I arrived in Lima two days ago. An English girl, Tammy, who I had met in Huacachina had got the bus here the day before and although we had booked our beds separately, we were conveniently put into the same dorm. When I went to meet her, she was hanging out with another English girl, Jill, who I have met twice previously on this trip. After spending most of the past month with male travellers, it was nice to hang out with girls again.
The next day, Tammy and I walked around the centre. Although she was the one who had suggested going, she wore a money belt and in general, seemed a little paranoid about safety. With the exception of the main square, we were surrounded by Indigenous looking locals and were the only two tourists. Most tourists stick to Miraflores and the beach district, but I found the centre to be safe and more interesting than the middle class areas.
Of all the capital cities in developing countries I have been to, I would say Lima is the most liveable. It is a lot cleaner than Buenos Aires and the locals didn´t really take any notice of us. We walked around for a while, then took a tour of a San Francisco monastery which had a small catacombs.
Afterwards we went to the local market. It was open air but most of it was similar to others I have been to in South America. However, there was one busy street in which people stood in the middle and approached people as they walked by. They were selling incredibly strange things; there was no real theme. We saw people selling PVA glue, foil blankets, head umbrellas, forks. It was hard not to laugh. Then we went to a fountain park, which had lasers and one of the largest fountains in the world. There were more tourists here but the crowd was predominately made up of Peruvian couples and families.
Later that night we were talking to two friends of Jill’s who were from Brisbane. We started talking about the Motorcycle Diaries; one of the Brisbane girls said she´d seen some of it but it was obvious that she didn´t know what it was about when she referred to the main character as “that guy.” Someone asked her if she knew who he was and she replied she didn´t. We told her the film was about Che Guevara and explained why he was such an important figure in history.
“What´s his name?” she asked. “Jay Guevara?”
Yes, gentle reader, it´s true what they say about people from Queensland.