We arrived in the secure bus compound and got one of their taxis into the gringo area of Lima, Miraflores. Lima has a reputation for not being that safe but Miraflores is better and that is where most of the hostels are based.
We booked the same chain of hostels that we stayed in at Mancora, Kokopelli.
We ventured out to get cash first, sticking to our routine! We then had a walk around Miraflores which looked really nice with colonial buildings surrounding the parks. We decided to venture further and went down to the beach. The beach was at the bottom of cliffs so it was a steep walk up and down. There were loads of surfers and people paragliding which kept us entertained for a while! There was an interesting park which was clearly lovers park encouraged by the sculpture of a man and women lying down kissing, so see photos for that. The South Americans definitely love their very open displays of public affection. There are tongues and sucking noises everywhere you turn. No photos of that though! We headed back before sunset to hopefully avoid any problems. It is annoying having to be so careful, we haven't taken the big camera out as much because we don't want it to attract attention. The Lonely Planet paints an overly bad picture of Lima but you can't read into it too much but at the same time we hear stories from other tourists about problems they've had.
That evening we headed out to see what the festival was like that they had been preparing for that day. There was a small stage but it seemed the main attraction was a raised walkway that took you between trees that were 'breathing'. It was strange and too arty farty for Kris. Although the whole crowded seemed to enjoy the slow motion video of a naked women jumping up and down projected on to one of the buildings - all in the name of art! There was a good atmosphere around the town though as so many people were out. The music started but was bad so we headed back to the hostel bar to see if anyone was around. Everyone was out so we went to bed. The next morning it appeared that we were the only people that went to bed before midnight! We're so lame sometimes!
We asked a couple of people including the receptionist about central Lima. No-one had been which considering some people had been in the hostel for 2 weeks was unbelievable! On talking to the same people for longer, we realised they are in South America to simply get pissed everynight and not see any part of any town, just the inside of the hostel bar! We like a drink bit we also like to see the country we have spent a lot to get too!
With little information we got a taxi and headed to central Lima and by the time we left we were glad we went. The Plaza Del Armas had the presidential palace which as we arrived, started performing the changing of the guards ceremony. It was good to watch but went on a bit too long! The square was really nice and had some nice buildings around. We took the short walk to a monestry recommended in the LP called Monasterio de San Francisco. The 7 Peruvian Soles (£1.60) ticket included a tour. It was surprisingly good, with great architecture and old paintings. The tour also included a trip to the underground crypt which had bones from the estimated 70,000 bodies burried there! The cases held 4 metres worth of bones and there were a lot of them. Needless to say it felt a bit eerie down there!
We headed back to the square and down a pedestrianised area to another square, Plaza San Martin, which again had really nice colonial buildings. We were there to see a statue that was built with a small error. The statue was of a lady, nothing strange there. The strange part was the llarma standing on her head! The statue was commissioned in Spain with the instruction to give the lady a crown of flames. Unfortunately the Spanish word for flame, also means Llama!
We thought Central Lima was actually really nice. It was so busy with tourists from all around South America and the rest of the world, so we felt perfectly safe. We did stick to the areas the lonely planet stated 'you should be alright', and we wouldn't have risked venturing off the tourist trail, but to us it all seemed like a big fuss over nothing!
We got a taxi back from a really old guy that shouldn't have been driving but he charged us half the price we paid getting there, as well as taking twice as long! We got dropped off at Huaca Pucllana which is a pyramid made by the Lima culture around 400 AD. It was quite interesting although you know when they have run out of things to show you when they show you the animals that were eaten and used as transport that are still around today (guinea pigs and llamas)!
Later that evening we met Martin and Adam for a drink in the hostel they were staying at which was pretty nice and overlooked the park.
We woke up early the next day and went to the 'Cruz Del Sur' bus station (everyone recommends them) for a day bus to our next destination.....