Lima is a sore on the eyes, for the most part. A gray cloud (a mix of ocean fog and trapped pollution) hangs over the city. Author Mario Vargas Llosa once called Lima's sky la panza del burro or the mule's belly. Lima is a desert surrounded by desert hills, and supported only by the Rimac river that passes through it. Francisco Pizarro first called this capital he founded La Ciudad de los Reyes (The City of Kings). Looking at it's environment, I really can't imagine why.
On the east side of the Plaza de Armas itself is executive building, La Casa de Pizarro, where President Alan Garcia watches over his country.We took a rest downtown at a pollo a la brasa chain called Norky's. Peruvians love their chicken with french fries, as Norky's industrial kitchen shows:After lunch, we caught up with Sergio's cousin Yanira and followed her to Callao, another important area of Lima. Originally, it was the city's port and a wealthy area. Some parts of Callao are still nice, but like many port towns, not all of it is safe. Yanira told us that a few years ago, no one went to Callao because the drug-related crime was rampant on the streets.
Just before getting on the bus at 10 pm, Yanira took us to see the movie Avatar for $1.30 each at a pretty nice theatre--a tenth of what most Americans surely paid to see a huge box office hit. To be fair, though, I watched it in Spanish without subtitles.
We'll be back to Lima on Friday, January 9, to pick up my mom and head back to Arequipa. In the meantime, though, I was happy to get out from under the mule's belly and into the fresh mountain air of Huaraz.