Hola from Miraflores District, Lima, Peru, Monday, 12/16/13

Our ship remained in Lima overnight to carry out a routine "Inclining Test," whatever that may be.  A boon to passengers as it gives us another opportunity to see more city sights.  Our morning weather began gray, as has been the usual case lately.  Not cold, tho, and the day warmed up nicely.  Today's activities were a 180° from yesterday.  We hired a taxi to take us to the upscale Miraflores District of Lima, aka Miami Beach or Santa Monica!  Lots of high rise hotels and condos in this neck of the woods.  Our driver agreed to stay with us and ferry us around to various places of interest.

 Me and Jimmy and our friends and table mates, Sue and Adel, at our first stop near the ocean.  Palm trees and Bougainvillea line the streets.

 Now we're way up on that cliff overlooking the Pacific and peering straight down!

Native dresses mix with fashionistas.

West Peruvian Doves on the grassy grounds.

 Really nice park (and mall) at the top of the cliff.  We ate lunch at the mall.

Next:  Kennedy Park!!  A tourist destination in Miraflores - who would've guessed Kennedy in Lima?.

Kennedy Park is home to a herd of feral cats, obviously sleepy ones!

On to the Indian Market, aisle after aisle of stuff for sale.  We looked and looked, but didn't buy.  Sorry, we're not very good consumers!

Our next stop was La Huaca Pucllana, an historic adobe and clay pyramid (located in Miraflores), of the Lima Culture, a society which developed in the Peruvian Central Coast between the years of 200 AD and 700 AD. We didn't have time to take the tour, but we were staggered by the pyramid reconstruction, which has been ongoing for 30 years, with another 30 years to go!

A pyramid enclosed by the city.  (please enlarge photo)

 Imagine, brick by brick!!

West Peruvian Dove with a nest in the fern at Huaca Pucllana.  They "wear" bright blue eyeglasses!

We had to be back aboard ship by 5 pm as our ship was sailing for San Martin (Pisco) Peru by 6 pm, but, honestly, we were done for the day. We'd been Out and About all day and our senses were overflowing and our feet were crying.

These desserts are our reward for the thousands of steps we put in today.  Thought you might like to see the desserts we enjoyed.  Four different yummy plates for four people (one sugar-free).  Pretty, aren't they?  Delicious, too.  (oink-oink)

While we were eating dinner in the Canaletto dining room (or cannelloni, as I call it), the Golden Princess put out to sea again, heading south to San Martin (Pisco), Peru.  We've been warned, if I may use that word, that Pisco was destroyed by an earthquake a few years ago and is largely not rebuilt, so our ship won't be offering tours or trips to Pisco.  Rather, a shuttle will take us to Paracas if we want to go.  to be con'td.

A walk around the windy Promenade deck after all that food settles the stomach!  Ah, La Luna!  What a beautiful picture, reflected on the water ... it's mesmerizing.  Good nite, all, from Lima, Peru.


Basilica Cathedral of Lima and Museum of Religious Art - Dec 15th

One of the main tourist attractions in Lima, Peru, is The Basilica Cathedral of Lima, a Roman Catholic cathedral located in the Plaza Mayor (or Plaza de Armas) of downtown Lima.  It's one of the most impressive sacred buildings in the city.  Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer "who conquered the Incas" founded the city of Lima in 1535, and laid the cathedral cornerstone the same year.

The layout for this immense structure was dictated by Francisco Pizarro himself, and his basic vision has survived despite extensive rebuilds after devastating earthquakes in 1746 and 1940. The first church on the site was completed in 1625.  Additionally, there is the very good Museum of Religious Art located inside in the rear of the cathedral. Both places are filled to the brim, so don't think that there are just a few points of interest here. This is a must-see stop in Lima.  Inside are many sculptures, paintings, ornaments and tombs within the main nave and 14 side chapels, 12 of which were recently restored.  The art work is breathtaking.

 Gold.  Pizarro would've killed for it....

 One of the 14 side chapels.

 ...each one different, all awe-inspiring.

Our guide spoke English about as well as I speak Spanish (well, hers was better), so we missed much of what she said.  She took us down  into the catacombs ... and that was a creepy experience.  Jimmy and I are sure there's a lot more under the cathedral than what we saw or were told.

 This room under the display glass is about six feet deep and contained children's coffins from loong ago.

 I missed the explanation for this.  Probably just as well....

Pizarro's glass coffin.

I'm going to quote from Wikipedia now - it's fascinating stuff.  "Pizarro's remains were briefly interred in the cathedral courtyard; at some later time his head and body were separated and buried in separate boxes beneath the floor of the cathedral. In 1892, in preparation for the anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the Americas, a body believed to be that of Pizarro was exhumed and put on display in a glass coffin. However, in 1977 men working on the cathedral's foundation discovered a lead box in a sealed niche, which bore the inscription, "Here is the head of Don Francisco Pizarro. Don Francisco Pizarro who discovered Peru and presented it to the crown of Castile." A team of forensic scientists from the United States was invited to examine the two bodies, and they soon determined that the body which had been honored in the glass case for nearly a century had been incorrectly identified. The skull within the lead box not only bore the marks of multiple sword blows, but the features bore a remarkable resemblance to portraits made of the man in life."

So be it and Amen!  Oh, one more picture.

 Across from the Cathedral.  Couldn't resist it!

