Friday, September 21, 2018

Cusco to Lima

Peru Day 9: As our flight was later on in the morning, we spent the hours after breakfast walking around the main streets of Cusco, passing by Plaza de Armas. Many statues from a recent festival (either the Catholic Corpus Christi or the Incan Inti Raymi Festival of the Sun) were clustered in a side plaza, in suspended animation. Children in school uniforms walked quickly past us, wrapped up in their own daily trials and tribulations. We ended up at one of the large open air markets Mercado Central de San Pedro.

In addition to the markets aimed at tourists like us, selling tchotchkes, there were many stalls with fresh vegetables or serving food to the locals. It reminded me of the open air markets I had seen in India. After buying a few items, we made our way back to the hotel, and then onward to Lima.

Upon arriving at the Lima airport, we took a ride to the Miraflores neighborhood where we would be staying. We checked in then tried to make the most of our afternoon. We initially went to Plaza de la Reserva, known for its water fountains and light show. Unfortunately, the show only came on at fixed times in the evening and we were 3 hours too early! We thought about waiting it out at a nearby cafe, but after an uninspiring snack, decided to amend our plans and visit Museo Larco that evening instead.

The museum is housed in what looks like an old upper class villa, with white walls and Bougainvillea flowers. It was founded by Rafael Larco, a Peruvian archaeologist who did much to advance understanding of the pre-Colombian civilizations in Peru. The museum is laid out both by region and chronology, with many original artifacts on display. After an introductory 10 minute video, there are multiple galleries to walk through. I was quite impressed by the attention to detail and explanations given.

After touring the museum, we considered having dinner at the museum itself. Looking at the menu and the crowd in the restaurant, we decided we were too tired to wait. To head to the exit, we followed the signs through the dining area to the exit. As we turned the corner to leave, I thought I heard someone calling my name out, but no - it must be the fatigue! Still, instinctively, I turned to look back and who should I see but Lupe, our Puerto Rican friend from Machu Picchu! She had mentioned visiting Lima for a wedding, but in a city of 10 million, what are the odds that we should cross through their wedding rehearsal dinner? After laughing about the coincidence, we made plans to meet for coffee the next day. 

We made our way back to the hotel and ended up ordering room service as the fatigue from our travels started to catch up with us. 


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