures between the two cities. That cultural difference would not be found between NYC and Reading, on the most basic level – food and eating habits – the rituals remain the same between the two American towns. But here in Lima, it couldn’t have had a bigger difference between eating habits with Cusco. Here in Miraflores Lima the eating was urbanized, and American – finding a chain restaurant at every corner, Burger King, Pizza Hut, chilis, even TGI Fridays (basically the most Americanized thing ever). And I do not mean this in a derrogitory way when I say that Miraflores is “Americanized”, it actually was quite comforting after spending the last week without hot water or familiar food. It was just unexpected.
We landed in Lima yesterday late morning and after collecting our belongings we hailed a taxi to Miraflores (a coast town on the outskirts of Lima). The ride was about 30 minutes along the beautiful coast, watching surfers and runners enjoy the Pacific Ocean.
We stayed in a low budget hotel-Ibis- which was perfect for our stay. For $48 we had all of the ammenities of any other hotel; wifi, clean room, towels, hot shower, security, all for a low price. Since I was still feeling ill upon arrival, I couldn’t have been happier to check in early and lay down. My fever was beginning to break and I was starting to feel better but I really didn’t want to over do it right before heading to Chile.
After a nap and some comfort food we decided to walk around the town. It was amazing to see how the coastal highway was cut right into the earth, leaving a steep bank with moss and vines growing to secure the land from land slides. Lima could really benefit from a little Inca terraces here! We walked to Larcomere; an “outdoor” shopping center equipt with American stores and Chain restaurants. The temperature was perfect for walking around, so the place was packed! We ordered smoothies and window shopped around, finding prices at Nike, Quicksilver, Adidas to be equivalent or more than those in the US (no surprise there). There was also a local micro brew fest going on, we meandered through but I was in no shape to try any. I still enjoyed seeing how similar it was to the states. Once walking around the entirety of the mall, including a bowling alley and movie theater, we headed back to our hotel to call it for the night.
This morning I woke up feeling 100%!! We grabbed a hot coffee and walked around for a bit. Everyone was out biking or jogging along the coastal paths. I really enjoy how every small town in Peru has a little park to enjoy. On our walk we found a park that had a little turtle pond! The pond was full of every sized turtle!
After enjoying the park and watching the turtles we returned to the hotel to pack up and check out. Leaving our bags at the front desk -our flight wasn’t till 5:45pm so we had some time to kill. We walked down the steap cliffs to the coast where we found tons of people surfing! Beginners and experts all enjoying the waves and semi cold water. Along the beach were vintage vw buses full of rental equipment set up for people to try out surfing. We continued walking to the pier where we got a great view of the action!
We then trekked back up the steap bank to get some lunch at the Larcomere. Just your standard pizza 🙂 and began walking in the other direction, window shopping and enjoying a local bookstore while we killed time before our flight. At around 3 we headed back to Ibis hotel to collect our belongings and call an uber.
Now that we have gone through security and I’m sitting here reflecting back on my time in Peru, I couldn’t be happier from my experiences here. After just a week I feel I have been introduced to a whole new world. I have never been to a place so culturally different, yet very inviting. Everyone has been more than happy to share their experiences and knowledge with us without making me feel out of place. Although we were only here for 10 days it feels like a month! I believe we were able to see the majority of Cusco and the highlight of this portion of the trip was by far the Inca Jungle Trek. Trying new food, mountain biking, hiking, holding monkeys and Machu Picchu were just few of the many things we packed into a short trip. I look forward to what is to come, especially going snowboarding in Santiago!! 🙂