Last Day in Lima

Iglesia Santa Maria ReinaOn our last day with Ana Maria and her family, we had a full day planned, but fortunately our plans didn’t begin until 11 am, which meant we finally got to sleep in a bit. I woke up around 7:30 am, but managed to go back to sleep. I finally got up around 9:15 am.

I went downstairs to see if there was anything going on, and Ana Maria was in the kitchen hanging out with her nephew Manolo – actually one of her youngest cousins, but he is young enough to be her son. He had just graduated from university, with a degree in information systems, in the northern part of Peru, and he was in Lima to see his girlfriend, who had been unable to travel to the graduation. He had just arrived via bus and was planning to stay at the house for a couple of nights.

Ana Maria gave me some fruit and tea for breakfast, and we looked at Manolo’s graduation photos. Manolo had brought a pastry, of which I had a bit. It was yummy but for me a bit too sweet for breakfast.

As I sat in the kitchen I suddenly heard a bunch of activity in the front room, and Ana Maria went to attend to it. It was Deborah and her study group. Apparently they had studied almost all night (with a few hours of sleep in between) at her friend’s house, and they had come over to Deborah’s house for a change of scene. They set up camp in the dining room and Ana Maria got them some water to make tea and/or coffee.

Not long after this, Ana Maria’s brother – who is in town from the south of Peru to man the booth at the tourism fair – stopped by for a quick visit. He showed us a lovely magazine that had a feature story about the department (remember, these are what Peru calls their states) he works for, San Martin. I took this opportunity to vanish to take a shower.

Unfortunately, the family had forgotten to turn on the hot water heater the night before, so all the showers were cold.

Dave and I went with Ana Maria at 11:30 am to attend mass at her church, Santa Maria. The sanctuary was simple but nice, with a very cool stylized tabernacle. The mass was very contemporary, with Peruvian folk music. The homily was very social justice oriented, and Ana Maria explained that this is one of the reasons she chooses to attend this church rather than the one across the street from her house.

We were home around 12:30 pm, but only briefly. We picked up Mariana and Ricky (unfortunately Deborah continued to study for her final) and headed to lunch. Dave and I had decided that as a “thank you” for welcoming us into their family, we would take them all out to ceviche for lunch.

Restaurante Segundo MuelleAna Maria drove us all to Miraflores, where she knew of a restaurant named Segundo Muelle overlooking the ocean, owned by the father of one of the children at her preschool. He actually stopped by while we were eating – he was very friendly.

The restaurant was an excellent choice. The view was lovely, and the meal was delicious. We had seafood appetizers (recommended by Ana Maria – we still had no clue what we ordered half the time), drinks, ceviche (which was fantastic), dessert, and coffee… for five people for approximately $75 U.S. I imagine this was a relatively extravagant meal by Peruvian standards, but for us, it was the least we could do for all the hospitality Ana Maria and her kids had shown us while we were in Lima.

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Afterwards, we walked a bit along the parks overlooking the beach. Most remarkable was the Lovers’ Park, which features a huge statue of a couple in an embrace. Apparently it’s a popular spot for newlyweds to come and have photos taken, and sure enough there were at least two couples dressed as bride and groom taking photos. Ana Maria offered to take photos of one of the couples as we passed by. Ricky and Mariana both swore that if their bride or groom wanted to take photos at this park, that would be the end of the relationship. Dave and I agreed.

Next we went to the Larcomar, which was a mall also overlooking the ocean. When we came out of the parking garage, I was horrified to find that the main restaurant on that end of the mall was… Hooters! Good heavens, of all things to find in Peru. Ricky later told us that there had been a Hard Rock Cafe in the mall, but it went out of business. How in the world does Hooters survive but not the Hard Rock?!?

We did a bit of shopping, spending quite a bit of time in a music store trying to decide which CD set of Peruvian folk music to purchase. I think the store employees were a little disappointed in our choice, considering that it was more pan-Latin American than distinctly Peruvian, but the choice they were trying to push had more flute (quena) than charango. Unfortunately they didn’t have CDs of any of the Argentine bands I was looking for, but alas.

