Fill ‘er up!
Our stop in the port of Callao which is a district of Lima signaled the end of the first segment of our World Cruise. About 400 passengers would be leaving us and 400 new guests arriving to fill their places. It was also time for filling the gas tank again. There were four sea days ahead before we would get to Easter Island our next stop. Oh, and we’d run out of strawberries (and I’m sure other things as well) so there were several containers of foodstuffs and supplies waiting to be loaded onto the ship. Staying overnight in the port gave us ample time to do our laundry and still get out to see some of the city of Lima.
For our entertainment on the night of our stay, a local group of traditional dancers and singers came aboard and performed. The costumes were colorful, the music lively, and the drummer amazing as he played a solo on some sort of box shaped drum. One fellow played what looked like a recorder the whole time and another was fast fingered on a ukulele.
Saturday morning we boarded a bus for our panoramic tour of Lima. The tour took us through the colonial part of the city and to the town square where the stately government buildings and the cathedral are and where we were able to spend a few minutes walking about.
In front of the palace of the president were folklore performers from the mountain areas all in their local costuming and dancing in the courtyard.
Street vendors carried large trays of churros which had some sort of filling in them, maybe chocolate and tempted the crowd with them. Just before the bus rounded the corner at our pickup spot, we were able to duck into a church and see some of the interior before we had to scurry aboard the bus again.
Lima is divided into 43 districts and as we passed through several of them just as in any large city, the housing and population varied. The Miraflores district is probably the fanciest and is where all the large hotels are located. It is right on the shoreline which is bordered by a cliff that extends much of the way along the beach.
Here we got to get out of the bus again and walked through the “Love Park.” Mosaic tiled walls decorated the park area and surrounded the main attraction, a sculpture called The Kiss. Here on Valentine’s Day there will be a contest for the longest kiss.
The bus stopped once again in front of the huge Marriott hotel where the shuttle from our ship was taking people and dropping them off for a walk about town. In the area there are lots of shopping opportunities—all underground. Our guide said there were four levels of restaurants and shops. As I’ve said before, I’m not a shopper so we continued on with the tour bus as it wound its way down to a highway by the beach and we started back to the ship.
The scenery changed once again from fancy buildings and nice apartments to poorer areas where buildings were in disrepair. It was interesting to note that some very basic housing, perhaps cast off building materials, topped off some of the buildings.
As if the contrast wasn’t enough in the housing, we passed two hospitals, one for those who had insurance and one for those who didn’t who had to pay for all services or work their debt off. Our guide indicated that average income was around $600-700 a month and about $1200 for professionals like doctors.
As I write this, I’m looking out my stateroom window onto the top of the bunker that is supplying our fuel and feeling a little vibration and wondering if that is coming from the bunker or the pumps that are filling those tanks up. As long as it gets us to our next ports it’s fine. Wonder if the captain just yells, “fill ‘er up.” Even more interesting: Does he pay with a credit card at the pump?