Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 1 in Lima!

Our first order of business in Lima, a city known for its cuisine, was to hit up a polla a la brasa restaurant. We headed to Roky's and it was amazing. We had a rotisserie chicken, papas fritas, ensalada, and torta de chocolate. All of that food only cost 20 soles, or about $7 for both of our meals. In Peru, lunch is typically the biggest meal, so instead of ordering food a la carte, you order a prix fixe menu. It's actually much cheaper and it is a huge portion of food.

Roky's was a very confusing restaurant. In the front it almost looked like it was going to be fast food, but at the back there was a fancier (not to be confused with fancy) seating area. It was filled with Peruvians, and no tourists, which is always a good sign. But even in this back area, it was weird because there was also a stage for a small band (that wasn't playing) and an upstairs area that we figured is for receptions after seeing a wedding cake! Very strange. We later found out that Roky's is not unique to Lima, and is actually a well-known fast food establishment all over Peru.

After Roky's, Ali and I walked to Miraflores, which is another district in Lima. Miraflores had a very different feel than Barranco - it's more of a big city with taller buildings. It also had more shopping, so Ali bought a couple of dresses and a scarf. When Ali went to buy the items with a credit card, they said she needed ID, so we went across the street to a hotel to download her passport on her phone. Then, as soon as we got back to the hostel, I found a photocopy of her passport in her purse. It was with her the whole time!

My favorite part of Miraflores was the mirador, or lookout, over the ocean. Not only could you see the waves coming in against the green cliffs, but there were also para gliders sailing through the sky. It was beautiful.

Before leaving the area, Ali and I stopped for coffee and a chicken empanada at Cafe de la Paz (Peace Cafe). While Ali made plans for the night here, I booked our next two hostels in Pisco and Huacachina.

Once back at the hostel, we made friends with the other visitors who all seemed to have travel plans that were very similar to ours. It was reassuring that other people our age were also traveling for 3-6 months.

After, we met up with Ali's friend Sebastian from her study abroad program in Argentina. He is actually from Lima. He introduced us to his friends here, who were all super nice. We all went out to an extremely loud bar where we could barely hear each other.

There has been a lot of confusion around bathrooms since arriving in Peru. The toilet paper is located outside of the stalls and the toilets are not to be sat on because they are too low and have no seat and you will fall in. But the most hilarious mistake so far happened to me at the bar. How was I supposed to know the women's room was marked with "M"... That doesn't make sense! "M" is for men! While the sign on the door didn't clue me in, the sight of a urinal did. Whoops.

After the bar, we headed to Sebastian's friends' house.

My expectations for apartments in Peru were no where near the reality of the apartment we went to. Their apartment reminded me of Miami. A security guard opened the door and we were led into an elevator that went directly to their 6 room apartment that had a wraparound balcony overlooking the ocean. Two people lived there, but they had 3 bedrooms! After a few hours, I made use of one of the bedrooms. I was exhausted, and my head was spinning from all of the Spanish, so I took a nap in the guest room until Ali was ready to taxi back. Also, let's be real. I usually struggle to stay up past midnight, so the fact that I made it to 3 a.m. was a time zone miracle. It was great that they had a guest room, because it wouldn't have been safe for me to taxi alone that late at night.

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