US Embassy 1We browsed in various other stores but didn’t buy anything else at Larcomar. We headed out, and took a side trip to see the U.S. Embassy, because I’m always curious to see what U.S. embassies look like in other countries. It looked much like a giant cruise ship beached in the middle of a neighborhood.

That was on our way back to the Jockey Mall, where the tourism fair was actually open and quite popular. We went first to the San Martin booth where we found Ana Maria’s brother. He was busy with all kinds of visitors to the booth, but he took the time to greet us and to give me a copy of the magazine he’d given his sister that morning. Then Dave and I went with Ricky to look at some of the other booths. In the Lima booth was a guy doing some kind of strange ritual that involved waving swords around people’s heads and then blowing some kind of oil on them. Even Ricky thought it was inexplicable, and could only guess that it was some kind of fertility ritual.

Tourism Fair at Jockey MallThe place was very crowded, but we made a valiant effort to visit all of the booths. At some point Mariana also joined us, and it was quite a challenge to keep a group of four people together. I believe it was in the Puno booth that some older lady shoved Mariana out of the way, and she was quite offended. We were all about ready to leave after that. We went back to locate Ana Maria, who had been watching a musical group in a large open area. We watched it for a few minutes and then headed for the exit.

It was after 6 pm at this point, but Dave and I still had a few things that we wanted to buy. We weren’t quite sure where to buy them. We went home for a few minutes, and then Dave, Ricky, and I walked a couple of blocks down the street to where there was a pretty good shopping area. We went to the department store Ripley, but didn’t find what we were looking for. Deborah (who was still studying with her friends in the dining room) asked us to check to see if Ripley had a certain pair of boots she was interested in buying. Ricky asked about half a dozen different store employees, and got a different answer every time. Finally we ended up across the way at the store “Ripley Joven”, which also didn’t have the boots.

On the other side of Ripley was the other major department store, Saga Falabella, which we also browsed in without finding what we wanted. Finally we gave up on the shopping.

Ricky had wanted to go to Starbucks, and Ana Maria wanted to come pick us up (even though we were about three blocks away), so we went to Starbucks to wait for her. While we were there, we read the Lima newspaper, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t read any papers the entire time we were in Peru. Ana Maria met up with us and we hung out in Starbucks for a short while, drinking beverages and relaxing for a few minutes. We tried to figure out what to do next. Ana Maria had tried to get in touch with Marisa, but it seemed likely that we wouldn’t see her again before we left. We felt like we should eat some kind of dinner, but we didn’t have much desire to go out.

With the clock approaching 8 pm, we went home. Ana Maria went to visit her mother (the obligatory Peruvian Sunday visit, I believe), and then came back after an hour to pick us up. We went to a bakery called La Baguette, picked out some empanadas for dinner, and took them home to eat.

A Sunday evening ritual at Ana Maria’s house is to watch a show called “El Francotirador” (which means “The Sniper”). It’s a political commentary show in which the host makes all kinds of sarcastic comments about the president and other well-known politicians. It reminded us so much of “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show” that afterwards we had to show Ricky a few online clips of those shows. I was highly entertained by the show, even knowing little about Peruvian politics. It was hard for Dave to follow, but every so often Ricky or I would clue Dave in to the joke.

I took a look at our flight schedule, and realized that our flight was to leave at 12:30 pm, not mid-afternoon as I had expected. This of course meant we needed to leave the house a couple of hours earlier than I had thought. We made plans for Ana Maria to wake us up in the morning, and she had Ricky call the taxi company to pick us up at a certain hour in the morning.

Ana Maria wanted to see some of our photos, but it was getting quite late (and of course we have too many photos) so we only got through about half of them before she had to get off to bed. After we showed a few clips of Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart to Ricky, he shared a few amusing Latin American ads from a website called YouTube. It probably could have gone on all night, but we needed to get to bed in preparation for a long day of travel tomorrow. We finally got in bed around midnight.

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