A Day in Lima
To the gentleman who told me that there was nothing to do in Lima – you are a liar, and a whore. I can think of dozens of very pleasant ways to while away the days here. If you´re stretched for ideas, here´s a sample one-day itinerary that you may use or amend to your needs.
8:00am: Wake up, shower (optional)
8:15am: Breakfast… (free). Avoid eye contact with the staff member who suspects you of stealing an extra banana the previous morning (his suspicions are warranted). When he leaves to answer the phone, take another two bananas – you´ll need the energy for later.
9:00 am: Catch the Metropolitano downtown to Polvos Azules. Haggle for discount electronic goods; you´ll probably lose, but take comfort in the knowledge that you´ve had a genuine counterfeit experience (pair of SANY headphones purchased – 8 Soles).
10:15am: Loiter outside the McDonald´s on the corner of Parque Kennedy, Miraflores, to do some “bird” watching (not in the avian sense).
10:30am: When the security guard asks you to stop loitering, purchase a soft-serve cono (2 Soles) to justify your presence there.
10:32 am: Enjoy the soft-serve.
10:45 am: When the security guard insists that you leave the premises and its immediate surroundings, head across the road to the park for more bird watching. If you have a pen and pad handy, jot down your observations in faux-biological terminology.
11:15am: Sign a petition for a political cause you know nothing about. Enjoy the friendly response this elicits from the young idealist. (We recommend leaving a pseudonym and a fake passport number).
12:00pm: Enjoy a fantastic lunch of salty Lima beans, traditional ceviche, a hearty soup and some of the tastiest seafood you´ve ever sampled. (10 soles (meal) plus 3 soles (tip) = 13 Soles).
1:15pm: Wander down to the beach. Create a “sand blanket” and have a nap.
1:45pm: Wake up to find your shoes missing but strangely, your wallet intact and your body unmolested.
2:00pm; Wander around the shoreline barefoot and groggy, looking for the thief.
2:05 pm: Spot the thief, give chase, losing one of the bananas you stored earlier. Give up hope when the thief enters a throng of people protesting for a political cause you know nothing about.
2:28pm: Turn down the offer of some yerba (weed) from a very old looking skater on your way back to Miraflores (or whatever, do what you like – I mean, you´ve just had your shoes stolen) (20 Soles)
2:55pm: Return to Miraflores and purchase the cheapest pair of sneakers that you can find (50 Soles). They’re a little tight…
3:15 pm: Head to a café and reflect on the day, while enjoying a hot (if very milky) café latte. Enjoy the sunny disposition of the waitress.
3:20 pm: Do a runner with your new sneakers. Curse the lack of arch support… (latte – FREE!)
3:30pm: Return to your hostel for a siesta. It´s the Latin way.
4:30 pm: Wake up and change into your gym gear. Or, if you’re travelling as lightly as I am, just wear what you woke up in.
4:45pm: Arrive at the gym (7 Soles).
5:00pm Allow the old fellow (who may or may not work there, but who reminds you of a Peruvian version of the trainer from ROCKY), to take you through the most gruelling 20 minutes of upper-body workout you´ve experienced in your life.
5:35 pm: Leave the gym.
5:45pm: Return to your hostel. Shower and change.
6:30 pm: Head out for some cheap, greasy, tasty CHIFA (Chinese-Peruvian food). The rude service will remind you of home and make you feel a little homesick. (10 Soles)
6:40 pm: Stop reminiscing and finish your meal. It´s getting cold.
7:10pm: Return to the hostel. Enjoy the happy hour special – two traditional pisco sours for the price of one (8 Soles)
8:20pm: Incite heated debate with the Peruvian bartender by claiming that pisco sour is actually a Chilean invention.
8:24pm: Diffuse the situation when he holds a knife to your neck.
8:35pm: Hastily grab your belongings (thank God you packed lightly) and flee the hostel, cursing the lack of arch support (accommodation – FREE!)
8:40pm: Remember that the hostel has your passport details.
8:50pm: Return to the hostel, apologise to the bartender and pay your bill. (48 Soles)
9:30pm: Check into a nearby hostel, which isn´t half as good as your previous accommodation. Stop complaining – you got yourself into this situation with your big mouth.
10:30pm: Head down to the waterfront to meet up with a buddy for more pisco-sours and some people watching. After months of icy Andean mountains and Argentinean pampas, enjoy the fresh sea breeze. (21 Soles)
11:30pm: Make your way to Lima’s own version of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue – infinitely less impressive, but offering some splendid views over the city.
11:55pm: It’s only Thursday, so you should probably save some energy (and pennies) for tomorrow night.
12:15am: Wander through the park en route to your new hostel and watch prostitutes fighting for clients. Watch out for pick-pockets. Kind of a depressing end to the night.
12:30 am: Creep into your dorm, trip over an iPod charger, wake up your roommates. Apologise loudly. Grin widely in the darkness.
12:50am: Sleep – ready to go again tomorrow…!