After spending 12 hours in airports and on airplanes we arrive at our destination, Peru. When everything goes as planned it makes for a lovely journey. Of course I ate too much and sat still for way too long.
Arriving at Lima Airport our bags arrived in as timely a fashion as we did. Walked through customs without issue and were whisked off by our driver to our quaint hotel. Checked in and off to dreamland for us weary travelers.
La Castellana Hotel is a small boutique hotel with solid plaster walls, dark wood accents and as few creature comforts as needed to be fairly comfortable. This is what true “locally owned” establishments look like. The room rate is reflective of the sparseness. There is no “European” frills here. The beds are small, there is dark wood accents with years upon years of dark paint spilling over the edges of the panes of glass in the windows. A small squeaky oscillating fan is mounted to the ceiling and moves the damp air around nicely for a bit of comfort. The only thing in the room that doesn’t fit is the 28″ flat screen TV chained to a small shelf in the corner of the room.
The sounds of the city of MiraFlores at night consist of nothing but the dull hum of the street lamps and an occasional cat fight on the tin roofs of the tightly packed buildings. The morning light arrives at 5:30 and the streets wake up to the bustle of cars, traffic cop whistles, impatient horns and the street vendors selling the fresh produce and catch of the day.
We had a breakfast of bread and thee best damn coffee made on Earth! Back to the room with the normal get ready things which fortunately included a HOT shower and fluffy white towels. Put away everything of value and out the door for a “walk about town”.
In a country you are not familiar with there is a battle that arises between fit in and be safe but not look like a tourist. The things you see are so unfamiliar and yet hold a beauty of their own. You want to capture every moment with the camera, not necessarily the physical but the one of the mind. I only wish my mind had the memory of a camera.
We came upon a Central Park that was the home of at least 50 stray cats all lounging about. There was a circular pit that posed as the meeting point for college students, lovers, travelers, musicians and cats. We all sat around the pit and listened to the musicians sing and play, watched the lovers cuddle, petted the strays vying for whomever would give them a scratch, and the travelers and locals, faces planted I cell phones, share their deepest experiences with the unseen world around us…and a smaller world it is becoming.