Where I come from – Kolhapur, India – Peru (पेरू) is the word for guava. As a nice tribute/ coincidence, my first meal in Lima was “guava y funghi” – pasta stuffed with guava in a delicious mushroom sauce with paprika foam. I don’t get all the fuss about new-age food in foam form, but the meal was delicious. I figured out the guava-Peru significance only much later, probably this morning, after the stomach groaned from all the chow overload over the past 30-odd hours.
The flights were loooong, and I felt obliged to eat everything they served, as I had opted for the ‘special’ Asian vegetarian meals. We had a longish layover at Amsterdam, where we stuffed ourselves with more coffee and bread-y meals, just because. Schiphol Airport is supposed to be one of the nicest in the world. We just picked the time when they’re in the process of making it nicer for the future, consequently, painful today. Airports in Asia have left rest of the world far behind in look, feel and process. Even our humble Soekarna-Hatta airport seems like a breeze compared to the exit process in Lima. The luggage trolley has to be one of the indicators of smartness of an airport. Lima certainly has the ones from the last century. And we had a lot of suitcases, all of which had to be scanned at Customs. A word of advice to travellers – Must use the facilities that you see right at the gate after disembarking; there aren’t any more later, at least, none that you can spot easily. And if you ate on the flight like we did, ahem….
Still on the topic of food, Peru has one of the newly popular cuisines of the world, so I hear. The restaurant at our Business Tower Hotel, Quimera, certainly is on the spot with their food and presentation. I passed the sampler bite of salmon and cheese to Souvik (too fishy for me, after a micro-lick). I’m loving their serving bowls and platters, and since we’ll be here for a few days, I might get to see those again.
On the ‘immersion’ aspect, I’ve tried to cram some basic Spanish words into my vocabulary, and was successful in blurting “gracias” to the immigration lady. Mental exercise is good for the brain! I may also avoid jet lag, thanks to all the movie watching on flight, and a well-deserved deep sleep last night. There’s a small concern of altitude sickness and acclimatisation (seriously, who thinks up all these?), for which I have pills (thanks, Sonia), and instructions to drink plenty of water and walk very slowly (hah, my body is perfect for that). The plan for today is to find my way downtown, and get a feel of the city. I’ve noticed that the ‘uniform’ for women is jeans and boots; glad I packed mine. Whether I can last a whole day in boots remains to be seen. Time to put myself out on the streets of Lima!