Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
We began our last day in Peru with a quick flight from Cuzco back to Lima. I have to say, I love flying Peruvian airlines. Although the flight was a mere hour at the most, the stewardesses took the time to serve us drinks, mini sandwiches, and dessert. American airlines have a lot to learn from Peru as far as food and beverages are concerned!
Once we arrived back in Lima, we basically had a twelve-hour layover between the Cuzco flight and our Delta flight back to Atlanta. We decided to kill some time by visiting the Parque de las Leyendas, Peru’s most famous (and potentially only) zoo. Our trip to the zoo marked our first visit to the San Miguel neighborhood. At this point, we have actually visited most of Lima: Miraflores, Central Lima, San Miguel, Callao and its various districts, San Isidro, and Pueblo Libre. We’re pretty proud of the exploring we’ve done!
The zoo was actually fairly similar to most zoos in the U.S., with one exception: Peru is actually home to the majority of the animals exhibited within. In fact, Peru is such a geographically diverse country that of the 31 climates that exist on the Earth, 20 can be found in Peru alone.
A map of the zoo. This was from the front entrance and thus intact, but the maps throughout the Parque were often eroded by the seasons and thus incomplete. Quite frustrating for our navigation. Incidentally, the zoo also boasted of a Petroleum Museum (“Museo del Petroleo), which you can see in the upper-right quadrant of the map. We decided to skip this undoubtedly mind-blowing cultural site.
This is an evil goat that Briana befriended and wanted to take home with her. Lauren and Cindy were convinced that it was the spawn of Satan.
Parque de las Leyendas was divided into three major sections (the coast, the jungle, and the highlands), and a couple of international exhibitions. We visited the coast and the jungle regions thoroughly, but were kicked out before we could see the highlands. It was only 5:30 by this point, so we still had a good seven hours before our flight. We decided to get food (quelle surprise!).
For our last night in Lima, we decided to try our first taste of Peruvian-Chinese food. To be honest, Peruvian-Chinese food tastes mostly like Peruvian food, with slightly Chinese sauces. We spent an enjoyable time sampling the food and watching a weird Peruvian game show, reminiscent of the U.S. show Wipe Out for those of you who watch game shows laden with physical humiliation.
After dinner, we returned to the airport to wait for our flight. Unfortunately, after an hour, we learned that our plane had been delayed, and would not be leaving until two in the morning. Fortunately, while buying coffee, Cindy ran into Melecio and his coworker Juan, who had come to see us off.
We spent several hours talking with Melecio and Juan, who were eager to hear about our experiences in Cuzco and tell us about their recent successes: ASPAT has officially been recognized as a valued partner by the Stop T.B. Partnership, a U.S. based organization. By 10:30, the two men were ready to head off to bed, so we said a reluctant goodbye. Melecio, Judy (who couldn’t be there due to her son’s illness), and all the members of ASPAT have done so much for us in the past couple of weeks. We really did have an incredible opportunity in meeting them and learning more about their work, and we were very sad to see them go.
As I’m writing this post now, we’re still in the Lima airport waiting for more news on our flight. With any luck, we’ll be able to board in an hour or so, and be back in the U.S. tomorrow morning. That being said, we would all like to take this opportunity to thank you readers for your patience with our slow updates, and for following all of our adventures in Peru. We hope you’ve enjoyed the ride as much as we have, and have learned something in the process!