Friday, March 24, 2017

Three Days in Lima Peru: A Photographic Journey*

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to accompany the Brooklyn College debate team to Peru. While Lima never topped the list of places I thought I'd visit one day, I have wanted to explore Latin America for sometime, so learning that I would be going there came as a nice surprise.

Lima's history is actually quite relevant to one of my classes, topping a section of my Shaping of the Modern World class. Therefore, once I learned I was going to go there, I was especially excited to have the chance to see the city up close, and to discover its rich history. Just last year, I was able to go to Dakar, Senegal, and even my short trip there allowed me to understand aspects of West Africa that I could never learn in a history book. Just like Senegal, by visiting I will now be able to teach it better.     

So, what happens when "@IstanbulTelAviv" (my twitter handle) goes to Lima? Answer: an amazing trip full of exploration, education, and taste for more! On this trip, I also took with me my Sony Alpha full frame, A7ii, and a 50mm Rokinon 1.4-16 lens. So, here are 16 photos of Lima that pretty much explain the exciting days I had there: 

The first question after I arrived was "where am I?," since it looked awfully familiar. Well, I stayed in Miraflores, an upscale neigborhood in Lima, which reminded me of a mix of Etiler or Suadiye (Istanbul) and Herzliya Pituah (Northern Tel Aviv). However, the main center of Miraflores was actually much more of a copy of Tel Aviv's Sderot Rothschild, with the pedestrian walkway shaded by trees surrounded by traffic on both sides. 

Image may contain: tree and outdoor
Av. Jose Pardo, Miraflores, Lima. 

From the above walkway, I hit the main square in Miraflores, right next to Kennedy Park, which is filled with restaurants and a department store. It was a Sunday, and the municipality had closed a main road to car traffic opening it to bicycles and skateboarders. This street would eventually lead me to the colonial quarters of the Lima. Following my google maps, I ventured along, Av. Arequipa, and walked for almost 3-4 miles, admittedly a mistake since I had no idea it would take me that long to get to the "sights" I had planned to see. However, on the way, I enjoyed the architecture and the atmosphere. I also ventured off on some of the side streets. In the end, one discovers a city by walking. And, this is what I did! 

A side street off the main Arequipa

After a few hours I finally reached Parque de la Exposición, where I wanted to visit the Art Museum. The park was originally opened in 1872 for the Lima International Exhibition.  Even if it was a park that seems that it had better days in the past, it was still filled with families, and plenty of young lovers. Upon entering I came across a crowd watching a singer and two dancers. A nice surprise, and the shade came in real handy. By then it was about 30c/86f. 

A break from the heat and some culture; Parque de la Exposición

From here I went to the Museum of Art of Lima, known by the acronym, MALI.  According to its website, the museum traces: "3,000 years of history from the earliest Andean civilizations until modern times. Known as the Palacio de la Exposición, the building that is now home to the museum is located at the entrance to the Lima’s historic center and is one of the earliest and most important works built using the new technique of cast-iron construction."

One of the many figurines found in the ancient section of the museum

In addition to the beautiful MALI museum, the park is filled with different types of architecture, which were built especially for the above-mentioned 1870s International Exhibition, such as the "Byzantine Pavillion," seen below.

Families and balloons-A beautiful Day in the Park

Once passing the park, I continued on and reached the historic colonial center of Lima, and it was as beautiful as I imagined. However, I found a side shop to sit down and relax, where they sell different fresh juices and snacks. After a cold mix of bananas and oranges, I was ready to move on.

One of the many small stores one can grab a fresh glass of mixed fruit juice

From here I continued crossing historic squares and finally reached the Main Square of Lima, the Plaza Mayor de Lima. Here I experienced the heavy Spanish influence, with locals mixing among the many tourists.

One of the many beautiful fountains in Lima

Here there were numerous of pedestrians avenues, where I was able to forget myself in the crowds; by this time I was dead tired (well I did literally cross a huge part of Lima) and was thinking about going home. 

Crowds of people walk just beyond the Mayor Plaza de Lima

However, before I could blink, I had already walked past the colonial architecture only to cross into a new sphere, a view of the Cerro San Cristobal, and view of the colorfully painted slums that hugged the huge hill, which serves as a lookout point for all of Lima. However, I opted out on venturing any farther. My day was done, or was it?

These waters coming from the Andes would turn into floods in just days. Cerro San Cristobal. 

The day was coming to an end, and as I was making my way back to the main square I took refuge in one of many churches for a few minutes, and then was back on my way. Before I knew it, there was a loud marching band, that bid farewell to me as I made my way back to the hotel. However, after walking the whole day for easily over 5 miles/11 kilometers, I hopped in a cab and made my way back to the beautiful Miraflores. What a day I had! 

A dance group on  a street in Lima, part of a festival of folklore put on by its municipality

The next day, right about dusk, I ventured out to the neighborhood of Barranc0, on about a two mile walk from Miraflores. What started off as a cool walk through a trendy neighborhood, ended up not so nice, with me walking along a traffic filled highway. However, after over an hour of following my google maps, I finally reached Barranco, what was described to me as the "Bohemian" neighborhood (equivalent to NYC's Williamsburg, Tel Aviv's Florentin, Istanbul's Cihangir, and Beirut's Mar Mikhail, or a microscopic Berlin). In the end, it was well worth the walk.  

Walking on Av. Almte Miguel Grau one can come across amazing wall murals, including by famed street artist Jade Rivera. Barranco district, Lima Peru.

I was so amazed by the wall murals and street art that I almost forgot the reason I came to Barranco, which was to see Lima's Bridge of Sighs, Puente de los Suspiros, built in the late 19th century. Both on the level of the bridge, and the small path under it, which leads to the Pacific Ocean, is home to small narrow alleyways, lined with small quaint restaurants. 

Lima's Bridge of Sighs, Puente de los Suspiros. Restaurants, bars, and plenty of people just hanging out.

From Barranco, I hopped on a "dollar bus" that was going back to Miraflores. Living in Turkey for years, I am use to hopping on this type of a transportation (Turkish: Dolmuş). It basically is a van or a small bus that follows bus lines quite closely but picks and drops people off often not at a stop, but the closest place one needs to get off or on. In fact, in Brooklyn, anyone that lives on Flatbush are familiar with the same type of transportation, where it is referred it to as a "dollar van."

Testing out my new Rokinon lens' bokeh on a Peruvian Dolmuş

Hopping on the dolmuş was not a bad idea. Before I knew it I was discovering a different way back to Miraflores, and suddenly hopped off when I passed the luxury mall, Larcomar, built on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. 

Don't like malls? Still, Larcomar is a must see,a beautiful view of Lima's coastline

The cliffs of Lima make it difficult to get down to its beaches, however they make for a stunning view!

From either way you look, the cliffs of Lima provide a stunning view
The last morning, before I left Lima, I had one more place on my to do list, and that was to see the ancient city of Huaca Pucllana, a city that was found by the Lima peoples between 200-700 AD. This pyramid that is made out of clay and adobe provides an excellent portrait of what Lima was hundreds of years before the Spanish arrived. Indeed, a spectacular site, which one day will be integrated into my Shaping of the Modern World class.

One of the sides of what is left from this ancient pyramid

I left Peru after five days (three days touring, the rest stuck in the hotel working on an academic article on Ottoman Palestine!) with a taste of I want more, not only of its history and culture, but also its mouthwatering foods and dishes. Hopefully, one day I will return, but if not, these photos will help me remember how great this short trip turned out to be. So, until them, chau! 

*Like the photography? Follow me on instagram @louisfishman; or on twitter at @istanbultelaviv