Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Voyage to Miraflores

Escape! Melanie, my Mother and I decided to make a break for it and escape the confines of our homestay and journey to famous Miraflores by ourselves. Although my mother was born and raised in Peru, it has been thirteen years since her last visit and one other time twenty years before that. Needless to say, her knowledge of Lima has withered a bit.

To accomplish this feat we decided to chance it on the "Micro", an elaborate bus system that seems to be Lima's primary mode of public transportation. The Micro is a smaller version of a typical bus, seating about twenty people not including the driver and the ticket attendant. The stops for this vehicle is at any and every corner, or where ever an individual hales it, similar to that of a cab. So, halers must be ready to jump out and stop the suicidal driver at any time. There seems to be many of these micro's criss-crossing Lima and all of it's districts as well as the province of Callao. Also, no map exists to sort out the web of bus routes. Luckily, we had direction to take the S from Surco to Parke de Kennedy, strangely dedicated to the President John F. Kennedy, in Miraflores.

Around Parke de Kennedy lies a very beautiful side of Lima. Restaurants and shops dot the perimeter of this green mall and people move in mass through the park to their work or a late lunch. The three of us decided to try out the famed Chiffa, Peruvian Chinese. We ordered chicken lo mein and sweet and sour chicken. Sadly, we were quite disappointed with our choice. Perhaps it was the close location to the big center, or our general dislike for Chinese food, but lunch left much to be desired. However, Crystaline, another local beer, kept our spirits up.

After lunch, we strolled around the park and were happily greeted by a late afternoon open-air market. Around five in the afternoon, vendors were beginning to setup shop in one of the parks' circle. There were pants of Incan liking, hats, jewelery, kitchenware, and other odditys like names engraved on rice, all of which were handmade by the vendors. As we shopped for our trinkets and clothes, we relished in green area eating Picarones and enjoying a wonderful freeing afternoon in Miraflores Lima.

Although the afternoon stroll was quite relaxing and tranquil, catching the Micro back was a challenge. The three of us sat on a busy corner for about ten minutes before deciding that we really didn't understand the bus system and there was an "S" on almost all of them. Each vehicle had at least three district names mentioned in their route and we really didn't know where we were going. We simply knew the street name of our destination and the main district. So, here we are three Americans, two of which barely speak Spanish yelling "Surco, calle Diana con Cronos" at every Micro that drove by. Their response is "a donde" and my mom (in Spanish) says, " I don't know." We were laughed at a lot! Finally, one ticket collector knew the street Diana and we hopped on the micro in the middle of the highway entrance. Of course, this was the one micro that didn't mention Surco on the side. Perhaps their bus system is just way too advanced for us...

1 comment:

  1. the chifa that is close to Kennedy park is really terrible which is really bad cause I bet lots of tourists go there!