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Callao (Lima) Peru Trip Journal

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January 27, 2010, Callao (Lima) Peru (an update)

Leaving the port this morning proved to be more of a hassle than anything else the entire day.

The ship’s shuttle took us to the main port entrance and dropped us off. Then, we proceeded through security to leave the port. First, they wanted our passports – we don’t have them. The ship retains all passports so they can expedite the processing by local officials at each port. We do have photocopies, which we showed the security personnel. Then, they wanted to see the papers for our cameras? We had no idea what that was about. Finally – we made it outside. We were a bit early, so stood in the shade and waited for our driver and guide. We were consistently asked if we wanted a taxi.

Promptly at 10am, our guide came up and asked me if I was Christina. Pretty easy to figure out, since we were the only “gringos” standing around! Bartolome was our guide for the day. He spoke excellent English and is very proud of his city and his country.

First stop was downtown Lima and the Plaza San Martin. It’s a huge plaza – on one side is the La Catedral – a 16th century church, with elaborate mosaics. On the north side is the Palacio de Gobierno – the palace and home of Peru’s President. The plaza was filled with people, sitting on benches talking, kids chasing birds. One of the things that really caught our attention was the cow statues. As in many North American cities, the cows were colorfully painted – sponsored by various corporations. There were quite a few in the plaza. We walked from the plaza to the Church of San Francisco Ancash, a few blocks away, passing Bar Cordana – the oldest bar in Lima (108 years).

The Church was badly damaged from the last earthquake plus a fire – they are currently raising money to start renovations. The crypt contains over 50,000 skeletons. We didn’t go into the crypt, as we have visited the one in Palermo, Italy which is huge.

Lunch time! Fabulous. Bartolome took us to one of the hotels for their luncheon buffet. The food was delicious and it was fun to try the local dishes. Part of the lunch included a pisco sour, which John tried (and enjoyed). Pisco sours are made from brandy, lemon juice, egg whites, simple syrup and regional bitters.

Enroute to the Rafael Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum, we drove along the ocean – wonderful views -- along the route is a lot of green space with beautiful flowers. There is, surprisingly, a lot of green space throughout the city. It’s hard to imagine how they keep it so green, as Lima receives very little rainfall.

Lima is compact, so we were able to see Miraflores, one of the more elite areas with more sea views, lots of restaurants and cafes.

The archaeological museum was fascinating – it contains one of the world’s largest collections of pre-Columbian pottery. There are more than 50,000 pieces on display. In addition to the pottery are collections of silver and gold jewelry – nose rings and earrings – were the most interesting. Men wore the jewelry – some of the nose rings covered the lower part of the face. One section of the museum contained the Paracas textiles – one piece has nearly 400 thread-per-inch weaving. Imagine doing that by hand, as they obviously didn’t have any machinery in those day.

In a separate building (the erotica section) were some very interesting pieces. Obviously, no pictures will be displayed!

Back to the port after a fun, interesting and educational day.

(Be sure to check out the photo page)

More about Lima tomorrow.

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About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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