Monday, September 14, 2009

Visiting Lima

For 4 days we visited the central part of Lima, which is of course the touristiest section of the city. Let’s face it, the other parts of the city are a bit too adventurous for us, at least we would need more time to get to know the city before venturing over there. With a guide we went around the tourist trail such as the large cathedral and the presidential residence around Plaza Major. All important buildings here are many centuries old and had survived the many earthquakes that happen regularly in the area.

One of the buildings we visited is the old court of the inquisition where people not willing to embrace the Catholic Church were sent here to explain themselves, needless to say without a lawyer, and “convinced” in the name of Jesus Christ and Saint Maria that it was the right way to think! If they were in doubt of their faith they were sent to the torture for a period of 10 days then had to plead themselves again until they were convinced or until death took them… The cells where they were held before being tortured were just a few meters from the room where others were being convinced. Their screaming were heard everywhere. It is also interesting to see how imaginative the Church was clever in finding different techniques to convince the lost ones. The Nazis didn’t have to work too hard since the Catholic Church of that period seems to have done all the research and development a few centuries before.
Before we knew it we were put in one of the cells and asked to convert immediately. We vehemently protested that it is our right to embrace any religion we wanted until we remembered that we were already Catholics! We were then immediately released ;-)

Lima is not only an old city with century old buildings visited by tourists. It is also a large modern city with normal people leaving in it. Remember that globalization strikes everywhere and Peruvians are just like anybody else. The main difference is that other than the young people who wear the exact same cloths than everywhere in the world, the older ones are very conservative and dress like we were in Canada about 25 years ago.

You can buy anything in Lima and it is cheap. Restaurants are very cheap and for 12 to 15 soles we can both eat a full meal. This is even better when you know that 1 sol = U$0.33! Yep, for $3 to $4 including the tip we both eat plenty. Sometimes we pay ourselves a treat and go in a more expensive restaurant and would pay s/30.00 or s/40.00 for the meal, which is still less than $15 for both of us. We went to the central market of Lima where food is sold on these little stands. You can buy anything from dead chickens (not emptied!) to coca leafs or guinea pigs. This picture was not taken in a pet shop but at the food market! We went twice but the second time we went to look closer to the chicken alley and we had to leave on a hurry because Danielle was about to vomit. The rest of the market was ok though.