Day 104 - Historical center

Trip Start Jun 14, 2013
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Flag of Peru  , Lima Region,
Friday, October 4, 2013

Today we decided to have another crack at finding the main plazas in Lima central, there are 2, after looking at a map we saw we were on the right track yesterday we just needed to walk further. So for the 2nd day in a row after breakfast we headed for the metro to go into Lima central. We used the same ticket and charged it up with 4 soles more and got on the first express bus to central station. This time we were heading in a bit later around 12 midday and the bus got so packed people were pretty much standing on top of one another, just when you thought you couldn't get anymore sardines in the tin the bus would stop and 20 more people would push their way in, the only thing I can compare it to is catching a tram in Melbourne after the commonwealth games men's 100meter sprint final or the subway in Mexico City at peak hour, you are so close to people it's like being in a mosh pit, without the jumping up and down. Once we arrived at central station the bus was pretty much bursting with people and we all came pouring out. We headed in the direction of plaza San Martin on the map and after a few blocks came across the big square with all these beautiful white buildings surrounding the big garden square with a statue of a man on a horse in the middle. As usual there was some sort of parade or protest going on, it seems everywhere we go there is a protest or parade in Peru or Mexico, yesterday while in the park area near the museum a massive rally protest came past that was protesting something to do with hospitals. We noticed in the plaza like many others there is no color, everything looks old, like the buildings are white with black writing, even if there is a KFC they can't use red on their signs, we thought it might be to keep the historic feel in the square. After a good 15 minutes taking photos and checking out plaza San Martin we headed further into Lima to the main square, like Cusco it's called Plaza de Armas. It was about 6 blocks walk through what seemed to be a mall, no cars, just thousands of people walking, with shops and fast food chains lining the street. Along the way people stand out in the middle of the mall trying to get you into their shop, restaurant or tattoo studio in my case. We met a nice guy who was a tattoo artist who spoke good English and seemed pretty cool who wanted us to check out his shop, we told him we would on the way back. A few people kept mentioning a coffee shop, you want to see the coffee shop? Or I've got the coffee shop? Which we assumed was people trying to sell us cocain. Eventually after a 10 minute walk we came across the Plaza de Armas. This was a bit bigger than San Martin, it had a water fountain in the middle with gardens around the walking concrete areas as well as a lot of orange buildings right around the outer area, plus a big main cathedral and what seemed like a government house, it was a massive older building with a big flag over the top, big gates that were closed with those guards you see at the queens house that have to stand still all the time and they have swords. Heaps of people were at the gates taking photos of them and they didn't move a muscle. There were a lot of cops in the square and a few army guys with machine guns just making sure everything was safe, I'm guessing lots of important people were in this government building, possibly even the president. Again we walked around the plaza checking everything out, taking photos and generally being tourists. We walked up into another street and saw a park area that was being renovated, I think I had a ruin site in it. We went around a corner and saw another church that was covered in pidgins, the small square in front had thousands of pidgins on the ground and the church was covered in pidgin poo. After an hour or so of wondering around we headed back down the mall. We ran into the tattoo guy who said his name was mark, we agreed to check out his studio, he took us in for a look, we checked out his work but we were not keen for any tattoos so we just looked at his pictures and showed each other our tattoos, then he offered for us to all go and have a drink together. We had nothing better to do so we followed and he took us to a really cheap bar/restaurant where we drank large long neck sized beers for 6soles $2.50 each. We spent a bit over 2 hours sitting and chatting with mark and sharing beers, he was such a great dude, he really liked us and wasn't trying to rip us off or get anything from us, he just likes talking with tourists and wanted to have a beer being a Friday afternoon. He spoke good English and liked to practice, as well as teaching us a few Peruvian slang words. He told us himself and his girlfriend are going to a party tomorrow night and if we want something to do to call him, we swapped numbers and facebooks and we headed back to the station the get back to the hostel. We got back and freshened up and headed out for dinner at a pizza place along the bar strip, we got a family pizza and pitcher of beer for 35soles $15. After that we headed to a place on the corner called the Old Pub, the bouncer there was really nice to us, his name was Jose. We met up with a friend from back home who is traveling with some friends of his through South America. They had to catch a flight early in the morning, so they had to be up at 3.30am, they didn't hang out for long, except for Tom, who sat and drank beers with us and listened to us waffle on about our holiday right up until about 3am, so he didn't go to bed. It was great to talk to some Aussies for the first time since meeting David at Chichen Itza. It was a really good night, we went home when the old pub closed.
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