Deciding on Peru
If you’re like me and came out of post secondary education in the last 4 years, you’ve probably already grown weary of the same boss and same workday routine. Even if you’re young and have been in the workforce awhile you can probably relate. You find yourself looking out the window and imagining a different lifestyle, culture, and surroundings that someone else in another country is living and loving. Your social media and internet subscriptions just don´t entertain you as much anymore and life has got you feeling pretty average. Was glad to know my buddy from high school felt the same way. We researched places to escape real life for the end of the year. Something about Peru stuck out more than other places. December is summer here, food is cheap, there´s plenty to sight see and explore, and saw that it was relatively safe and easy to travel through. A quick search on Reddit recommended Karikuy Tours as a place a volunteering experience that was unique from any other place I tried to volunteer with . A few emails to Julio later It was time to get away and we found the most suitable place for wanderlust in December 2015. Bienvenidos a Peru!
Having visited Latin American countries in Central America in recent years, with most of my relatives living in El Salvador, one thing I learned is that the Spanish language is mostly the same; the lifestyles, customs, and culture however are always different in their own way . There are definitely a few things that have stood out to me by far in my few days in Lima that make the city a very unique place compared to other cities in Latin American countries I have visited.
- People are hanging out in on the street almost 24/7 just talking, hanging out, drinking, and playing with no fear. There is peace walking down the street late night knowing people are still up and can’t sleep like you.
- Be prepared to see lots of PDA (Public Displays of Affection). From the popular playa in Miraflores to the artsy tourist district of Barranco, there are always couples embracing the known romantic culture of the city and I can’t blame them. There’s salsa or merengue going in lots of the cabs and buses, the weather is usually fair, The art and history is rich, and the sunsets are breathtaking. One of the few cities out there that can pull off romance like no other.
- While traffic in Lima can really stink at times, the upside to it is seeing all the colorful and powerful architecture. So many different styles of architecture and paint on buildings and houses exist in even the smallest district. Being in the hectic Lima traffic also lets you see some interesting characters. In just 4 days here, I’ve seen a dancing Santa on the street, a teenager rapping his own mix tape on the bus, and a blind older lady singing songs by Selena on her own karaoke Machine. Better than TV folks.
- The ceviche here really stands out individually compared to other Latin American dishes I’ve tried. It is different combinations of fish with the basic ingredients being raw fish in citrus juices ,red onions, some lettuce, and a sweet potato. My taste buds were in another world and can’t wait to try and make this popular dish on my own.
Things I did in Lima
As i write this I am on my 4th and last day in Lima before I head to Huacachina. This city already has laid something so freeing and passionate in my heart and feel like I don’t want to leave but I must. Here are some of the things that stood out to me that I did that shaped my delightful awestruck view of Lima permanently.
- Seeing the beach and Pacific Ocean from Larcomar Mall. I came to Larcomar just expecting a mall but a few steps in I had the full view of the Pacific Ocean. The view really made me just shut up and enjoy the moment (pictured above is coastline under the mall).
- I have not been to a museum since elementary school but the Museo Larco (Larco Museum) is a must. Taking the time to read the texts under all the museum exhibits is necessary to in learning and understand how the ancient Incans lived, died, adapted to changes worshiped, procreated and so forth. So much of the the Incan culture is still relevant today in Peru but much of it is not understood by the modern world. Visiting the Museo Larco gives the insight into its founder, Rafael Larco Hoyle and how he began to uncover the Incan life from the past through his own abilities and perspectives. It can be hard to find when asking for directions in Lima (was for me anyway) but is definitely worth visiting. You also get a 50% discount if you bring your student card also.
- Plaza Mayor, Jiron de la Union, Plaza San Martin, are all places within walking distance of each other. The history here is incredibly rich and since it’s near Christmas now, they are all lit up for the city and all to see. Lima is kept very clean and it’s evident when you visit the aforementioned places. Workers are visible around the clock to make sure the city stays looking its best.
Just Lima alone can make Peru stand out to the world but there is much much more to Peru than Just Lima. I would highly recommend Lima as the place to start off your Peru travels.The adventure has only begun in Lima and there is much more to come. Stay tuned for the next blog and a potential vlog! Hasta Pronto!
Brian Gomez is a volunteer with the Karikuy Volunteer Program in Lima, Peru.