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21st August 2006 - Peru Trip - Day 13, July 16th - Lima

By now everyone had gone back to the USA except me. Steve and Angie took me into downtown Lima. When we got there it was full of people celebrating some festival – all the men were dressed in gangster clothing complete with wooden machine guns.

Found out later that this festival is called La Virgen del Carmen, and is mainly celebrated in Cusco and Pucara. That would explain the Virgin Mary being carted around then... but not the gangsters! There were lots of brightly coloured and elaborate costumes on display. All the following photos were taken with Angie’s point and shoot camera that I borrowed.

photos from festival

On our way to find a bite to eat a young boy was hassling us to buy finger puppets. Instead Steve asked him if he was hungry – he was genuinely taken aback by this, but followed us for a sandwich and a drink.

We decided as we were being stupid tourists that we would take stupid tourist photos.

general photos from square and tourist photos

Later we went to a theatre called Teatro Canout in Miraflores. They did quick and funny sketches of normal life in Peru, using only improvised instruments – clay pots etc. Although I didn’t understand a word, you didn’t need to as it was acted out so well in a visual sense.

After this I was taken to a remote back street to sample some street food. On the way we encountered two police cars, and here I got a sense of how they are thought of – Angie’s Peruvian friend was driving.

The first encounter involved a police car heading at us in the opposite direction down a narrow street. He stopped next to us and asked if we had seen a grey car. "No" she replied. He then asked us to pull over further down the road. Again "no" was the answer and we drove off. Afterwards she told us that it would be far too much hassle to stop – so she didn’t!

Later on we jumped a red light turning right, and unluckily, a police car was on the opposite side of the junction. He put his lights and siren on and followed us.

Two blocks later, and still driving he started to shout through his external speakers on the car to pull over and stop. No response – we carried on driving. Two blocks later he shouted again and this time we pulled over.

After the policeman inspected all the paperwork he said that he would give her a ticket. After much debating, pouting, pleading and indignation, a bribe was decided upon – we paid and went on our way.

Afterwards we learned that you can bribe the police because they are paid so little. Also if you give up your licence, you have to retrieve it down the police station and that would take hours of waiting and a $200 US fine. We paid a bribe of $20 US after the policeman explained he needed gas in his car – and that there were two of them.

Anyway, on to the snack of the night - cows hearts on skewers (anticuchos) with a side of tripe. The cows hearts were good, but the tripe was... well... tripe. We looked for a bin to throw away the tripe leftovers, but they had all been taken away as everyone was packing up for the night – so we left them on the plastic table – as soon as we stepped away all the street kids pounced like vultures on the leftovers – at least they would be full that night.