Greetings from the rooftop of my hostel in Lima. It’s my last morning here until I return to fly back to Portland next month. I’m not sad to be leaving, but I have to say I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed my stay here.
Coming into this week, I’d heard a lot of people bash on Lima. My friend who had visited before said “I kind of hate it there…” and when I checked into the hostel for my 7-night stay the guy helping me goes “wow…you’re staying here for a long time…”
I definitely see the downsides of life here – chaotic drivers, plastic trash from the lack of recycling, polluted air, and the dual-reality of Limans (it’s a very different scene outside of the touristy areas of the city).
But I also see the joys that Lima can bring. The food here has consistently left me pleasantly puzzled, the street art is filled with zany characters and bright colors, and I have met some incredibly nice people. Much of the goodness I saw is thanks to my friend Maite and her family (photos from our last meal together below).
Ica & Huacachina
Maite and I also took a quick trip south to check out the city of Ica and the desert oasis nearby.
After a 5-hour bus ride with my knees crammed into the seat in front of me (I’ve painfully realized I’m taller than the average Peruvian), we arrived in a much more arid part of the country.
Our weekend visit featured a Mad Max-style dune buggy ride, plenty of tasty food (I especially liked the regional classic, sopa seca), and a trip to a winery where our guide was quite successful in getting us drunk off 15 different types of pisco.
This afternoon I fly to Cusco (elevation 11,157′). Super excited see a more rural part of the country & be in the mountains.
Though I’m also looking forward to coming back to Lima at the end of the trip. I think that at the end of the day, in a city this big there is inevitably good and bad. I’m grateful to have experienced both.