I flew out of Victoria 6:30 tues non stop to Toronto. Luckily I met up with two of the ten on our trip at the Toronto airport. Air Canada non stop to Lima was comfortable until the last two hours. Much turbulence as we flew over the Andes plus the jet stream was very fast as we cut off 30 min. Wonderful lightening show in the dark of night. We arrived Lima at 1am and were met with our guide and diver. It had similar feeling to India driving through city street poorly lite with crumbled buildings and graffiti. A comfortable 2 star hotel with a simple single room for me as my shared companion I had not met cancelled Her trip at the last moment.
Lima turned out to be a surprising mix of American wanna be shops, many Scotia Bank outlets, beggars, foreign exchange vendors and families! Yes the streets were filled with walking laughing families. Halloween was being celebrated the kids all dressed up in store bought costumes shout Halloween waving plastic pumpkins. It was sweet and heart warming. No one on cell phones! Everyone interacting with each other!
Nov 1 all saints day, a holiday, we toured the church of st Francis as the national Museum was closed. The 14th century library was filled with floor to ceiling leather bound hand scribed books some giant ones on table tops beautifully embellished they were at least 2 x 3 feet in size. The spiral staircases and ornately carved furniture reminded me of the Dublin national library only add layers of dust and the sound of cooing doves in the skylights.
We toured the catacombs a particularly eerie feeling as mass was chanted directly above as we filed though chambers of thigh bones and darkened sculls. How appropriate to be here on all saints day. Later in the afternoon we spent hours in a water park. Impeccably trimmed grass, tiled paths bordered in flowers. The fountains shot water in shows that rivaled the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Children and families respectful and having a wonderful time getting soaked in pools. Patrolled by guards who would instantly megaphone us if we walked on the grass. It was a study of contradiction!
I had numerous taxis rides about the city of over 8 million people. Distinctive districts that seemed to house many in high walled enclaves. Everything was edged in security fencing and barbed wire and yet the streets were for the most part very clean of garbage. Not surprising that every street had a masked sweeper with huge brooms.
We flew to Cusco today an hour bumpy flight high in the Andes. Home of the Incas, the culture is evident in the crafts sold at every street corner. At 11,000 ft I am slow to get acclimatized. Lots of water, the most delicious trout and quinoa soup and with cocoa leaves in hot water to help with the altitude!
With enlightening conversations with Willaru our Incan guide these past few days feel full of the flavours of original spirituality and the worship of the sun, moon and Mother Earth. Tomorrow we drive deep into a valley they say is sacred. I am off to bed content with the sounds of joyful pan flute playing in my head as we were just treated to a concert of traditional music.
Hugs and warm wishes jill