Flight over Lima

A TACA plane brings me from Guatemala City via Salvador (ahh the giant waves of the Pacific below!) to Lima, Peru.

Conquistadores founded Lima in January, when the sun is shining and the sky is clear. However most of the year Lima is covered with thick fog, called garua. This gives the city a rather melancholic character. I was lucky though – my first full day was sunny. Later the fog took over.

During colonial times Lima was the most important city in South America, the capital of the vice-kingdom. Mighty galleons full of cargo left from here to Spain. Today though Rio and Buenos Aires have a strong image in our consciousness, while Lima has no particular associations. To me it appeared rather similar to Buenos Aires, a huge Latin megapolis demonstrating a sharp social divide.

Some photos from a walk around Lima. Plaza de Armas, the main square:

Jirón de la Unión, the main (shopping) street:

Plaza San Martín:

Inside the Cordano Bar, right next to the President’s palace. Apparently he organises various functions here quite regularly.

The entrance to the local Chinatown:

An owl that predicts the future. Incredible how people want to believe.

Right to my hotel in Miraflores district there was the archeological site of Huaca Pucllana, which is a huge pyramid made of adobe. It was built in pre-Inca times by the local Indians of Lima culture. Today it is surrounded by modern buildings, and garua.

The natural size statues of Indians showing the reconstruction of rituals:

One of the tombs that were found on the plaza at the top of the pyramid. The three little bags contain the remains of children that were sacrificed. The locals believed that the children were still close to the other world and therefore could serve as the guides for the dead.

The big amphora one can see here was meant to be sacrificed (broken) during the religious ceremony. Many such broken amphoras were found at the top of the pyramid. On the amphora there is an image of shark, representing the god of the sea. In this foggy place the cult of the sun could not develop, and the sea was the main god.

In a little garden behind the pyramid one can get acquainted with a llama:

And a vicuna:

Who looks rather sad:

Also certain interesting plants are represented:

Lima happens to be in a desert which ends with sharp cliffs plunging into the ocean:

This sharp cliff creates ideal conditions for paragliding, as there are strong air currents going up and down. I noticed the paragliders while walking to the beach in Miraflores.

I’ve never paraglided and couldn’t resist the temptation! You fly in a tandem with an instructor, who sits behind you. I must say that the moment when you get up in the air, and look at the small dots of the people below, the wind blowing in your face, is quite incredible. It made me laugh in sheer delight. You spend 15 minutes in the sky, although this time feels both long and too short. I certainly did not want to come back down. Anyway, this spontaneous experience was so amazing, it made me feel like my trip was already a success.

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