Lonely Planet says that on its surface Lima is no thing of beauty. Correct. When I first arrived at Jorge Chavez International it rained. My travelling companion said it never rained in Lima – hardly ever anyway. This was rain. He tried to brush it away as condensation from aircraft. It was also grey with what looked and smelt like smog. The trip from the airport was bleak. How had I been persuaded to make this visit? The new Costa Verde road was grey, the sand was grey, everything appeared the colour of concrete dust. Not the semi-tropical vision I had originally conjured up. Things were not looking good until we got to Miraflores. Now there was green, well planted avenues, suddenly a modern well tended city was appearing. Our hotel was on Avenida Jose Pardo , a four lane street with a trees and a wlkway through the centre. The hotel was a modern edifice of about 30 years of age.
Clean and well polished with a central atrium open to the sky (rain), this was beautifully planted with a kind of hanging tropical fern of great length.
Things were looking better. The hotel had a small roof garden with pool which housed the cafeteria and bar. The rooms were small apartments with a sitting room, bathroom and bedroom, dated but very comfortable and there was air conditioning if you needed it.
The flight to Lima from London had been tiring, London at dawn, Amsterdam’s Schiphol by about nine, a brief Jonge Jenever (Dutch Gin) break and off with KLM for twelve hours to Lima. Heathrow is bleak first thing in the morning. We had arrived as recommended two hours before take-off only to find the airport virtually closed so we really only needed to be there one hour in advance as there was nowhere to book in two hours early. Sciphol was fine, breezily efficient and friendly.
Back to Miraflores – we unpacked quickly and got out of the hotel and headed for Haiti, a cosmopolitan French style café near the Parcque Kennedy. Here I had my first Pisco sour – a national cocktail of a marc type of brandy with lime juice and whit of egg and a little cinnamon.
My companion suggested conchitas a la parmesana for supper. Queen scallops baked with parmesan – lots of them. Lima was suddenly looking fine.