|Lima's Plaza de Armas|
This is a noisy city. I woke to the sound of traffic (we're on the fourth floor and behind double glazing) - honking horns seems to be a national past-time here. I did not have the best night's sleep - this time it was Stef waking me as he ran to the bathroom rather than the other way around. He is still hot but not as hot as he was in the middle of the night when I was contemplating a late night medical call out!
For the first time in days I actually felt like something to eat. I was unsteady on my pins and a bit light headed as we made it down to breakfast. The "old era" feeling of the hotel continued here. What yesterday had given the impression of a smart dining room today has a sad, not lived in feeling. For the price we are paying, breakfast was a poor show compared to other hotels. We both ate tentatively, waiting to see what the outcome would be from our stomachs, if any.
Today is meant to be our sightseeing in Lima day before moving on tomorrow. We are both a bit cagey about what we feel like doing and agree to take the morning easy and see how the afternoon pans out. We finally made it out at about 1pm and went down to the main Plaza de Armas - not a patch on Arequipa or Cuzco. The buildings on the way to the Plaza looked as if they had been burned out, but the ground floor was refurbished with a range of different eateries packed with suited lunchtime munchers.
At the Plaza all the buildings were painted orange, except for the Cathedral and the Governors Palace which are stone. We sat for a while in the square, partly to check what there was to do and partly because I was feeling funny again. At the Governor's Palace, we took photos of the guards - not the same as Beefeaters but the same principle. We then headed towards the main shopping street, Lima's equivalent of Oxford Street.
By this time I was again not well. I felt very wobbly on my feet and the floor was starting to move beneath me. About fifteen minutes after we had left the hotel we were back. I phone the doctor who confirmed that I was probably just weak, not having eaten for 4 days. If I am still funny tomorrow I have to call back as it could be an allergy to the antibiotics.
Stef, still with gurgling tummy, went in search of food and we had a picnic in our room. It did the trick and we went in search of a travel agency. We have decided to leave Lima tomorrow as planned to head to the North of Perú. We have both reached the stage of needing to move on, not just from Lima but from Perú too. However, at the agency they confirmed that if we want to go to the jungle (still something we are considering) we would have to go via Lima. Not what we wanted to hear! We went back again to the hotel, the third time today we have been out and back quickly. They must by now think we are nuts as we did not leave the hotel at all yesterday!
We had a quick look around at jungle trips and decided it would be similar to our stay at Yacutinga Lodge in Argentina but with the Perúvian slant of trips to villages where we can buy local handicrafts etc. As neither of us are avid wildlife watchers we agreed that it would not be sufficiently different to Yacutinga to justify the cost and we would rather spend the money going to the Galapagos Islands. We reverted back to plan A and went and bought our flight tickets to Trujillo - neither of us can face the thought of an eight hour overnight bus journey just yet.
|Presidential guards strutting their stuff|
Back in the Plaza there are more police around than earlier in the day. A couple of roads to the Plaza have been cordoned off (possibly explaining the excess of car horns this morning?), there are riot police and a water canon (which they are more than happy for us to photograph) all on standby as if they are waiting for trouble. At the Governors Palace a little parade of six soldiers were doing their stuff and striking the national flag. They are definitely candidates for Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks. An old local chap explained that the Chilean ambassador and diplomats were visiting El Presidente today, hence the extra security.
We ambled on down to the Post Office and through the small museums of stamps over the years and the development of the police - both quite interesting. They were in three separate rooms and as we came out of each room we had to sign a separate visitors book. The local guards on hand were keen to ensure we did and supplied us with pens to do so.
Having been warned in Lonely Planet and by the doctor last night that it is not safe to stray away from the Plaza de Armas at night I was cautious about going too far - I am back in not liking big cities mode. We toured the streets around the Plaza, there is not really a lot here. This whole part of Lima has a run down feel and this is meant to be the historical centre, attraction for tourists.
At a corner cafe we stopped for a drink not wanting to go back to our hotel (again) but it being too early to go for dinner. We narrowed down our options for hotels in Trujillo and tried to book but our preferred choice was not answering the phone - not a good sign.
We went for an early dinner to Pardo's Chicken, only realising later than the person in the chicken costume we had passed on the way there was promoting the place. It was cheap and cheerful with a simple menu - mainly chicken and chips. Within thirty minutes we had walked in, ordered, eaten, paid and left - just what we wanted. By 9pm we were back in our room and tucked up in bed watching the end of Dr Strangelove on the Retro channel - I wonder what Perúvians make of it!