Having been in Lima (or should I say, Miraflores) for 5 days now, I had yet to go to the historic centre, so today was the day. I walked over to Kennedy Park, which is the central park of Miraflores, home to a multitude of cats and from where most buses depart. I was lucky enough to catch one almost immediately. This was one of the more official metropolitan buses rather than the smaller buses, owned by who knows whom, which ply backwards and forwards across the city at great speed.
It was quite a long way and took nearly an hour to arrive at a stop that I considered close enough to walk.
My first destination was the Priory of Santa Domingo, which houses the tomb of Saint Rosa, as well as a crypt containing the bones of many friars. I somehow managed to miss this latter feature, but I did visit the old Library, the cloisters and ascended the Bell Tower where there was a spectacular view over Lima, which is, generally speaking, not a pretty city.
Whilst at the top of the Bell Tower, I could hear drums coming from the direction of Plaza de Armas, so, when I had seen all I thought there was to see at the Priory, I walked over to investigate. It transpired that there was some sort of competition taking place with various indigenous dancers and musicians taking part.
I stood watching for quite some time and marvelled at the number of tourists who stood right in the path of the procession in their desperate need to get photos of the artists and themselves in front of them. Needless to say, I did not join them but satisfied myself with photographs with various peoples’ heads right in the middle of the picture (and they weren’t indigenous ones either!).
I was extremely hot whilst standing watching so went in search of lunch and a beer. On the way, I encountered an old man from Chiclayo, who somehow managed to adjust his pace so that I had no choice but to walk with him. I still have not lost my suspicious mind and was wary of his motivation so walked with him for a while and then managed to leave, quite politely (I think!) I didn’t like to tell him that I thought Chiclayo was a horrible place and had to be very diplomatic with my answer when he asked what I thought of it. I did glean the information from him though that it was Labour Day and a public holiday in Peru, a fact which had passed me by prior to this meeting. This was apparently why the streets were relatively empty of cars, but full of people.
After walking quite some distance, through a very busy shopping area, I arrived at Plaza San Martin and a restaurant that I deemed in my price range with a suitable ambience. (We are, of course, only referring to a difference of a couple of dollars but I have my standards!) I ate my tamales, followed by goat stew whilst watching the people and cars go by and listening to an Australian girl at the next table telling a couple of Germans about her experience living in Eritrea and visiting the Yemen. She was obviously trying to impress them with her daring.
Feeling sufficiently replete and refreshed, I continued my walk to my next and final destination of the day, which was the Magical Water Park. This opens late in the afternoon and is a park full of fountains of various designs, which are lit up at night. There are a couple that people are allowed to play in and get exceedingly wet but the rest are off limits, as is the grass. The rules are vehemently enforced by whistle blowing, loudspeaker toting security guards.
The whole park is so extreme it is funny and the children, especially, appeared to be having a wonderful time. I stayed until the lights came on, which were quite impressive, and then made my way to the bus stop as I was starting to get cold. Once again, I was in luck, as a bus arrived at the same time as I did, so it was an easy trip back to Kennedy Park and then a short walk ‘home’.