One night and two days, it’s all I had in Lima after some stomach sickness in Huanchaco. It is not a lot of time at all for such a large city. It reminds me of Los Angeles in a lot of ways, it’s a city made up of sprawling district mini-cities that have their own character. I would spend a lot of time just moving around. As with most cities, I spent most of my time eating and visiting museums, something Lima had wonderful things of in spades.
I went to the free central bank museum in the historical center. It had a great mix of ceramics, paintings, and other mediums spread out across the entire history of Peru. I stopped in the central market and Chinatown but found both just to not be that different from many others I’d been to. It was lively and bustling, I was just tired and holding out for better eats.
The museum of the nation is a huge complex within the ministry of culture. I had shown up here because the sixth floor has a permanent photography exhibit on the terrorism that gripped Peru in the 80s and 90s. Although I love ancient history, I have an equal love for the more modern stuff that shapes their current culture that I was unaware of, even if I was alive. The exhibit showed the idealism that drove all the various groups involved, the racial tensions that erupted, and the slow healing and ongoing pain that resulted from it all.
That evening I tried to go to the Museo Larco, a privately owned collection on the northwest part of town. I got some poor information from my hostel and the taxi was, as usual, useless dropping me off in the wrong part of town. So instead I took a coastal walk that evening and returned the next morning. It’s priced more like an international museum but I really enjoyed the beautiful gardens, well planned layout and descriptions in multiple languages, and depth of the collection.
The other part of this museum that I quite enjoyed was the erotic gallery. The Peruvian cultures were not afraid to create artwork of death or of sex, perhaps in stark contrast to our modern views on both subjects. It was half the fun to watch squeamish looking Americans and Europeans trying to look either academic or just outright horrified at this well curated gallery.
After the Larco museum, I had to unfortunately bolt and skip the nearby archaeological museum and head straight to lunch. I decided against any of Gaston Acurio’s restaurants as La Mar has outlets in both San Francisco and New York City and went to the punnily named Pescado Capitales (pescado is fish, pecado is sins, or capital/seven deadly sins/fish).
After lunch I took an informative chocolate class at the not very cheap Choco Museo. I am amused to learn Peru wasn’t historically a chocolate ingesting country, only using it for medicinal purposes. It was a whirlwind tour to fit all that in two days but it was quite the blowout for my last stop abroad. Next stop, through customs and back to the United States to visit friends in New York. Let the domestic adventures begin!