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Thursday, May 18, 2023: Looking Forward to Lima

My father has passed away. Dad always teased Rob about his love of travel but encouraged us to explore the world. He looked forward to our return with stories of great adventures. This time, of course, my return will be much different.

Rob had planned a trip to Peru for over a year which was on and off again due to political reasons, trips no longer available, illness, etc. However, we left today for what is MY first trip to South America. Rob has been to Chile with our daughter, Julie in 2017.

We left our apartment in disarray as we needed to empty my dad’s room at Seaside Skilled Nursing Facility. It will take time to go through his things. My mom used to say, “When an old person dies, a library burns to the ground.”  I loved his stories and wrote many of them down, but I am sure that there was so much more. When he would struggle to remember a name. I would reassure him by saying, “Let’s not worry about what we can’t remember. Let’s write down what we do remember.”

In that spirit, I write what I do remember on my trips … so away we go.

We arose at 2:30am, our Uber arrived at 4:00am. Our flight left for Miami at 6:00am. We were already exhausted!!

We had a six-hour layover in Miami. We looked for the Priority Lounge for rest and repast and hitched a ride on one of those golf carts that said Priority Lounge Turkish Airlines. Our driver’s name was José. We could only spend a maximum of four hours in the lounge so he said that he would pick us up at 1:00 and take us to our gate.

It became obvious that SPANISH IS SPOKEN HERE. English definitely is a second language in Miami. In fact, the USA has the second most Spanish speakers behind Mexico – 42 million native speakers and 15 million who speak Spanish as a second language.

One always sees bizarre t-shirts while traveling. There was a very large, buxom woman wearing a pink t-shirt that said in big bold white lettering: FARTS. And, as it was, I saw her in the bathroom. I wasn’t sure if it was a pride thing or a beware sign. Upon closer inspection (and I really didn’t want to get too close), the byline said: Find A Reason To Smile. Well, I guess, passing gas IS a reason to smile. If my brother and nephew caught wind of this idea, I am sure it would become highly sought after merchandise on their website.

We left the lounge and looked for José, but he was nowhere to be seen. I started to sing “Do You Know the Way to Find Jose?” And there he was.

Cascading Problems

Our American flight to Lima had many delays. First there was a pin that had sheared off of the front landing gear. It took a while to realize that they couldn’t replace just the pin but needed to replace the whole gearbox. We were allowed to get out of our seats and stretch our legs. It was a six-hour flight. They went to find the part and then had to install it. At last the work was done. We were told to sit down, that we were going to takeoff soon. Next, we needed to find a new push back crew. That took a while. Then the pilot didn’t like the tug that the push back crew was using. They sent someone to find another tug. People on the plane stood up again. Once we were up, we were told to sit down because it was time to go. Before we could get to our seats, the plane suddenly started to move. We heard our safety briefing while taxing to the runway. We waited on the runway since we had lost our turn in line and must wait for an opening. 2 1/2 hours late we finally took off.

I am sure that you are exhausted by reading this account, but, you must know that all of this was communicated in two languages!!

On takeoff, as we picked up speed, our airplane serpentined down the runway. Once we were airborne, the Peruvian lady named Julia who was next to me crossed herself. I am not Catholic, but I said a few prayers of thanks to my Lord Jesus Christ as well.

Julia didn’t speak English but she very kindly allowed me to practice speaking Spanish. She crossed herself when we landed as well.

There isn’t a lot of green spaces in Lima but here was an exception.
There are some angry protests taking place in Peru nowadays. Nothing happened in the city square of Lima, but they were ready.
We stopped at a hole in the wall where no one spoke English. It was fun to exercise our serendipity muscles.
I wondered why this plant had been eaten on the end of every leaf. It turns out that it is “born this way” and is called a fishtail palm.
I asked the name of this plant. I was embarrassed to learn that it is called Hairy Balls. I had to ask!!

Casa Aliaga

This impressive home has been handed down for 18 generations and was built in 1535.
Large carved wooden doors are at the entrance.
Connections made! Christopher Columbus was from the south of Spain, Andalusia. Therefore, New World Spanish is a lot like the Spanish pronunciation in Andalusia. Our linguist daughter, Elle, has so many interesting language insights.
Art influenced by the Flemish school of art hangs on the walls of the entryway.
The Louis 16th furniture allows this room to be called Little Versailles.
A ficus tree with orchids and ferns is in the inner courtyard of the home reminiscent of the riads in Morocco. The Moors came to Peru and here one sees that influence.
Rob wanted to eat dinner here. The house is available for dinners and weddings. The current owner has made some rooms available in order to make money for the upkeep. There are 50 rooms!
These are beautiful wood carved panels on the ceiling of the dining room.
A private chapel for this devout Catholic family.
The portrait of the first owner is on the mantle and above the fireplace. His name was Don Jerónimo de Aliaga y Ramírez.

The house is handed down to the firstborn male. I imagine that you can’t change anything, only maintain the home. There will be no IKEA furniture in THIS house.

Vejer de la Frontera, Spain and Lima, Peru

What do those two cities have in common? While going around the city we see lots of balconies that extend from the house. We saw many of these in Spain (Moors) and also Turkey (Ottoman) where women were to be hidden from view. Now in Peru we see over 800 balconies in the city.

Our guide Abel told us that the Spanish men and conquistadors brought their Moorish slave women. Their wives were not interested in traveling to the New World. The slave women covered up their bodies except for one eye.

That rings a bell. When our daughter lived in Spain, she took us to a nearby city. She told us about the cobijadas: Ladies who covered themselves completely except for one eye. There is a statue to her in the town.

Circuito Mágico del Agua

This parque has over 13 fountains surrounded by lots of green space. Rob is standing in front of the Rainbow Fountain.
I am in front of the Pyramid fountain.
We topped of the evening with a colorful water show.

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