Cabalgata

Cabalgata is Spanish for a horse ride – normally in the form of a procession.
Cabalgatas are a company in Lurín, Lima Province, Perú, where they provide horse riding tours of various lengths, plus shows featuring the Peruvian Paso horse which has a distinctive gait.

I had opted for the 2 hour ride which was an hour riding through the valley and another hour along the beach. There is an option of a 3rd hour during which you travel through the dunes. I was fairly sure that I would have been saddle sore after 3 hours.

I was excited, as I have been in Lima a month now and have not been out of the city.Hardly been out of Miraflores, although I do like it here. Having been told that once you get away from the city, the sun shines, I rushed out the night before to get some sunblock. Well never mind, the sun did make an effort a few times during the day but it was mainly overcast. Fortunately, I had a lightweight jacket with me so I was protected from the chill by the ocean.

The day got off to a shaky start. The taxi which was booked for 9AM was late. It finally arrived at 9.20 due to, el trafico. No disrespect intended but the Peruvians are well known for their tardiness, which makes me wonder why they are always in a hurry when they are driving.

We arrived late at the Cabalgatas stables by the same margin but of course it was not a problem, as we were not expected to be on time. The journey had taken about an hour and my driver, Jairo was very amiable and chatty. He also waited while I went on my tour and returned me to the penthouse afterwards, for a very fair price. He also doubled up as a photographer.IMG_0007 The horse, by the way, is “Conquistador”. He was very good and did everything that I wanted him too. Just not at the time I wanted him to do it.

After we went through the valley, Claudia (who runs Cabalgatas), returned to the stables with most of the group, leaving me to continue to the beach with Samuel, my guide.We were later joined on the beach by another rider

IMG_0014as we rode along next to the Pacific Ocean.

I had a great day and the only disappointment, which has no reflection on Cabalgatas, was the state of the beach. It looks like they use it as the equivalent of a landfill site. Except it is above ground and extends for several hundred metres and looks just like a tip. I am sure there is a valid reason for it but as a tourist, that reason evaded me.

More information and photographs are available on Cabalgatas blog pages.

Lima From The Bus

I had hoped to go on a sea kayak trip today, a new experience for me. However, the sea has got up and the tour operators have said that it is not going to possible until next week. I am happy that they are safety conscious, being a novice, and so I decided to take the bus tour of Lima. It was probably the coldest day of the two weeks I have been here and there was a hint of rain but I had to do something.

So, onto the big red bus. It cost 65 Nuevo Soles, which is about £15, I think. Probably average for this sort of tour,(I chose the basic one although they do a variety). It departed from Kennedy Park which is in the main part of Miraflores close to the City Hall IMG_0113[1].

The first stop was, Huaca Pucllana, which I visited last week. From there we headed through the suburbs to central Lima where there is quite a mixture of old and new architecture. The streets were filled with traffic, giving an opportunity to take in the views.

Some of the older properties are well maintained, DSCN0644_298  others need more than a lick of paint.  DSCN0639_293

The highlight of the tour was San Francisco church and monastery, including a walk through the catacombs. Unfortunately, photography was banned inside the building and as you can see, this rule is rigidly enforced.DSCN0662_316 The monastery contains many works of religious art and has magnificent carved ceilings. It also contains a library of more than 25,000 books many of which are centuries old.

The catacombs contain the bones of some 70,000 people who were buried there. The bones have been dug up and stacked in neat piles according to which part of the body they belonged.   DSCN0658_312 View from outside the monastery.

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Settling In

I have moved into a penthouse suite near to the hotel in which I was previously staying. When I say penthouse, I mean it is perched on the flat roof of a house. And when I say suite, I mean it is sweet, well sort of. It is basic to say the least but has a bed, use  of all the usual facilities and comes with a tv and wifi. Not only that, it costs just US$300 a month, which is not bad for accommodation in Miraflores.

I have mentioned previously, how friendly the local people are, so I was not surprised when, as I was walking back to my hotel after dinner the other night, whilst waiting to cross the road, a young woman politely smiled and said hello. I responded in kind, as I am keen to exploit every opportunity to practice Spanish, and we struck up a conversation.

We crossed the road and continued walking and talking until, after a few minutes she asked, “would you like a massage?”.

“No thank you”, I replied.

“Something else then?” she asked.

“Thank you for your offer but no”, I said.

“Don’t you think I am pretty?” she asked.

“Well of course I do.”,  I responded. And she was.

Her hand then moved towards my nether regions, “muy grande!” she exclaimed as she accidentally touched the spectacles case that was in my pocket.

At this point I became more insistent, finally managing to get her to understand that I was not interested and she switched her attention to a passing hombre.

I can’t help wondering what would have happened if the situation had been reversed and I had been trying to grab someone by the spectacles or similar. A night in the cells at least, probably.

The sequel to this is that the following day, I was in Kennedy Park in Miraflores, where free wifi is available. I was chatting with my daughter back in England, when a man came and sat nearby. He said hello and I replied. He started to talk about the park and the wifi, during which time I was still chatting to my daughter but not wanting to offend, I was responding to him.

He then asked, ” would you like a massage?”.

” No I would not!!”, I replied as assertively as I could.

“I am looking for a good time,” he said to me. In English this time.

“Well you won’t bloody well get one from me!”, I said, thinking, “If he tries to touch my spectacles case, there is going to be trouble”. But he just got up from the bench and walked away. What annoyed me most was that he switched to English, thinking I had not understood him. I understood only to well but I still enjoy the friendly open outlook of the people here.

Fountain in parque Kennedy in Miraflores/Lima,...

Fountain in parque Kennedy in Miraflores/Lima, Peru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)