Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday in Lima

Anticipation is building. The best riding of this whole adventure is still ahead of me, and I'm eager to get on with it! I've had a knot in my stomach for days, as anxiety and frustration take their toll. The Andes' rainy season is quickly drawing near (starting in December) and the weather will make all the difference in crossing some of those passes.

In Lima, the weather has been consistently overcast and chilly. The sun has been a stranger for ten days. I know that just east of here, skies are very different.

Out to the Jockey Plaza shopping center. It was something to do, and Marc Van Echelpoel, a Belgian tour guide staying at El Carmelo strongly recommended I pick up a Lonely Planet guidebook there. I've avoided carrying any guides, just because of the added weight. But it may be a case of being "pound wise and penny foolish". Ignorance is costly.

The streets of Lima are wonderfully quiet on Sunday. It's a day families spend together (for many, the only day they have off.) And it's a day to watch football. Now it's hard to understand why I was making all the fuss about traffic!

But the shopping mall was jam-packed with shoppers, the parking lot a sea of cars. The lot provides many jobs, including parking attendants, "vigilantes" (those who find you a parking space, then keep an eye on your vehicle) and car washers, who will clean your car as you shop.

Surprised at my own delight in finding a Starbucks inside the mall! I ordered my usual beverage, "a tall double-cappuccino, dry style". I didn't have to explain what I was talking about. The barrista just nodded and said "no problem". It was just like in the States. (Sometimes you want to be reminded of home!) Starbucks is amazingly consistent. I attribute this to outstanding management and training. A local Miraflores coffee shop that I've tried four or five times now is remarkably inconsistent, from one barrista to the next.

Tried using the ATM at Banco National, but it would not allow me to withdraw cash. The BCP Banco de Credito ATM permitted the transaction. I have no idea why the inconsistencies; both are STAR System banks. (Later I learned that one machine is a Visa ATM and the other is a Mastercard ATM.) I also learned that it's easy to walk away without your ATM card. Many machines only require a quick read of your card before proceeding with your transaction, while others hold the card until the transaction has been completed and you decline any further transactions. If you become accustomed to the former kind of machine, when you come across the latter kind, you might walk away thinking you had just swiped the card to initiate the transaction and then placed it back in your wallet.

Found the Lonely Planet guide for Peru, but balked when I learned the price was $28.00 ($19.95 being the U.S. cover price.)

Went to Café Café just off Kennedy Park for dinner. Ordered the traditional lomo saltado entré. Strips of sirloin with sautéed onions and tomatoes, served with French fries and rice. Excellent. A pricey (around $15 for dinner), but very nice restaurant and a good people-watching venue.


otto said...

Janie's "lomo" is excellent after learning it from a certain peruvian!

timtraveler said...

On my return, I'm stopping in Las Vegas to verify this!