A Few Hours in Lima

I arrived in Lima a little after 8am, after a mercifully short and uneventful flight on TANS Peru, and had checked in at TACA for the 3:00pm return flight to JFK soon afterwards, so decided to head into Lima centro for a few hours.

I jumped into a taxi, and headed into the town centre for a desayuno americano (American breakfast) at De Cesar cafe, after which I took a tour around the San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs Museum (getting in free with my ICOM card, which was handy as I was running short on Peruvian soles). The monastery tour was pretty good; there were only two of us on the English-speaking tour, myself and a rather taciturn Belgian who had just arrived in Peru the previous day. The highlights were the art collection (various religiously-themed series from the schools of well-known European artists such as Rubens and Van Dyck), and the extensive and labarynthine catacombs, where the bones of tens of thousands of bodies are on display, sorted by type.

After the museum tour, I wandered around Plaza Mayor for a bit, taking photos of all the riot police and water cannon tanks that were congregated there in anticipation of some imminent social unrest.

After aimlessly wandering around a little more, I stopped for lunch at the Cordano Cafe, which had a very old-fashioned and traditional feel. When I entered the restaurant it was practically deserted and very quiet, but minutes later it was inundated by a big (and noisy!) party of high school children. A group of girls at the table nearest to me immediately struck up a conversation, and started asking me questions about where I was from, my time in Peru etc. Their English was very good, and we had a lively discussion on all kinds of topics — I think they had an exercise to interview a visitor about their impressions of Lima. My lunch was not very good, but it was a lot of fun being interviewed!

Then, almost as suddenly as they’d arrived, the school party left and the restaurant became empty and quiet again. Then a guy came in and started chatting to me about Premiership football as part of the pretext for begging for money, but I was running very short on Soles, so I paid my bill and grabbed a taxi back to the airport.

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