Dec 2, 2005

Lovely Lima Loses Loathsome Label

Lima at night
"Ugly." "Noisy." "Unbearably Huge." "Dangerous." "Foul smelling."

And these were some of the nicer things Tyler and I heard about Lima while working our way through Peru. Our guidebook diplomatically trashed the capital city, the largest city of Peru (clocking in at 7.7Million), but what really deflated our hopes are when all the books complaints were magnified by a couple Peruvians we met in Trujillo. Admittedly, they might have been a bit biased as they wanted us to stay there for longer, but we weren't exactly looking forward to visiting the capital. We decided to go for a few reasons. It is the capital city, over a quarter of Peruvians think its nice enough to live there, and finally geography. In order to get to Cusco, and Machu Pichu, we'd either need a 36 hour bus ride or we'd need to break it up somehow. Lima itself was a convienient overnight bus away so we threw caution to the wind and rolled into town. Once there we were forced to endure a colonial city (which we've seen before) but laid out on a massively impressive well maintained scale (which we haven't).

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And everywhere we looked there were these spiffy enclosed balconies.

I love the balconies here!

Even our hostel had one. But even more importantly our hostel was an old converted mansion complete with artwork, statues and free roaming turtles!

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And finally, after seeing countless Plazas dedicated to Simon Bolivar for the first time we came across a square that paid homage to General San Martin.

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While Simon Bolivar was freeing northern South America from the Spanish, interspersing his proud victories and massive defeats with vast huge parties and parades dedicated to himself San Martin calmly and methodically freed the Argentina, Chile, and Peru. One city after another, one country after another, never losing ground he gained. He wasn´t a fan of the spotlight so didn´t duplicate the media blitz that Bolivar had raging up north. He was just a better general; he freed Peru by doing the impossible feat of bringing an entire army over the Andes, an act often compared to Hannibal crossing the Alps

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But the Andes are higher and colder than the Alps!

In 1822 he met with Bolivar in Ecuador and they discussed in secret how to get the last vestige of the Spanish out. Although the meeting was secret, historians believe that Bolivar generally refused to work together because San Martin had quietly earned a reputation already that rivaled his own. We don't know exactly what was said at that meeting but shortly therafter San Martin gave up the leadership of Peru and went to Europe for voluntary exile. Bolivar went on to found a country named after him (which we'll visit in a couple weeks!) and went on to be remembered as the most important liberator. I guess it's always sucked the be the polite guy.

By the time Tyler and I made it to the huge, free, Botanical gardens in downtown Lima we decided that nobody gave us good advice about this place. This hyper, bustling, metropolis is awesome!

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2 comments:

  1. hi, my name is Carla and I am moving to Central America and South America in February and have started an international organiation in humanitarian and environmental projecs based in Africa, Latin America and Asia. I have a blog here too but have been so busy that I annot keep up these days with blogs now i have this organization to contend with. I relly like your blog and fond it thru Ball of dirt: http://www.ballofdirt.com/members/26023.html

    u can email me at gmail caral.shaw@gmail.com if u want to reply ;)xxx

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  2. and im very tired, sorry for mistype!

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