Late last night more of our group arrived in Lima. We met Leslie, Jih-Ho and Chris H. for breakfast , Siobhan and Katherine, two youngsters, are also part of the WHIP group. (Weird Humans In Peru our travel name : credit to Jih-Ho Donovan)
We are still missing Ricky, Sally and Harry but the rest of the crew has arrived!
After a noisy and chatty catch up breakfast we met Milton Hatun Runa’s main contact and man-for-everything in Lima. He’s a super nice guy and he organized the transportation to one of the most important activities before we set out on our trip: money exchange in a somewhat unconventional way. We’ll leave it at that.
Next on the list was grocery shopping as we won’t be able to get many of the things once we hit the countryside. Wine, favourite snacks, pumpernickel bread just to name a few.
Hungry from all the shopping we went for lunch at “La Bonbonniere” and no it wasn’t really a French restaurant, it was a medley of all sorts of cuisines. The view from the terrace would have been great if it hadn’t been so foggy ;o)
Hang gliders were gliding precariously close to sky scrapers and a tour group foto, Chris O. nearly gave Esther a heart attack, perched on a silver rail without safety rope balancing on top of the cliff with a sheer drop of 100 meters only feet away.
After lunch we split up into separate teams , each doing their own must do’s for the afternoon. Leslie told us that outside of Lima, where we are going, it’s all cash in local currency , no cards , and no ATM. So we needed to get more cash out of the ATM’s in Lima, and they only dispense 700 soles at one time. We literally emptied 3 ATM’s cash reserves and it took us ages to finally take out enough to last us for the entire trip.
Lessons learned for next time!
We wandered back towards our hotel through the ‘cat’ Parque Kennedy and Chris discovered his favourite cat with floppy ears again. Now that grumpy cat is gone, maybe floppy ear cat can take it’s place ???
There was a lot going on in the Parque Kennedy on a Saturday. Seems the locals love being out and about. Public viewing of the soccer game between Peru and Venezuela, singing and dancing by people of all ages complete with DJ set-up in the park. They all seemed to have a jolly good time and it was fun to watch.
After some rest in the hotel, we gathered for a very special evening event. We were invited to a grand old mansion on top of a hill on the outskirts of Lima. This old mansion was built and re-built a number of times, last in 1880. You could see that it was a grand old building.
It’s reception area, dining room and courtyard all still remembering it’s former glory. Ornate window grills on every window and beautifully painted ceilings remind the visitor of the old colonial times. Being served a scrumptious buffet dinner of local delicacies with lots of fresh food, we doug in as the only guests there for that evening. And to top dinner, we were treated to a private performance of an African Peruvian music and dance group.
The sounds were really a musical medley between Latin American elements and African elements, as was the dancing. Besides the two professional dancers who performed, it seems to be a tradition that whoever is new on the Hatun Runa Peru trip that year has to perform as well, to the great delight of the rest of the crew!
We got paper tails pinned to our backsides and were given candles to light each others butts on fire much to the delight of the onlookers! Needless to say that we all made fools of ourselves not trying to be roasted alive ;o)) We confiscated as much as possible the photographic evidence but I am afraid that some videos and pics might pop up on some social media account…
This was also our first intro to Peru’s national drink: the Pisco Sour. A potent 48% alcohol, the Pisco gets mixed with lime juice, bitter, and whipped egg whites and served ice cold. It tastes a bit like a Margherita. Everyone had at least two of those but Esther really should have had only one…. Lessons learned…
To close out a wonderful evening, we went to a look out in the Barranco district.
This area is known for their bohemian little shops, restaurants and lots of street art everywhere.
It has a wishing bridge, where one has to hold their breath from one end until reaching the other end, then supposedly the wish will come true. It is a very charming area by night and we will be back in a few weeks to explore it a bit more.