Dec 27th, 2007
I’m finally starting to write in my travel blog! Though the blog isn’t public yet, I feel that I’ve actually got something specific to say now so I want to start making some entries to provide a little background for you, dear reader.
I’ve begun planning my trip in earnest and I’m excited to have picked my first destination: Lima, Peru; population: 8 million.
This was chosen for no particular reason other than that I know I want to start my world travels in South America and Spanish is spoken in Lima. I also needed to quit thinking about it so much and just pick something! I was excited to talk with my friend Emily who spent 6 months living there and she’s been quite helpful and inspirational in making me feel comfortable about Lima.
Now that I know where I’m starting, I can begin to actually start planning some specifics for the first leg of the trip. I spent yesterday evening looking for places to stay, searching Lonely Planet’s Thorntree forum, and finding travel clinics in Indiana that I can get a yellow fever inoculation (important because they won’t let me in to Brazil after being in Peru without one).
I’m considering renting a room or apartment for a month in Lima and making it my base of operations. This is appealing to me as a way to get a better sense of what it’s like to actually live in Lima rather than staying in a hostel. However, a hostel stay is also certainly appealing based on the proximity it would offer me to other young travelers who could offer recommendations for other places to visit in Peru. I’ve always got the internet or bars to find recommendations, though.
Searching the Peru branch of Craiglist, I found a bunch of apartments in the Miraflores area of Lima. After a bit more reading, though, this area seems to be very “nice,” wealthy, potentially touristy, and having a western feel. These are all things I’m not interested in. According to oh-so-helpful Emily:
miraflores is definitely the rich part of town. so yes, it is also the touristy part of town. i went there a number of times, but it was sort of an indulgence. we would go to get falafel or see an american movie or go to a bar sometimes…but i had a love/hate relationship with it. i don’t think that it’s the “real” lima – or maybe it is a vision of how lima will become, which is kind of depressing and commercialized and westernized.
Emily says she’d live in the neighborhood called Barranco (she describes it as “the artist enclave part of town”) if she went back, which jives with what various random writers on the Thorntree forums had to say:
Barranco is the most beautiful district of Lima for everything: Magic, Bohemian, Romance, and Tradition. Specially among people who love history, arts, literature, bohemian life, romantic places and old Republic buildings. Is has all the opposite virtues Miraflores has right now, there you will see everyday how old beautiful houses just dissapear to give place to boring “modern” deparment buildings…
Barranco is indeed the coolest area to stay in in the Lima metropolis. Beautiful and quiet in day time, pumping at night! Republican architecture, flower parks, a beautiful little plaza with plenty of restaurants. It has more character than busy, ‘western’ Miraflores.
Barranco is the best neighourhood to stay, very relaxed in daytime and pumping at night.
Barranco it is!
Overall, planning for this trip seems like a very daunting task. It’s challenging to balance spending time at work and time with my friends against sitting down and really thinking about the trip. There is so much to consider, coordinate, buy, and learn. I want to focus on learning some Portuguese for my planned travel to Brazil. I’m trying to decide if I want to bother bringing my laptop with me which will probably get stolen eventually. I’m trying to decide if it’s going to be possible to get across the Atlantic on a boat. Where else to go in Peru while I’m there? Where else to go in South America? Where to go around the world?
It’s a lot to think about, but it’s exiting. I’m not going to over-plan it. I’m going to try to do what I can, take the first step on this trip, and release my fate to chance, circumstance, and a little bit of my own guidance.