ON THE ROAD AGAIN: FROM LIMA TO LA PAZ #1

I work as a Tour Leader. I get paid for traveling. They call it the best job in the world and though I prefer to make lists of my favorite things, it certainly is a great job. I didn’t know this job existed until 2 years ago when my friend Pedro, a tour leader as well, contacted me and said “you’d be perfect for the job”. I’m not sure of that, but I do like it a lot ‘cause I can share my knowledge and passion for my people with other people.

I guess writing a blog about one’s job is sort of making it into a reality show. I just hope it doesn’t turn that way. But now that I have a blog I do wanna share more of what I do and practice my writing.

So, trip began in Lima. I showed Chris, my only traveler on this group, the downtown. We visited San Martin square, walked Jiron de la Union towards the Plaza de Armas stopping at La Merced church and the Courret brothers building. First one is one of the first churches of Lima dating from 1535, an example of “overloaded Barroque” style. Second one is one of the few, if not the only one building of Art Nouveau in Lima and its first photographic studio dating from 1865.

Jiron de la Union

The Courret Brothers building

 

Jiron de la Union is lively on a Sunday and families walk by, pushers invite to have a tattoo or buy some grass or cocaine. In fact one of them approached Chris inside of La Merced church and told him to beware of Peruvians (he being one) and after offered him some grass! In the church! And I’m not a catholic but there’s gotta be some respect, right! Unbelievable…

At the Main Square there’s the Cathedral, next to it is what used to be the first hospital of Lima, and the government buildings. We head towards San Francisco monastery where Chris decides to see the beautiful gardens, the Sevillian tiles and the “catacombs” of Lima. I later show him the remains of The Wall of Lima, once a walled city as in Europe, scared of pirates and natives attacking it. On the back San Cristobal hill stands with its cross on top to remind us that we turned catholic. The Rimac neighborhood looks all colorful in summertime and the Rimac river has increased its level thanks to the rains in the highlands. Vultures and seagulls fly around above us.

The Rimac River and bridge from the Desamparados train station

We then go to the old train station of Desamparados, now turned into the Museum of Peruvian Literature. The building is beautiful and gives an idea of how luxurious life in Lima was once. There’s a homage to Mario Vargas Llosa, our new and shiny Peruvian Nobel prize of literature. The library at the museum is named after him.

Desamparados train station. Mario Vargas Llosa library.

I love downtowns of Latin cities. I remember I used to go to Mexico City’s Zocalo all the time just to take pictures, be curious and get into buildings, cantinas, find out their history. I guess I was training to be a tour leader then. And downtowm Lima is the same. There are more than 2000 historical building here, imagine all the history and stories there! And after, we walk back to one of the new Metropolitano bus stations, the fastest public transport way to get back to Miraflores, where we have dinner at La Lucha, the new sandwich place (“sangucheria”) on the park. They have Peruvian sandwichs and chips for a good price. We have a early call tomorrow to go to Puerto Maldonado so there’s no time for a beer. I’m sure at the jungle there will be.

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