The eighth day of my trip to Peru had my mom and me leaving the Andes Mountains and heading back to the capital city of Lima.
We began our day by enjoying the breakfast buffet at our hotel before checking out. We had a couple of hours before our ride to the airport would arrive so the hotel put our stuff into storage and we went out to talk around Cuzco one last time.
There was a specific store I wanted to go back to so that I could by my husband a mug I had seen our first night in Cuzco but because of the festival of the sun I hadn’t been able to purchase during our second day in Cuzco. As my mom and I did one last stroll around the main square of Cuzco I was sad because time goes so fast and our vacation was nearing an end.
My mom also had something to take care of in Cuzco before we left. On our first night in Cuzco she had purchased a sweater for each of my nieces but after thinking about it she realized the sweaters were probably too small. Unfortunately, the shop where she had originally bought them wasn’t open when we went by. She did, however, find another shop owner who was willing to do a trade with her. Both of use were relieved that we were able to take care of the two things we wanted to take care of so we went back to the hotel to wait for our ride.
From the time got to the airport in LA I had worries that something about our official tour would get messed up. Despite a few things that we didn’t love there were no real issues. But that didn’t mean I still didn’t worry until the very last minute. My mom and I were told that we would be picked up at 11:00. I tried to be laid back and play around on my phone but when 11:00 became 11:15 and then 11:20 I began to get uptight and so did my mom. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 1:00. I knew once we got to the airport we wouldn’t need much time but we had to get there first. I was about ready to say fuck it and go out on the street to get a cab when our ride arrived.
Once we were in the cab I enjoyed the ride to the airport because I could relax.
That day the World Cup elimination rounds were heating up as Brazil played Chile. There were signs of different cafes that were showing the game.
In fact when we got through security we found that there were people gathered around the TV’s to watch the game.
Although I’m not the biggest soccer fan I joined everybody. I may never get a chance to be in a country other than the United States during the World Cup ever again. Since Peru borders both Brazil and Chile I was curious who the locals were rooting for.
As I watched the game my mom did some shopping. She went into a sweater shop to just look and ended up buying an expensive Baby Alpaca sweater. It really was a beautiful sweater and I was actually very proud of my mom for spending so much money on herself.
The game was nearing an end but we didn’t get to see it because our flight to Lima was boarding.
The flight to Lima was short and sweet but once we got our bags I started to feel a little overwhelmed again.
I was overwhelmed because we were going into a large city. Doing the Inca Trail and being in the middle of nowhere was my mom’s thing but getting to spend some time in Lima was my thing. I felt a huge responsibility to make sure things went well and to make sure we didn’t get ourselves pickpocketed or mugged.
We got our cab and headed towards our hotel. Lima is not a pretty city. It’s very polluted and it gets virtually no sunshine in June because it’s winter. Those two things combined with the crazy traffic, our crazy taxi driver and some of the run down looking buildings had both me and my mom in a state of culture shock after being on the Inca Trail.
Our hotel room in Lima was very nice. It had a great view of the Peruvian Supreme Court building as well as a very cool looking building that had very European flair to it.
But our hotel was on a very busy street and all of the noise kind of made us feel like we were in New York City.
I studied my Peru book and the maps for a few minutes trying to get a sense of where were in relation to the different things I wanted to see in Lima. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get a proper sense of direction. My mom suggested we ask the front desk. I at first refused, I am a man after all, but I did agree after a moment. It turns out I was completely turned around. What felt like south to me was really north and vice versa. This isn’t’ surprising since I wasn’t familiar with any landmarks and the fact that I had never been in the Southern hemisphere before. I wonder if other people have experienced this upon going south of the equator for the first time.
Once we were out on the street walking I found my urban groove. My mom, however, was very overwhelmed. All of the noise and all of the people were a lot for her. I also think it was a big change for my mom to be a minority. I got to walk around speaking my refried Spanish and looking like a light skinned Mexican (which I am) but my mom was clearly out of place with her white skin and blonde hair.
There have been many times in my life where being Half White and Half Mexican has left me feeling like I don’t belong to either group. I do realize there are huge advantages though. Usually people see what they want to see. In United States most people see me as white but in Peru people saw the Latin part of me and that allowed me to blend. My sister mentioned a similar experience when she and my brother-in-law went to Mexico City in 1998.
We went by the Art Museum.
We were actually going to go in but it was about to close but we did see an intriguing display inside the lobby.
As we continued to wonder south of our hotel we found big park that I wanted to check out but there was some kind on concert going on so we didn’t go in.
I was amused by the traffic cop stands in the middle of certain intersections. I wasn’t so much amused that these stands existed, they were needed, I was amused that they were sponsored by Inca Kola.
By that point in the trip I was totally obsessed with Inca Kola and couldn’t get enough.
We next found ourselves at the national stadium of Peru. This was a fun find.
There was also another park next to the stadium but again there was some kind of event going on so you had to pay to go in.
We thought about it for a minute but since it was starting to get dark and we had wondered pretty far away from our hotel we thought it would be best to head back towards our hotel before it got to dark and we got ourselves in a bad situation.
When we got back to the hotel we took a short break before heading out again. There was a large promenade are near our hotel and it was well lit so we felt comfortable checking it out despite the fact that was dark. I found this part of Lima to be very European.
Unfortunately, when we got to the end of the promenade we found there was no proper way to cross the street. We had a choice, either go all the way back or jay walk. We decided to jay walk.
Our next stop was Plaza St. Martin. This plaza was built to honor the hundredth anniversary of Peru’s independence from Spain. I absolutely loved this square because it really felt like we were somewhere in Europe.We also found that we were there for an LGBT rights concert. What amazing luck for me to miss LA Pride back in the United States only to stumble across a pride celebration in Peru.
My mom and I had dinner in a restaurant in the square and then headed back towards our hotel.
There was a mall next to our hotel. There were so many chains from the United States that it was kind of amusing.
We found ourselves inside a big department store. I always like to do some clothes shopping while on vacation; so that when I wear those specific clothes I’ll be reminded of my travels. Since we were already at the store I decided to get my clothes shopping out of the way so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it the next day. My poor mom was so tired that I think she was about to fall over while I tried the clothes on. I really appreciated her being patient with me so I could shop (it was kind of payback for all the times I’ve waited on her while she’s tried on clothes)I was really happy with the jeans and shirt that I bought.
After my shopping we went back to the room and settled in. It had been another busy day and we had one more full day left of our vacation and it was time to set some sleep so we could enjoy it.
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