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Lima or bust! Dec 15th

Docking is always interesting.  This morning we experienced a low cloud blanket like Southern California has in May and June ... stuff that burns off by early afternoon and returns sometime in the night, only to repeat the process the next day.  Morning temp was 64F and the ocean temp is down to 60F.  Jimmy and I watched from our balcony as our ship threaded its way thru a maze of boats and ships, in water choked with jellyfish, to its position at the busy port of Callao.  B.U.S.Y.  Fascinating in a noisy sort of way.  You can see the Princess blue/white balconies in the lower left of the photo below.  Basically on top of container loading/unloading.

From our balcony:  To my left and

to my right.
That monstrous blue thingee on stilts is part of the loading/unloading and not part of our ship.  It moves on a rail and goes beep-beep-beep a lot, like the fork-lifts in Home Depot when they're backing up.  The shuttle buses have arrived to take passengers away from this busy Port of Callao and into Lima (also tour buses). We weren't allowed to walk away from the ship, and you can see why!

I took this pic from the moving bus.  Hard to see exactly, but these places don't have real roofs.  We were told that many people in Peru (obviously not ALL people) don't have proper roofs on their houses for tax reasons:  No roof, no pay property tax.  We saw many variations of the no-roof:  cardboard, corrugated tin, tarps, and just rebar extending above the alleged roof line.  It's a great spot to hang laundry - that we saw, too.  Lima has virtually no rainfall (another SoCal similarity), so I suppose having a solid roof isn't as critical as in other areas, say Hilo, Hawaii!

From the road, you can see the city is densely packed.

The shuttle had an all day drop off/pick up at Plaza San Miguel, which is ... a mall, complete with Starbucks, Chilis, Burger King, and a few other Americano mainstays.  It also had this cute little scene (above).

Jimmy and I, Adel and Sue decided not to do an organized tour -- we wanted to see Lima on our own. Lindsey tagged along, making it six packed like sardines in the taxi, inc the driver.  When we got waylaid by a parade, we hopped out.  Not a problem, we were right near historic Lima where we wanted to be (and glad to be out of that over-crowded taxi!).  This was Sunday and the day families got together to walk, play and participate in religious or other activities in their city.

 Jimmy (and Adel in blue shirt) in front of a stunning church, a work of art.

 Look at the detail.

This flower petal (what do I call it?) large tapestry was on the stones in front of the church.  The church was celebrating it's 370th anniversary.  If I try to tell you more, I'll booger it up, 'cause I couldn't quite get the words.

Mass of people, huh?

This, too, is part of the celebration.  The flower-bedecked Virgin Mary is carried throughout the streets, accompanied by a band, parishioners, tag-a-longs, tourists, priests, and people dressed in sack cloths with ashes rubbed on their faces.  We got caught in this crowd.  Once on the sidelines, we enjoyed the entire thing.

 Great-looking bldg.  What IS that in the window?

 Surrounded by massive parliament bldgs, a bit of a rest was in order.

 I think this colossal statue honors San Martin.

Unusual, even modernistic-looking Christmas tree to the left, with The Cathedral of Lima, where Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was laid to rest, in the background.  More on that in the next post.  We toured inside, but my pictures will be a poor representation of what we really saw.  Maybe tomorrow I'll have time to get to it.

Across from the cathedral.  So many families were Out and About, good to see.

Another gorgeous edifice.

First time I've seen a traffic "director" in the middle of busy streets.  Her gloved hands pointed, and she had a whistle and used it.

Lima is called the "City of Kings."  It has a municipal population of approx 8 million people, featuring a very complex mix of racial and ethnic groups.  We saw some beautiful people.  'Tis too crowded for me and Jimmy, but we appreciate all that we saw, happy we made it to this glorious city in South America.


Just another day in Paradise! December 14th

At sea:  Sat, 14th -- Mostly sunny and a bit warmer today.  The ocean temp is down to 64°.  We walked this morning, watching the dolphins play.  It’s funny to say – all we have to do each day is just enjoy ourselves… no chores to do, no set schedule to follow – it really is wonderful, but where do the hours go, and the days?  They say time flies when you’re having fun – in this case, it certainly is true!

The morning lectures have been helpful, esp regarding currency.  In Nicaragua we had the Cordoba.  Costa Rica was the Col√≥n.  Peru will be the Sol.  Each currency = our dollar varies widely.  Knowing math helps.  Being able to read the coins is essential – if ya don’t have your glasses on, good luck!  Yesterday’s lecture topic was called, “Everything you want to know about Peru.”  Very informative.  What to do, where to go, where NOT to go, safe places, outstanding areas of Lima to see, taxis, how-to’s, all subjects we can appreciate.

A few words about the crew:  Most of the wait staff for all the food areas are young and from developing or underdeveloped countries.  All are bilingual or multilingual.  Many are very personable and all are willing to be of service.  Prob more men than women.  Clean-up crews are also from all over the world.  Everyone, without exception, greets you with a friendly smile and hello.  It’s our understanding that the crew is on six-month contracts, with two months off before joining another cruise ship.

Tomorrow is our first of two days in Lima.  Our ship docks in the port city of Callao and Princess is providing shuttles to Plaza San Miguel just inside Lima proper.

We saw these birds day in and day out circling the ship.  Not sure what they are, but they were graceful. Think they might be a boobie of some kind?  These pics were taken before we crossed into the Southern Hemisphere.

BTW, Jimmy noticed something while he was shaving today.  The water goes DTD (down the drain) in a counter-clockwise motion, as opposed to what we're used to.  Just a little trivia for you.