Here´s something I forgot to note about Arturo, our Sipan guide. He repeatedly referred to the Moche people as his ancestors, and to his pride in their accomplishments. I thought this was really cool. I remember a guide at Newgrange, a Neolithic passage tomb site in Ireland, speaking with obvious pride that her ancestors had built it. That´s a little more of a stretch, for various reasons, but I still love the idea.
Arturo told us some people have criticized him for not speaking Quechua, since he is Mestizo, and Quecha acknowledges and honours Indian heritage. But, he says, my people are from the north, they didn´t speak Quechua. The Incans spoke Quechua, but the Moche, older than the Incas, did not.
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We were both tired last night, and after discovering that our room had cable TV, we set off in search of a bottle of wine and snacks. Down the street, for the first time on this trip, we found a North American- style supermarket. The only food stores we´ve seen are little tiendas - basically a person in a tiny compartment, open to the street, and you ask for what you want - or market stalls. There must be supermarkets in middle-class neighbourhoods of Arequipa, for example, but we didn´t see them. This one, in Chiclayo, was big and modern, with refrigerated meat and fish (!) and even a pet food section.
We found wine, a cheap corkscrew - ours having been confiscated at the Lima airport en route to Cuzco, chips, cookies and yogurt shakes. We watched Los Simpsons with dubbed Spanish and Twins vs White Sox, the ESPN Sunday Night game, broadcast live in Spanish throughout Latin America.
It may not surprise you to learn that Allan is following the Red Sox online, and has been blogging from Peru. A couple of rainouts made him happy, because that means he misses fewer games.
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This morning we flew back to Lima, very easily and uneventfully, and are staying at the same hotel as our first go-round in Lima. We took a taxi into Miraflores, which I thought was a Lima neighbourhood but is actually a suburb. It´s ocean-side, and the centre of hotels, restaurants and nightlife for tourists and Limeños alike.
We went to a famously trendy mall (of all places) called Larcomar, built on the edge of high cliffs overlooking the Pacific. Most of it is outdoors or at least open-air, and the setting is so beautiful, it feels much nicer than a typical mall. We had lunch and drinks with a beautiful view, then wandered around the shops.
This was the only place in Peru that we´ve seen chains like Radio Shack and Athlete´s Foot, and the only Starbucks. There were a lot of souvenirs that we´ve seen sold in situ, marked up at least 500%.
We took a long walk through Miraflores, by far the most upscale or middle-class area we´ve seen in the entire country. Accordingly, it looks most like home. Even in the nice residential area of our hotel, the sidewalks are very narrow, there are tiny tiendas, and a very Sudamericano market. Miraflores looks to me like an upscale or middle-class neighbourhood anywhere. After not seeing a supermarket for three weeks, we saw one that I´d drool over in Port Credit.
More walking, and then dinner, and a glimpse of the famed nightlife of the area. We were winding down, but it was clearly just revving up (typical of us these days!). In a beautiful plaza park, vendors were set up with desk lamps, obviously expecting a busy nighttime trade.
Back at our hotel, there is cable TV in our room, and I suggested we check out ESPN. Guess what? The Red Sox were in the process of clobbering the Orioles, 11-1, bottom of the 9th. We saw the last half-inning.
Tomorrow we´re taking in a museum in the morning, then checking out the artsy suburb of Barranco. We´ll probably hang out here at the hotel in the evening before going to the airport, since our flight doesn´t leave until nearly midnight.
I´m beginning to get a little anxious about all that awaits me when we get home, but that´s typical for me. So far it´s under control.