It’s my first morning in Lima today. I am so excited to wakeup to the fresh salty smells of Lima air. I got up pretty early although I slept late last night. Peru is only an hour ahead of Toronto, so there was no jet lag at all. It’s a nice feeling – strange but not unfamiliar. Get up early out of regular habit, realize that you own your day, go back to sleep, wake up late etc. Then have breakfast, linger around in pajamas etc. No deadlines, nobody to report to; “I like!” as Borat would have said.
A Bolivian girl, who had large almond eyes and wore eyeliner that looked like a kajal, told me how to go to Pachacamac, the old ruins. However, another American tourist who went there the same day advised me not to go there and waste a day, instead she told me to go to the beach front, and to a site called Huaca Pucllana (वाका पुक्लाना ). Since I was unsure if I’d be in Lima for over a day, I decided not to go too far and see local sights instead.
Later this morning, I walked around the posh Miraflores district to reach Huaca Pucllana. I was greeted by a gigantic pyramidal structure. For an entrance fees of S/. 7, an English language tour guide comes free. I had to wait for barely 5 minutes and soon a group of English-wanting tourists arrived.
These Pyramids were built by the Lima tribe, who were surrounded by the Waris (वारी) in north and Nascas (नास्का) to the south. They had a unique construction style. After every 15 years, they closed the existing chambers of the pyramid and built a new structure on the top of that. 3 rituals were required before the chambers were closed – a human sacrifice, a pottery offering and finally, some food. In honor of the Sea God, a young woman, age 12-25, slim, short and beautiful, was sacrificed. These girls were picked from their childhood, or as they grew up, they offered themselves to the Gods. The Lima society was matricidal, i.e. it was led by women. The style of construction is called ‘book case’ style, because it resembles the manner in which books are arranged in a shelf. This construction stood firm while the whole Lima city was destroyed by earthquakes. Wonderful!
It was close to noon and I was now getting hungry. I looked up my guidebook and found a hotel that served vegetarian food, called ‘Govinda’. Surprised? Even I was surprised when I heard that the Hare Krishna (ISKON) movement had a bunch of followers in Peru, and South America in general. This place I went had statues and pictures of Lord Krishna, bhajans playing softly and even a modest temple on the upper floor. I was very intrigued. The caretaker told me that there was a small gathering that night and I should come. All I could talk to him was “Soy de India” (I am from India) and he started talking in Spanish for next 2 minutes with an obvious delight!
After I was full, I started walking westward towards the sea front. I walked on the promenade that runs along the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was a nice view of the largest Ocean. I have so far seen Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Mediterranean Sea and now the Pacific Ocean (haha!). I wanted to linger around to watch sunset in the Pacific but I decided against it because: there was nothing to do in that area, and the air was very polluted and foggy (as you can see in the pictures). Central Lima is slightly visible from here.
I shopped for some supplies for the night, walked till my legs broke off and then returned to my hostel some time back. I want to have a nice cold shower now and think about what to do later tonight. I think the best place to think stink-free is while standing under the shower faucet while cold water pours all over you 😉