November 29, 2007

Goodbye, Peru. Hello, Bolivia!

After Huaraz, Jared and I were bound for Lima. Jared spent some time in Lima two years ago, but he had nothing but bad things to say about the city--it was dirty and boring. So my expectations for Lima were pretty low, until my new friend Charlotte told me that Lima is full of American fast food. Suddenly I started to look forward to visiting Peru´s bustling capital.

By this point, Jared and I had been traveling for six weeks. Our diet had mainly consisted of various forms of chicken, rice, soup, and french fries, plus scrambled eggs for breakfast. When we arrived in Lima, my only goal was to eat all the American fast food I could. I make no apologies for spending $4 on a caramel frappuccino at Starbucks, more than the cost of most of my dinners. It was damn good. During 36 hours in Lima, I ate at Pizza Hut, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts. No wonder Jared sometimes calls me Homer Simpson. I do have to mention that Jared found a Tony Roma´s and chowed down on quesadillas and ribs, so I am not the only one who was missing American chain restaurants.

We stayed in the seaside neighborhood of Miraflores, arguably Lima´s nicest area. Miraflores, with its manicured parks, department stores, and cinemas, was a little slice of home. We even got to go to the movies for the first time in months. (We saw The Heartbreak Kid in English with Spanish subtitles.) During dinner we watched the South American eliminations for the 2010 World Cup, which is three years away. As we watched Brazil defeat Uruguay, it occurred to me that the entire continent was watching this soccer match. We had a fantastic time in the city, enough to change Jared´s mind about Lima.

We saw Southern Peru in 2006, so Lima was just a rest stop as we traveled south from Huaraz to Bolivia. After a night in Lima we boarded a 14-hour night bus to Arequipa. This time we sprang for first class seats and it was worth every centavo. (Our Thanksgiving dinner was served aboard the bus, and though it wasn´t turkey, it wasn´t bad.) We stopped for the night in Arequipa, where we had visited in 2006. Arequipa was a trip down memory lane for both of us. We couldn´t resist taking tons of photos of local kids feeding pigeons in the main square.

There were still two more buses to go before we got to Bolivia. We spent all day during November 24 on buses, reminding ourselves why we prefer to travel at night. Just before sundown, we walked across the Bolivian border, after visiting immigration on each side. We spent a few days in Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, but we will save that for another post. In the meantime, take a look at our photos of Lima and Arequipa.

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