Sunday, July 4, 2010

Travel Log: Saturday, June 19, Lima, Miraflores

After a late breakfast at a little diner tended by a wonderful grandfatherly man who had worked at a Greek restaurant in NY in 1971 and still spoke English, we left the historic center for the modern neighborhood of Miraflores.

Located on a plateau about 300' above the ocean, Miraflores reminds me a lot of Los Angeles. Along the "Malecon" which has a view down to the water, is a linear park, and across the road, modern high-rise condos or apartment buildings. There is even a mall along this strip, complete with a Tony Roma's and a TGI Fridays. There are lots of kids, and young dads and their sons, on skateboards, and although there are neither skate parks to encourage them, nor metal plugs on the bench and curb edges to discourage them, they are, on the whole, respectful and considerate of pedestrians. Bicyclist wearing helmets and dayglow jackets also share the path. In the water below, a couple hundred surfers in wet suits could be seen riding the slow waves.

Off the water, the neighborhood still reminded me of LA. The major streets are lined with modern stores, some US chains (but mostly not), and hi-rise residential. The housing on the side streets is from the 40's not quite Art Deco, but almost. And just as LA has its prehistoric La Brea Tar Pits, Miraflores has Huaca Pucllana, a large complex of adobe-based pyramids built by the Lima culture, dating from around 200-700 AD.

Miraflores (and some of the other modern neighborhoods, I imagine) are worlds away form the rural Peru we glimpsed in the Sacred Valley outside Cuzco, and even form the traditional, poorer neighborhoods of other parts of Lima. Although not that interesting to me, it is good to see, and good for the girls to see the wide diversity of lifestyles and cultures to be found down here.

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