While on worldatlas.com Lima is #27 in “Populations Of World’s 100 Largest Cities” with roughly 9 million inhabitants, enchantedlearning.com has a “Table of the Biggest Capital Cities” listing the it as #10 with approximately 7 million citizens. As various as information on Lima is in the world wide web, as various is its appearance in reality. So, with that at hand, the attempt to grasp Lima in 3 days is quite an impossible task, which is in no way going to stop me from trying it anyways. This decision being made, the jetlag pops in, which means that on the first day I solely make it to Parque Kennedy and the Cebichería “La Red”.
Parque Kennedy is a green little oasis in the middle of the limenean traffic chaos. Entering the park almost feels like turning off the noise, which does of course make no sense and more likely is to be blamed on my jetlag dazed brain. With free Wi-Fi and approximately 80 cats, this park is literally the manifestation of my nerd-dreams. Maybe this as well could be the reason for the tranquility the park eradicates. Everywhere cats doze in the shadow of trees and benches. All movements are reduced to a minimum which seems to have an effect on the people visiting the park. Slowly twitching whiskers and scroll-thumbs are dominating the view. It is most likely that Lima’s cats and dogs outnumber its human inhabitants but the cats living in Parque Kennedy do have a very specific history. With patience and hands and feet, one of the local shoeblacks explains that the origin of the cats is shrouded in mystery but in the end it is unclear when and how the cats started to settle in Parque Kennedy. Nowadays, to the satisfaction of cats and residents, a little group of anonymous locals takes care of cats and park. The cats are neutered, fed and the park is kept clean. As I am the only one that takes care of my own well-being, I finally leave the park and head out to the famous Cebicherá “La Red”. Ceviche is probably THE highlight of the Peruvian kitchen. A dish, which became a national cultural heritage in 2004 and even has its own bank holiday on the 28th of july. “La Red” in turn is a fancy restaurant in the even more fancy district Miraflores and definitely has the best Pisco Sour I have ever had in my whole life. “I have ever had in my whole life” in this case means “never before”. That, however, does not diminish the quality in any way and the drink perfectly fits my Ceviche. Nowadays the dish comes in many different variations but nevertheless l treat myself with the original version and fall in love with it immediately. The raw fish has been thoroughly marinated in lemon juice and therefore is unbelievably delicate, the Peruvian Chili Rocoto burns my insides, coriander, sweet potato and corn perfect my meal. Tipsy and full I start my bus drive to the hostel and before I roll into bed, I have Mama Backpackers assure me that only people with a very fine taste favor Ceviche from the very first moment… *cough*
Before I fall asleep my conclusion is that Miraflores is a very nice district but for my liking a little bit to european-western and somehow does not touch me very much. It is indeed very nice to feel culturally comfortable but for this there is no need to travel more than 10,000 km. This is why I will take a tour with www.alternativeperu.org tomorrow.
Have a good night and sleep tight