Lima, and Nazca
Thu 27 Dec 2012 - Sun 13 Jan 2013
The last frontier: South America. The one continent that I had never been to and actually did not know very much about either. Very exotic to me. In retrospect, places have just happened to me in a serendipitous way, I stumble upon where to go next in an unorganized yet preordained fashion. Singapore happened just because, and then it opened up the doorway to Asia. And then South Africa happened because of a bad decisions that felt like it was the right decision at the time! But that's how I got to see the incredibly clear blue sky of Botswana and experience a teeny bit of Africa. See what I mean? Just a random wandering with no real plan of "oh, in the summer of 2014 I must go to the next Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA."
Lima is dry, dusty and nothing spectacular. Crowded roads, old buildings, giant sand dunes, which look like they had excellent views of the ocean. But apparently only the poorest of the poor live up there as the water pipelines and the roads don't go up all the way there. It's a society where the view and living up in lofty heights isn't actually the hallmark of the rich. Utter poverty everywhere in the world seems to be the same - it's the middle-class standard of living that differentiates countries. In Peru, the middle-class seem better off than the middle-class in deep Africa - they aspire to buy a family car, and send their children to English speaking schools. But the poor, the poor anywhere are just too busy worrying about food, clothing, and shelter. Sad.
Drove through Lima to a town further south to fly over the famous Nazca Lines. Mysterious lines on a plateau, many miles long, in fanciful shapes and of unknown origin. Perfect site for alien-life theorists! You'll have to google images of it…I was too busy trying to stop myself from throwing up in the little plane to take any good pictures. But my guide was an interesting woman who told me that she was going to ride with me in the car as she didn't think it was safe for me to go alone with the driver. And the day-trip was more enjoyable because we got to talk about food, and growing up with Dictators. We stopped for lunch at a sea side shack-restaurant and had a light brothy soup into which you dunk roasted corn, and some refreshing ceviche. Again, served with corn, and chunks of sweet potato. Start a ceviche bar in Singapore?
Peru is so Spanish. They dont bother with translations to have signs in two languages…even the customs form was in Spanish. We kinda-sorta had to work out what each empty space to fill in the form was for. And it's all unapologetic in its Spanish-ness. Even the airplane entertainment system's default language is Spanish, not English. Unlike in parts of the world that I am more familiar with where the hegemony of English trumps any other language. I truly was happy that everything was not in English. Hope the world never becomes standardized, and we all hold on to our piece of uniqueness. Here is to diversity and lots of it!