Lima

Lima, the capital of Peru lies on the country's arid Pacific coast. Though its colonial centre is preserved, it is a bustling metropolis and one of South America’s largest cities. After Cairo, this sprawling metropolis is the second-driest world capital, rising above a long coastline of crumbling cliffs. There is however a mist, the Garúa, which can deposit moisture on the ground.

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

Alarm went of at 5.15am. We took a taxi to Reading station and joined the 6.30am Gatwick express to the south terminal. Tried to exchange some of our foreign currency into smaller denominations but Travelex not interested. We had a bloody mary and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and avocado for breakfast. Yum!

Flight was seamless – watched Hippopotamus which was hilarious and Churchill which was enjoyable. Landed at 18h30. Customs hot and busy! Collected by Haku Tours who I had most of the travel arrangements in Lima through and who were excellent as well as re-investing in the City’s impoverished community and with a social conscience.

The traffic was crazy and it tool 1.5hours to get to Second Home in Lima which had been recommended by my cousin after she stayed here. It is a well located guest house in Barranco (Lima’s art district – the owner (Victor Delfin) has a selection of art in his studio which adjoins the guest house). It is set on cliffs with lovely ocean views and our room was large and spacious.

We decided to head over to Ayahuasca Bar which is a two minute walk away and set in a colonial mansion building with a cool vibe and tasty cocktails and snacks. We enjoyed a couple of Pisco Sours – when in Peru – potent! The breaded prawns with a tangy mango sauce were delicious. We had a quick whatsapp call with Trent before going to bed – we had been up for a full 24 hours! Tony & Nessy’s flight had been significantly delayed and we heard them arrive at about 1.30am.

Day 2: Exploring Lima

We were up at 7am. Took a few interesting photos around the property and played chess on an artistic sculpture.

Tony & Ness joined us at 8am for breakfast. We had granadilla like fruit which breaks open like an egg – delicious.

Haku Tours guide, Jean Paul collected us at 9am – Lima traffic and driving is hectic! We were off to participate in a Peruvian cooking class.

First stop was an authentic market to buy the food that we were going to cook. Tony made us giggle: all the chickens are splayed for display purposes with their fully formed eggs at the base of the cloaca – and he said, ‘Loo! They have stuffed an egg up the chicken’s ass’! LOL. Hilarious.

The cooking venue was a youth hostel in Mira Flores. We donned our chef hats and aprons and commenced cooking! I chopped beans and carrots while Paul and Tony shredded chicken and Nessy chopped onions and coriander and Parsley.

We sat down and enjoyed chicha with plantain dips – one spicy chilly and the other mango. Chicha is a fermented (alcoholic) or non-fermented beverage of Latin America, emerging from the Andes and Amazonia regions. In both the pre- and post-Spanish conquest periods, corn beer (chicha de jora) made from a variety of maize landraces has been the most common form of chicha.

Nessy and I then mashed the sweet potato with our hands and mixed in chilli and lime. Cooked the potato without water in clay pots. We were told that there are over 4,500 varieties of potato in Peru!! Paul and Tony had in the meantime made the Ceviche (fresh raw fish cured in fresh citrus juices, most commonly lemon or lime).

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