Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lima Part 2: A Bike Tour, Paragliding, and a Chocolate Museum

My first full day in Lima was really busy.

After breakfast I headed out to take a bike tour.  It covered mostly the Barranco and Chorillos area of Lima, which is along the coast.  There was a Chilean couple from Valdivia on the tour too, and our tour guide Juliana was young but very knowledgeable and energetic.  

The tour started out in Miraflores.  We made our way over a bridge and arrived in Barranco (ravine in English).  The divide between Miraflores and Barranco was very clear with the bridge, and Juliana told us about the history of Peruvian politics.  I don´t remember all of the details, but since the 1970s Peru has had its ups and downs.  There has been a young president that was  too young to know what they were doing and caused hyperinflation, another that eradicated the problem of terrorism in his first term but then was hated for the money he stole in his second term, and others in between.   

We then went to another area of Barranco and got to see an old church.  This area was a bit more upscale, and as we walked down some stairs some musicians came along and played some music for us.  It was really cool seeing how they used the wooden boxes they were sitting on like drums.  Then we came to a bridge with a superstition.  If you cross it while holding your breath you can get a wish to come true.  Of course I went and did it.  

After that, we biked to a public area that was up high and had an amazing view.  Juliana told us that there were very few of them left, and she then drew our attention to two apartment buildings.  Apparently the one behind the other one was constructed first, but then some other people decided to build in front of it so they would have a better view.  The second building was on unstable ground, but Juliana told us that there´s a saying in Peru that if people have money that they don´t care about rules and regulations.  

The yellow building was built first.  I wouldn´t be happy if I
were them either.
I would love to wake up to that view each day.
For the last part of the tour we went to Chorillos.  We took a winding road down along the coast, and then we came to an area to stop.  There´s a seafood restaurant along the ocean, and Juliana told us a story about the Peruvian Romeo and Juliet.  Apparently there was a young man and woman who met and fell in love, but because of their families they had to keep their love a secret.  When her father found out about them, he put her in a convent.  Even after that they managed to see each other, and she became pregnant.  At one point being apart became too much for them, and they went to the spot where we were at and jumped off the cliff to commit suicide.  

Now every day there is a man who commemorates this event by dressing as a monk and jumping off the rocks into the water.  He does so between noon and 12:15 each day, and we got to see him.  Afterwards he went to us and some other tourists, and we gave him a bit of money and got a picture with him.

There he is looking out to the sea.
Getting ready to jump.....
There he went!  You can see his rope against the rocks.  If you
look closely you can see him climbing back up again.
And I thought I was adventurous!
We then made our way back to Barranco, and that was the end of the tour.  

I headed back to the hostel, and after they made a quick call for me they told me that the weather was perfect to go paragliding.  Yay!

It was about a 20 minute walk to the park, and there was a stand set up and a bunch of instructors helping people paraglide.  After giving them the name of the instructor from the phone call (Lucho from FlyAdventure), they told me to come through.  I signed a security waiver and was taken over to another guy named Marco.  He introduced himself, and I decided I wanted to get a camera to record my flight.  It was 80 extra soles (about 30 dollars), but I thought it would be worth it. 

I got suited up and was then jerked around (literally) between the instructor and an assistant to get us off the ground.  Once we were in the air I put my arms up on the sides, but Marco pulled them down forcefully and barked at me to keep them at my side. Not exactly what I was expecting. 

The view was amazing, as we were right along the beach.  I tried not to let what happened before bother me, but then during the course of the flight, Marco asked me what my name was two more times.  Not exactly what I was expecting either. 

I landed and was stripped of my gear, and Marco gave me a handshake and then called for the next person.  I walked away from the experience really frustrated but decided to let it go.

On to my next adventure: a chocolate museum!  Apparently it´s only been in existence for a few years, but it was really cool.  They run workshops that show you how chocolate is made and even let you make your own chocolate.  They had some that were 2 hours and others that were 45 minutes.  Since I was hungry I opted for the 45 minute one.  

The guide showed me what the pods look like that grow cocoa beans as well as the areas where they grow.  She then showed me the process for making chocolate, from removing the shell of the cocoa bean to refining it all the way through.  She then let me choose a mold and a flavoring to use to make my own chocolates.  Given the choices of roses, crosses, pregnant women, babies, hearts, and Christmas decorations I chose Christmas decorations.   The flavorings were cocoa, ají (a Peruvian spice), nuts, cinnamon, Oreos, orange, and a few others I can´t remember offhand.  I went with cinnamon.

After sprinkling some cinnamon in, I filled each mold with more chocolate.  They put it in the freezer, and I had about half an hour to wait.  I browsed the gift shop, chatted with some of the employees, and enjoyed some cocoa tea while I waited. 

The time went by quickly, and my chocolate was ready!  They helped me pack it into a decorative bag, and after a few purchases from the gift shop I was on my way.  

On my way back to the hostel I got some ají de gallina for dinner.  It´s a typical Peruvian dish with chicken, potatoes, egg, and olive in a creamy spicy sauce.  After all of that adventure I called it a day and headed back to the hostel.

We´ll see what the rest of my time in Peru has in store for me. 

1 comment:

  1. The Peruvian Romeo and Juliet story is quite interesting. So is the guy jumping off the cliff to commemorate what happened.
    About Marco, just reading what he did to you pissed me off. I think if I'd been in your shoes I would have threatened to kill us both if he didn't treat me with respect. Can't wait to read more about your adventures in Peru