Landing in Lima, Peru’s capital city, I struggled to come to terms with the fact that I left England – during a heat wave – just to be met with rain! Top notch planning. My first day was actually very uninteresting; after two years of Beginners Spanish at University, I decided to try out my great language skills.. by buying food in a Subway store. In honesty, the last thing I wanted at that time was to speak another language (I was starving and thought that this would be a convenient, simple way to get food). This was a good plan in theory but I actually forgot about all the questions that get asked in a Subway store.. what type of bread, what style, the content, the toppings… I don’t think I have ever felt so highly pressured buying food in my life. It was a miracle I made it out alive.
After a couple of days in Lima I felt I finally gotten to grips with the city. The weather fortunately picked up a bit for me to visit the ruins of Pachacamac, the Temple of the Sun and a few museums. It was a great start to my journey but also very shocking. Pachacamac was found accidently – a shanty town was built in the area and the people in the local region were complaining that they were discovering bones everywhere… after a while the complaints were taken seriously and investigated and it was then that the massive ruins of Pachacamac were uncovered.
I took this photo to show the boundary between the ruins and the shanty town that still resides over part of it.
The rain, lots of time, and little investment in it’s proper excavation resulted in a set of ruins that were, well ruined. It was clear straight away that Pachacamac was now just a vague resemblance to what it must have been in the past. Only one building remained properly intact and this was historically used as a living quarter for young girls. This fact didn’t seem overly out of place, however the tour guide then made it so by further explaining how the girls were used as sacrifices – groomed to spill their blood when required by the gods!
Whilst also in the city, I travelled to the Magic Water Circuit; a tourist destination showing lots of different fountain effects. Very corny.. and I loved it. There was a great show at the very end with lasers and music, and they even projected people dancing onto the fountains that made them look like giants. There were also fountains you could walk through… who doesn’t like that!
However, at the same time, Peru isn’t a rich country. It’s pretty easy to forget this in certain parts of Lima which are built up for the tourists such as the Magic Water Circuit. It was when I left Lima – on route to Pisco – that this hit me hard. We drove past lots of shanty towns and then lots more. We drove past really impoverished houses – if they can be called houses – some of which were in extremely remote areas, places where I can’t even imagine living. It was sad. I think it’s entirely different being aware of a problem and actually seeing it – and it’s scale. It really made the world at home seem like a bubble, a bubble that makes fashion and nights out seem important whist distancing itself from the rest of reality.