Lima – just passing through

American fast food chains have a total stranglehold on the Lima. KFC, Burger King, McDonald’s, Dominos, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s are on every street here.

It’s a twenty hour overnight bus to Lima -we are totally ignoring the advice of not travelling on night buses – so far nothing too grave has happened, although we have passed several hideous crashes on our travels so far.

Inca ruins in Lima

Maybe I’m getting grumpy in my old age, and it does seem wrong to post negative stories of places we visit when a place does not live up to expectations. But that’s what I’m going to do.

Lima is the greyest of places I’ve ever visited. It’s not that cold, or warm, but is blanketed by clouds of fog and pollution. Apparently it’s like this eight months of the year, the rest the clouds may shift, but the pollution remains. The traffic is appalling, everybody rides their horn constantly and it seems like the American fast food chains have a total stranglehold on the city. KFC, Burger King, McDonald’s, Dominos, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s are on every street here. Even non-chained restaurants offer little aside from pizza on their menus. It’s a little disappointing after months of colonial squares and cobbled street with local traders selling empanadas and street food.

Lima traffic

We decide on just two days here. The first day we take a walk around the very pleasant ‘Miraflores’ district where we are staying, up to the beach front, which has been taken over by a large cinema/fast food and restaurant complex. We contemplate splashing out cash at a Texas-themed rib restaurant but instead head to the supermarket and cook up a chorizo and asparagus pasta thing – slightly over seasoned with chilli which stinks out the whole hostel and chokes everyone to death.

Central Lima

We also bump into an English lass who we met in El Calafate, Argentina  AND Copacabana, Bolivia over four months ago. There are some other great people at the hostel and we spend a few hours talking travel etc.

On our second and final day in Lima we take a city tour with Mirabus from gringo central – Kennedy Park. It’s not so bad, a few nice sights, including the catacombs at the San Francisco cathedral. All the city residents were buried here years ago and the remains are morbidly on display. In the evening we give in to temptation and head down the inspirationally named ‘Pizza street’ for a meat feast special and some waitresses in ridiculously short skirts and very VERY low cut tops (entirely coincidental, honest).

Central Lima

Lima, kinda different. Not quite the experience we are after on our travels, but not offensive.  Still loving every single day, even if some are not so good as others.  Our sights are on Ecuador, with a couple of stops en route to break up the journey. The hope is that it’s going to get hotter going forward, and we are heading to the beach…. at last. But first, some more mountains…