My very first time venturing out of the US was a trip to Peru this past May. I posted some photos before my blog got hacked and decided there is just no way I couldn’t repost them. It’s so lovely going through them for a second time. My first and last stops in the country were in Lima.
I think my favorite thing about arriving in a new place for the first time is stepping out of the airport and taking a deep breath of the foreign air. Lima smelled warm and exotic, but comfortable at the same time. It smelled like a lot of people lived there, but in a good way. It smelled like sea level (which is great for those of us who live nowhere near an ocean) and it smelled like traffic and city.
The traffic in all of Peru was interesting to say the least, but no city was quite as intense as Lima. The city has gone through an economic upswing where everyone can now afford to buy vehicles, however the roads and traffic system were designed to handle only a small portion of this growth. Basically, Lima is a giant traffic jam.
For the first night, I stayed in this Casa Andina hotel. The chain is really amazing, I was fortunate enough to stay in these hotels in several cities. They are comfortable and inexpensive and all offer breakfast and (most offer) working Internet, which can be quite the luxury in Peru.
On my first morning in Peru, we visited the Museo de la Nación, which was an amazing museum, coming from someone who isn’t so huge on museums. The whole sixth floor is dedicated toward the photographic documentary of internal conflict of Peru that existed from 1980-2000. I desperately wanted to wander that exhibit for hours, but the museum also contained artifacts, art and other historical items that were worth seeing too. If you go here, plan on at least two hours to see all of the exhibits.
The most interesting piece of my first day in Lima was driving on the outskirts of the city and getting my first dose of a developing country. People construct homes on giant hills with no roofs. A home may consist of a single room made out of scrap metal. I also learned that people in Peru paint their homes and building bright colors to combat the smog and dirt. It’s a country of a million colors.