Lima was a city that grew on me. I found a lot of things challenging about Lima: the hot, humid weather (and lack of AC) nearly drove me to the brink on numerous occasions, electrical outlets that are too loose to hold a plug, and my stomach struggled for the first 2.5 weeks with the local food (not to mention a quick bout with food poisoning). And let’s not mention the fact that you cannot flush toilet paper. Lima also, despite its approximate 10 million residents, felt like suburbia to me. It wasn’t a city I felt an immediate connection to, and yet, leaving felt a bit bittersweet.
It’s hard for me to separate my overall experience in Lima from the city itself. It was our first month of Remote Year and I had a lot of fun getting to know this crazy tramily (that’s “travel family” for those of you unaware of RY’s lingo). I met some amazing people and had some unforgettable memories this month, all with the backdrop of Lima. We also had an amazing city team – those ladies are ones I know will cross my path again someday. I felt like I truly experienced Lima because of the city team, especially Gaby, who was so proactive with recommendations and always down to hang out with us. Gaby literally feels like part of our Polaris group! It would have been a vastly different experience without our amazing city team.
Objectively, Lima also has a stunning coastline and some of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen. Lima’s beauty is truly underrated. Miraflores, the neighborhood we lived and worked in, was also a fairly easy place to live. Miraflores is the posh part of Lima, very residential and safe. My building had a 24 hour doorman, and the streets of my neighborhood had attendants that would watch the cars parked on the street. While I didn’t walk alone at night, even a few blocks, I think it would have been reasonably safe to do so.
“These are a few of my favorite things…”
And now, a few of my favorites this month:
Go-to meetup spot: La Esquina Wine Bar. They have a great wine list, phenomenal food, and a cute atmosphere. The manager knew my favorite wine after the first visit, and I still dream about their pasta.
Lunch spot: La Preferida. There weren’t a lot of good food options near the workspace, but La Preferida was a solid option for Lomo Saltado or Ceviche.
Restaurant: La Lucha. Some of the best sandwiches I have ever had. I cannot believe it took me most of the month to try them (and then I had them about 6 times in the last week and a half).
Bar: Ayahuasca. This place had such a cool vibe: it was a converted mansion with tons of rooms to explore and an awesome back patio/courtyard. I only made it there once, but it’s definitely on my list of recommendations.
Tradition: Monday nights at La Cachina. This cute little bar had live music, and by midnight the entire bar was on their feet salsa dancing. Note: pisco shots are a bad idea (Or so my “friend” tells me. haha).
Shower: the hotel in Aguas Calientes (Gringo Bills). The showers in Lima and Cusco were terrible, but the one shower I got at the hotel after Machu Picchu was memorable after a month of ice cold showers in Lima!
Delivery service: Rappi. In Lima, there’s an app called Rappi, which lets you have nearly anything delivered to you for a small fee. You can order from restaurants, grocery stores, and more and have items delivered to you in under an hour for around $2 USD.
Souvenir: the only souvenir I purchased this month was a couple of bracelets from a lady in Cusco.
Favorite night out: St Patrick’s Day. I can’t really even articulate why – I just had more fun than should be allowed on a Sunday evening as a “proper adult.”
Level 3 (ok, level 2.5) fun: getting my one and only jacket stolen at a club in Cusco.
Culture shock: the driving in Lima is absolutely terrible. Crossing the street feels like you’re risking your life in a game of frogger, and even riding in an Uber makes you question if you’ll arrive in one piece. If there are any traffic laws at all in Peru, it seems they are not followed.
The best thing I packed: a USB desk fan. This was a godsend after having arriving to the workspace drenched in sweat after a short 15 minute walk from my apartment.
Song: Macklemore’s “And We Danced” – a fellow remote (hi, Joe!) posted this in our slack channel a few days prior to leaving Peru, and it felt representative of our time here. We had a lot of laughs, a few cries, a lot of dancing, and a really, really, really good time.