Monday, December 15, 2008

Lima, Peru

Buenos Dias! Bienvenida a Lima, Peru! Or in other words, good day! Welcome to Lima, Peru! I got the chance to visit the capitol of Peru. It was only for a day. In fact, I spent more time on airplanes than I did in Peru, but I had a great time.

Lima is the capitol of Peru, and was officially founded in 1532 by Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro, though the area was previously inhabited and considered part of the Inca Empire. Lima was under the Spanish flag until 1821 when it's tumultuous birth as an independent nation began with the aid of Argentinian and Chilean forces.

Lima's climate is that of a humid desert. It's sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Andean mountain range on the east. Being on the windward side of the mountains, it gets lots of balmy ocean breezes, but very little actual rainfall. In fact, they average only 0.3 inches of rain each year!

On the nice side, the average temperature is quite mild. The average temperature January through March is 79 F, while the average temperature in its coldest month, August, is only 64 F! Imagine living in a place where you never need a rain jacket or umbrella, and the most you would need is a light-weight jacket in the winter.

I actually got a rare opportunity to fly Business Class. Let me tell you, this is the only way to fly!

Just like any major city, they have big highways to get you from point A to point B efficiently.

They often used colorful pain on their buildings. Click on the image below to get a larger view. What you may notice is that the top floor of these buildings are not finished. Perhaps you can make out some re-bar sticking out of the tops. That's because there is a loophole in the real estate tax law that says a building can only be taxed once it is completely constructed. You don't see this much until you get to the outskirts of the city.

At this big intersection there is no traffic light. Instead, there is actually a police officer directing traffic! You can click on the picture for a larger view. The yellow booth under the light post is an elevated platform where the officer waves his arms and blows his whistle. This was the only intersection direct by an officer that I saw. The rest had traffic lights or stop signs. I'm not sure why this one is special.

There was plenty of interesting architecture around...

And there were plenty of cool homes...

Like these...

And this one...

And that one...

Even the fire escape looks stylish on this building.

Despite lacking rainfall, there were a few city-owned gardens throughout Lima. Many of the gardens are watered by tanker trucks.

Motorbike taxis, like the one on the right side of the photo, were common, especially in the suburban regions.

It's just me, taking in some Spanish-influenced architecture. Later!