Peru. Day 1 – Lima

Lima, Day 1 – Moral is high. Casualties, none. Weather, lovely. Planning, hard.

(Yes I did rip that off from the great desert navigator, Capt. Nate Ament and would like to dedicate this *first* blog post to its inspirer – Levi “Chieftain” Jamison.)

Miko and I kept talking about planning a trip over Christmas break. Or maybe New Years. Maybe we’d just plan a world tour and take off. Maybe we’d just go to Costa Rica. Maybe we just wouldn’t. Decisions are hard.

First we talked Bali. Or Bali with a stop off in Sydney. Or New Zealand. Or Morocco. Or Peru. Miko wanted to surf. I wanted to surf and something. But the particulars of the “and” didn’t matter much (hiking, safariing, fishing…something outside). “And” didn’t help narrow the search.

We settled on flying to Lima and figuring it out from there. So we’re in Lima, figuring it out. We just booked a flight to Trujillo for this evening. Then we’ll take a taxi to Huanchaco to surf while waiting to see if Chicama starts working. We’ll make it to Ecuador eventually. Along the way I’d like to stop off in Kuelap and make it to the Amazon Basin. That’s our detailed itinerary to date.

If you don’t know anything about these places, stay tuned. I’ll tell you more if I get there. If I don’t, what I have to say won’t be any more interesting than google.

So far we’ve flow from San Fran – over a farmed floodplain of the Colorado River, a massive aqueduct slicing through the desert to Phoenix, snow-covered arid flats somewhere in Texas, and, finally, flooded forests and houses and offshore oil wells – to make a slow, eerie, and very windy descent into Houston. Then we waited out an insane rainstorm and flew to Lima, with one hear-stopping, seatbelt straining drop along the way. We got in late – 2 am – and slept till 11.

After breakfast and a tour of a California-esque outdoor mall we went to the most amazing zoo I have ever seen, the Parque de las Leyendas. Yes, the animals are in cages, and their lives are not what they should be. And, no, I have no idea how ethically they were acquired. But the zoo was amazing (Miko agreed and his Mom used to run zoos) and very South American. Highlights were:

(Some cages were more conducive to photography than others)

2 white tigers, 3 mountain lions (in a small but well-appointed cage), 5 jaguars (ranging from black to a stunningly black-spotted tawny), 3 king vultures, 5 black-chested buzzard-eagles, a full herd of tapir, 1 adorable zebra stripped baby tapir, a bunch of actual zebra, a calmly grazing hippo, 2 Andean spectacled bears, a very large green anaconda, Humboldt penguins, and way, way too many primates and macaws and hawks to count.

The primate habitats included two free ranging monkey islands and marmosets. Marmosets. All very active, close and alive. There were a few sad souled little guys, including an emperor tamarin and Uakari monkey who both sat against the glass, staring back very intently. (To be fair the Uakari looks this beleaguered in all internet-available photos.) Most had friends they were busily scampering around their elaborately created, tiny, world.

Oh – and – the zoo wrapped in and around the ruins of ancient Lima. Pre-Columbian walls and a moat enclosed the deer habitat and an ancient adobe pyramid rose above the Lama exhibit. Cause, why not?

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