Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 22, 2015

Miraflores near Lima – Wow! What a day. Came back last night with 123 photos. So much happened that I’ll probably have to do this in installments. With lots of pictures!

We set out for Miraflores, a trendy and hip district not too far from our humble lodgings and easily accessible by metro. Waiting for the bus, I’m constantly seeing people hauling things from one place to another. What they’re carrying and how they’re carrying it is always a surprise. 

Getting to Miraflores was a snap. From there we decided to head toward the coast and check out some of the lovely and famous parks Miraflores is known for. The distinctive nature of this district was immediately apparent in the people we were passing on the street. Miraflores is very cosmopolitan with lots of extranjeros like me visiting and staying in the area. The shops are upscale and expensive. The streets everywhere in Lima have been exceptionally clean, but in Miraflores they’re even cleaner, more recently maintained and much more modern.

Our first park was an eye opener. Right away we began seeing cats. Lots of cats. Everywhere. The story is that this park was once overrun by mice. In desperation the people of the community brought in cats to keep the mouse population down. The cats flourished, and the mice were accordingly dispatched. In gratitude to the cats the city now keeps the park as a cat sanctuary and feeds them daily. (I’m not making this up). They’re all quite friendly, though they flagrantly disregard the signs posted to protect the lawn and the flowers.

Amidst the cats was this colorful statue of un toro. That fellow in back?
He’s cleaning the butt. Really, Pablo and I have seen tons of city employees whose job it is to keep the city clean. And they do a good job.

Plus we saw more cats. And this dog, carefully leashed, but ready for action in case anyone wanted to let him loose.
Doubtless he came from the hostel immediately across the street from the park.

Also across the street was La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora deMilagro.
Beautiful inside as well as out, with a photogenic stairway to the balcony.

Walking further down the street, Pablo and I saw the sign we’ve been looking for ever since we arrived in Peru.
It wasn’t a hot day, but any day is a good day for ice cream. Pablo got lucuma, the same flavor as that torte I described a few days ago. I got a really nice dark chocolate. They were delicious and helped sustain us through what turned out to be a long walk before we came to more sustenance.

Casinos can be found the world over and Peru is no exception. Here I am, finishing my ice cream in front one named “Mardigras”. Peru being a catholic country traditionally there are plenty of carnival traditions. I’m not certain about the casino connection.

It wasn’t long before we made the coast. It was a great view from where we were, atop the cliffs, but we had a jones to make it down to the shoreline itself, a somewhat lengthy and complicated prospect.

A busy highway runs between the bottom of the cliff and the sea. And then there’s getting down the cliff itself.

Our path took us by some lovely bright colors which contrasted nicely with the general atmosphere of grey.

We found banana vendors, something you don’t see back in Sarona, on the path, along with other vendors and exercise stations, as well as an outfit providing ultra-light rides for those with the plato to burn. Pablo and I were traveling light, money-wise, so shook off the plane ride and continued our trek for El Parque del Amor where, allegedly, our path to the beach lay.
Aside from sporting a very romantic (and huge) sculpture, this famous park has a wall filled with mosaics and poetic dichos,
 “Love is a butterfly that wanders at night.”
“You are atop the infinite sea.”
 And then, thankfully, another much sought after sign.
Bathrooms in Peru, like in much of the world outside the United States are frequently “Pay Potties.” I remember a time when you could find pay toilets in the United a tradition I think we’re well rid of. These toilets were “no charge.” A welcome surprise.

We overshot our road to the shore and ended up at the lighthouse, no longer working.

So we turned around and headed back. After asking directions several times we finally managed to make our way down to the beach. I got a chance to get my feet wet in the South Pacific. And we watched the surfers do their stuff. Surf lessons were nearly as expensive as the ultra-light.

Pablo and I were content to watch. Hunger began to catch up with us though, and the way up looked more intimidating than the way down. There was nothing to do but tighten our belts and head back up.

Eventually we made it back up and over towards Kennedy Park, stopping for a quick bite in one of the many, many eateries along the streets circumscribing the park. Kennedy Park is, unsurprisingly, named after the iconic President and located near the park we first encountered and filled with…

Yep. More cats. Really the pictures don’t do justice to the sheer density of the felines. I’m familiar with the phrase “herding cats,” but Peru is the first country I know of to do so successfully.

Across from Kennedy Park we found a café where we could buzz up and get some tiramisu, the national dish of me. Said café was also the home of barista, Sara Hughes.
Surely you’ve heard of her? She apparently had the day off so we weren’t able to get photos with her.

That pretty much wrapped up the Miraflores part of our trip. Next it's off to downtown Lima where, so Scott has told me, there's a really spectacular Light and Water show.

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