Saturday, June 19, 2010

Travel Log: Friday, June 18, Lima

Lima is a big city. Lima is to Quito as New York is to, let's say, Portland. And as such, there is a lot of everything. The city is physically large, and the streets, large and small, are very congested. Last night, while in a cab to dinner, we sat in the traffic-jammed express road, and in the middle, saw the newly inaugurated express bus, running down an exclusive lane, with passengers shoulder to shoulder. This morning,walking thru a market district near the "Chinatown," we saw whole streets similarly congested with people. Also similar to the jewelry district in LA, or the garment district in NYC, stores withe similar goods are grouped together. On our first taxi ride into town, I remember seeing at least three solid blocks of small offset print shops. Today we passed similar districts, with yarn, cloth and sewing supplies, hardware and others.

The Mundial, or soccer World Cup started on June 11, and we, especially the girls, have been following along, tracking scores and winners and losers. In Lima, as in many other big cities around the world, they have set up a huge screen in public spaces for a "fan fest." This morning, we went to the Plaza de Armas near our hotel to watch as team USA tied Slovenia 2-2. There were proably about 800 people watching, including one lucky municipal worker, whose job this morning apparantly was to polish the lamposts!

Along with people and cars (mostly taxis) Lima also has some beautiful colonial buildings, churches and museums. Yesterday we visited the catacombs at Santo Dominico's church and the Museum of the Inquisition. (Plenty of food for thought in there - regarding fanatacism and tolerance.) This afternoon we went to the Museum of the Nation, which, along with lots of pre-conquest artifacts, included an extensive photo exhibit documenting the years between 1980 and 2000 and the terrorism of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and the government's sometimes excessive response. The exhibit "Yuyanapaq. to remember." is part of the report of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commision.

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