During this time, what I’ve been craving more than anything is the freedom that comes from traveling the world on your own. When I feel nostalgic, I dive deep inside of that nostalgia and kick it up a notch. I find that when emotions need to be felt, sometimes opening up and absorbing yourself into the feeling allows for it to pass, leaving me with gratitude and longing for my next adventure.
I’ve decided I wanted to share some of my journal entries of those travels, and Peru feels like a good place to begin. This post is a lot different from what I normally write on here, but I’m excited to experiment the ways in which I can talk about my travels best. You could call this my first attempt at that.
The journey from Lima to Cusco to Iquitos felt like a spiritual one, with each city healing a different part of me. Because there is so much documented, I thought I would split this up into a series.
So I’ll begin with the city I spent the shortest amount of time in, but still left with more than what I came with. This is my arrival at Lima, Peru back in September 2018.
Lima, Peru – Day One
It’s a little chilly out today. Not cold, but not warm either. Similar to Vancouver, but on foreign ground.
The minute the shuttle bus started to drive, I fell in love with this place. It’s a worn-down city, as far as I’ve seen, much like Chiang Mai. But it has so much character. You can sense the resilience of Lima the second you step off the plane.
Water tastes so good right now. I’ve driven far past the point of dehydration. Sitting in a small vegan restaurant called La Verde, I’ve noticed that everyone has shown me the utmost extent of kindness here.
After getting a little lost once the shuttle dropped us off, a woman who was a complete stranger to me noticed my confusion and walked me all the way to the hostel I am staying at. I went over to purchase a sim card for my phone and the Claro customer service representativewalked me through the entire process and forgot to charge me for it. That is until it struck me as I left, only to come back and remind her. This is not the only time this has happened today. Everyone is so kind that they keep forgetting to ask me to pay them. It’s both hilarious and moving.
There’s this sense of comfort I feel here that I can’t pinpoint or tell you with certainty where exactly it came from. Maybe being lost is comforting right now. Maybe it’s Peru. Maybe it’s the taste of arriving somewhere you feel like you’ve always known. All I can say is that I’m at home already.
Day Two– Indulge
If I were to compare Peru to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” journey, Lima would be ‘eat’. And then, once you’re finished, eat some more. I write here as I indulge in a chocolate cake inside of a cafe that sits next to my hostel.
Lima asks you to indulge. Indulge in food, colour, vibrancy, art, music, people – all of it, and who am I to refuse?
Day Three – Telling Stories
Because it never rains in Lima, all of their water comes from one river that runs all the way from the Andean mountains. I learned today, how in the 16th and 17th century, women began to cover themselves up completely. All you could see was their one eye.
The reason for this was if a married woman was ever seen talking to a man who was not her husband, she would be shamed by the Catholic community. They covered themselves up so you couldn’t tell who they were. It was an act of rebellion, really.
This soon became a controversy because some women chose to cover up so they could cheat on their husbands and mothers-in-law would purposefully flirt with sons-in-law to see if they would cheat on their wives.
This really pissed off a lot of men. They feared the risk of flirting with a woman who could be twice their age, or someone they deemed to be “unattractive”, or worse: their relative!
Back then, the Catholic religious system was rising and even today, it remains a large part of Peru’s political climate.
After the Pisco tasting (i.e.: free shots of Peruvian alcohol), myself and this girl I met who is from Hong Kong set off to Basílica y Convento de San Francisco. I learned that all people from the Catholic faith are buried beneath churches. This stems from the belief that the closer you are to the altar of a church, the less you will have to struggle when you die, and the easier it will be for you to get into heaven. The problem is, only the rich can afford to be buried so closely, which means the majority of people have to come to terms with this notion that even when they are dead, they will face even more struggle. Talk about unfair…
I walked all the way to Barranco in the late afternoon and sat at the edge of a cliff, overlooking the ocean. I wandered around some more and on my way back, stumbled upon this vegan restaurant called, El Jardin de Jazmin. It was probably more pricey than what I would have liked to pay, but the experience was worth it.
Lima, you have been so kind and colourful. You have taught me so much and I know I only have more to learn. I am blown away by the history of strong women that existed here and still do. It seems that for now, I’ll have to say goodbye as it’s almost time to see what the city of Cusco has to offer. Until then.