Snapshots of a tourist-free day in Lima

This morning I wandered round a market on Calle Petit Thouars in Miraflores, just around the corner from my hostel, Pariwana. I was on my way back from the post office where I had sent postcards to some of you lucky people.

I love Peruvian fabrics, Peruvian fabric textiles and I gazed longingly at the piles of brightly coloured cotton table cloths that I’d love to buy but do not want to carry across the continent.

The stall owners were women and all said “ola linda” or “pase linda” to me. ‘Linda’ means pretty and I (along with all foreign women) generally hear it from men on the street. Believe it or not, I don’t like receiving comments on my appearance from strangers – although I have learned to block it out and not get annoyed; but hearing that word from women made me wonder if it’s just a friendly way of addressing someone in Peru. 

Still in Miraflores, for lunch I went to a very unassuming restaurant on Calle Schell, a few blocks east of Parque Kennedy. It was full of locals- they looked like workers on their lunch break, and I had the menu del día. For 12 soles (about £3-4) you get a starter, main, pudding and a soft drink:

restaurante tropicana Miraflores

(Do not expect the staff in these joints to speak English). I had ceviche, a wonderfully spicy, tangy dish with chunks of marinated meaty fish. I encourage you to try it! There is an excellent ceviche restaurant called Andina in Shoreditch, London.

Anyway back to Lima- the service was quick and the food was excellent value, and I walked back to my hostel under the burning sun feeling like the day had been well spent so far. In the afternoon I took the Metropolitano, Lima’s fast, modern bus service and was the only foreigner on board. There are never any tourists on local buses, where ever I go. Perhaps it is easier to get in a taxi, but as I always try to pay less and do as the locals, I like to take the challenge of working out buses. The Metropolitano is easy (though buses always are when you know). You buy a card for 5 soles and you top it up with cash. A single costs 2.50 soles, whereas taxis in Lima are generally at least 10.

I took the bus southbound, to the end of the line. Miraflores is a very modern, clean district, with department stores and American fast food chains, very unlike provincial Peru. I was curious to see if all of Lima felt like a European metropolis so went to see. As we headed further out of the city, with the exception of bohemian district Barranco, everything started to look a little more shabby. There were piles of rubbish at the side of the road and when we all got off the bus at Terminus Matellini, I was the only foreigner that I could see.

As I walked down the street I noticed that there were lots of motor taxis:

motor taxi

Which you don’t see at all in Miraflores, and many more collectivos:

street vendor Peru Lima
A street trader walks in front of the collectivo as I take the photo

As the sun started to go down I decided that this was as close as I should get to the shanty town on the hill:

Lima suburbs

And then I headed back. Miraflores is the place to stay in Lima and it is lovely to walk around. It is close to the sea, there are lots of parks, and more restaurants and shops than anyone could ever need.

There are security guards on most street corners and it feels very safe. It would be a lovely place to live, however it is just one part of a sprawling city, and if you go to Miraflores I suggest that you see another part of Lima too.

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