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Peru Part 5

The final installment of the Peru 2009 Saga!

After returning from Machu Picchu, we had a night and a day free in Cusco before flying back to Lima to complete our Peruvian circle. The first night, I treated Kunlun and Scott to a nice Inca Grill, including lamb, alpaca, guinea pig, and other meats at a restaurant on the Plaza de Armas recommended by the couple we met on the Machu Picchu trip. The food was much better prepared than our Cuy (Guinea Pig) experience in Arequipa, so I actually got to taste the Cuy this time. It was alright, but certainly not something I’m going to replace my normal American meats with. Alpaca, on the other hand, I could integrate into my normal diet.

That evening we met up with Ben back at the Hostel. Ben and Scott ended up going out clubbing with some people Ben met in his trip to Machu Picchu. I was way too tired to join them, but I did sleep very well.

The next day, we mostly went shopping, hitting up an artesan market we had discovered that had good prices earlier. I ended up with a few nice things, mostly made out of the remarkably soft Alpaca wool.

The next day at about 8:00 am, we were on board a Taca airlines flight back from Cusco to Lima. Our hopes for Lima were limited — we had heard there really wasn’t much to do. That was certainly true of where we had stayed previously, near the airport, but this time we hailed a cab to Miraflores, a much nicer neighborhood in Lima, and we were pleasantly surprised. Just off the oceanfront, sitting atop some stunning 100-foot cliffs, lies the most extravagant shopping mall we’d seen in Peru.

The mall boasts a large variety of US-based and native chains. After enjoying some ice cream we ended up watching Transformers 2, which was intense action with a still-hot female star and an even worse story than the first. Meh. I found it difficult at first to not read the subtitles (I guess I’m too used to always reading them from my film festival experiences).

Scott was feeling ill that night, so we kept a low profile. That first day back in Lima, however, ended up being the best weather, so we really should have done a tour then, if we had the chance.

The next day, Scott was feeling better, although not great, so we headed out to see what Lima had to offer. We found some markets where we made a few additional purchases, ate at a very nice Cibiche restaurant. Cibiche is a seafood dish, often Sole, that is “cooked” by citric acid. It is pretty good for a fish-eater like me, even if it is a bit harsh on the stomach (Ben’s later revolted). We also had our last shot at a cheesecake, and it still wasn’t very good, so Scott and I decided that Peru simply doesn’t do cheesecakes very well at all.

That night, we ate at a Pizza Hut (in Miraflores at least, it is a relatively upscale dining establishment with still-decent prices), and generally tooled around a lot.

Today, Scott and I headed to the beach (it is highly inaccessible from the cliff-side mall, but a nearby park offers access), so I could try out the South Pacific surf. The beaches we found were very rocky — or perhaps I should say pebbly — and I found it to be not as pleasant as sand beaches, except that sand tends to get stuck to everything, whereas rocks don’t. Also, the surf was quite harsh, so I never ended up actually swimming, settling instead for large swells that broke near the level of my head and tossed me around a bit. It was still fun.

We headed back, then took a cab to the mall where we hoped to find a tour bus, but there were none leaving in our time frame, so we grabbed lunch (yummy Fajitas at Chili’s) and ended up taking a cab to the Plaza de Armas, the traditional city center of every Peruvian city. From there, we wandered through some parks before heading back to the hostel area for dinner. We ate at a Chinese restaurant for dinner, then picked up our stuff and, eventually, headed for the airport.

Ben and Scott are now checked in and will soon be boarding; Kunlun and I are spending some time on the web before we catch a few Z’s and check in for our own flight.

Overall, its been a good trip; I’ve learned a good deal, had some very good, some mediocre, and some pretty bad food; I lost only a few items, but I’m bringing back more; and I think I got a lot of wonderful pictures, which will be posted before too long.

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