Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Arrival in Lima Peru

It is an all day journey from leaving my Chicago area home to finally arriving in Lima at midnight. My friend Sara, her mother and her four siblings met me at the airport. We had so many people with us we didn't have room for my bike box in the taxi. We rented a second taxi and I got to my small hotel room about 2:00 AM.

The next morning I put my bike together out on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. The bike seemed in fine shape and all my touring gear was ready to go. The hotel was helpful about storing my bike in the office behind their desk until tomorrow.

I wanted to go on a bus tour of Lima as a test to see it this was something we wanted to do as a group someday. The four hour guided tour cost $20. The bus picked me up at my hotel door at 10:30 AM. The guide showed us the pre Inca ruins that were built several thousand years ago in the center of the city. We also toured many Spanish military statues that are slightly incorrect. Such as the Navy General shown sitting on a calvary horse. Lima reminded me of the fancy historic architecture of Paris combined with the adobe ruins of New Mexico.

Later we went down into the Catacombs under the cathedral church. This is where they buried 20,000 people during 150 years by dissolving their bodies in lime dust. The flesh and small bones would decompose in the lime. All that remained are the skulls and thigh (femur) bones. The skull and leg bones were then stacked in huge pits in the basement of the church. Then they used the lime powder to make the concrete walls in the city. Since I was there on Halloween this was an appropriate tour. After we finished the gruesome tour we had a tasty Peruvian lunch at a nearby restaurant. Tomorrow I was ready to start my bike ride up the slopes of the Andes.


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