At rest in the den of thieves

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
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Andean Adventure

At rest in the den of thieves
December 15, 1996

Siesta time in Lima
Crime. It is the prevailing theme in any discussion of travel in Peru. Greater than the ruins of the Incan empire, the stories of theft, robbery, and treachery have spread across the South American continent. At the Explorers' Clubhouse in Quito, Ecuador, there is a special packet on travel to Peru. The section entitled "How Not to Get Robbed in Peru" is seven pages long.

Strange then that our days in Lima have been so relaxing. For Nan, our layover here has been a chance to gather strength after a long, persistent bout with illness in Quito.

We've both been amazed at how clean the city is in comparison to Quito. Our days have been spent at the beach or taking long walks along the malecon, a flower-lined path stretching along the coast.

It seems as though Lima is constantly amazing us with the cleanliness, the sense of space, the refined architecture, cash machines that work, American products in the supermarkets, orderly and safe money exchanges in the streets ...

We realize that so many of these perceptions come in contrast to Ecuador — a country that for us defined the essence of South America.

As our first model it served to outline life south of the equator. Now that vision will constantly be refined as we begin to recognize and separate facets of life unique to each country and locale.

It is true that Lima is not the cleanest city in the world. Nor does it boast the most magnificent architecture. However, coming from Quito these are just some of the things that leap out at us like spots of color in a black-and-white photo. Otherwise I am sure Lima has its dangers — especially when contrasted with the tranquility of Quito. It is certain, though, that Lima is a city on the move. The economy is stable and inflation is way down from a decade ago. It is normal to see people with both dollars and soles in stores. Public works are evident throughout the city and the entire populace seems concerned with creating a better impression.

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

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