Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Peru adventure begins!

I'm here! I arrived in Peru at 12:30 this morning. My tour manager Gustavo was waiting at the airport and whisked me back to my hostel--it was a great relief to know that he would navigate for me after my 15 hours of travel.

I don't start work until next Tuesday, so I have time to be a tourist. I took a page out of my cousin Leslie's book, almost literally: I dismantled my Peru tour guide, ripping out the sections on Lima and Cusco, where I'll go this week. When Leslie came to visit me in Belgium thirty years ago, she had a copy of Let's Go Europe in portions. I think she left them behind as she traveled through the countries. While this was hard for my librarian self to do today, I knew that a) I don't want to carry the whole honking book around and b) I have an extra copy at home.

I'm staying at HQ Villa Hostel for a couple of nights. I'm beyond the age where sharing a room in a hostel is fun (actually, I never liked it), so I've got my own room and bathroom. It's tiny but clean and the people here are friendly and helpful. I sat in the courtyard for a while this morning:

In the morning I went to the South American Explorer's Clubhouse. I joined this nonprofit organization before leaving home and already I'm glad I did. They have tons of information about Lima and traveling in Peru, weekly events, free wifi and a place to store my big suitcase while I go to Cusco. It's not far from where I'll stay when I come back from Cusco, so I may use it as an extra resource and place to hang out. There is also a clubhouse in Cusco.

I spent time walking around in Miraflores, the district of Lima where I'm staying. I went to the Parque del Amor, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This park is dedicated to lovers and features this sculpture:
They have kissing contests here. I think I saw some of the contestants--it's definitely a spot for couples (and foreign tourists). The park forms an ampitheater with the sculpture in the middle. I loved the sweep of the steps. Notice the mosaic wall with love quotes:
Here's more of the wall:
And even more:
Tomorrow morning I fly to Cusco. More on that when I get there, I expect. I'm staying at a hostel run by Dominican nuns, Hostal San Juan Masias. I expect it will be fairly quiet, unless these are particularly rowdy nuns.

1 comment:

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