After more than three months, I've now completed a massive circuit of Andean South America, covering southern Peru, western Bolivia, and northern Chile. As of today, the loop is complete, and I'm back to square one: Lima. This was my first stop in South America, back on Apr 1st; and Chris and I have finally managed to drag ourselves away from the paradise resort of Huacachina, and to get on up here. So far, Lima's looking OK. I think I'm going to have more fun here this time, than I did on my last visit.
The weather in Lima is a lot worse than it was in April: back then, it was sunny skies and warm air every day; now, it's perpetually overcast and decidedly chilly. Unlike the mountain areas, which go by the May-Oct dry season and the Nov-Apr wet season, and which are cold all year round — or the jungle areas, which also go by the wet and dry seasons, but which are hot (and a bit wet) all year round — Lima follows a more traditional, temperate weather pattern. Hot and dry in summer, cold and dreary in winter. So weather-wise, July is not the best time to come here.
However, despite that, I think that my little visit this time is going to be more enjoyable. For one thing, I'm staying at Loki, which means lots of people to meet (plus I came with Chris, and a few other people that I know), lots of parties to be had, and lots of beverages to be drunk. Flying Dog, where I stayed last time, is a lot more quiet (although it's just down the road from Loki). There's also the fact that it's the weekend, and that there's a big parade happening in Lima tomorrow. And, what's more, I don't have to worry about any Jewish festivals, Easter weekends, or random friends to visit — all I need to do is relax, and have a good time.
After having seen the rest of Peru (and Bolivia), it's more clear to me than ever, upon coming back here, that Lima is not the real Peru. Miraflores, in particular, is about as far-flung from the rest of the country as is reasonably possible. Miraflores is like a little pocket of the USA in Peru: upmarket shopping boutiques; American fast food joints everywhere; high-rise apartment buildings with more security than Fort Knox; and a lot of really, really rich people. It's nice to spend a bit of time here, where things look and work more like they do back home; but staying here more than a few days is simply a waste, because if that's what you want, then you may as well have stayed at home in the first place.
The rest of Lima — which is not at all super-rich, like Miraflores — could be said to more accurately reflect the way that people live in Peru. However, it's so ridiculously riddled with poverty and crime, that actually going and seeing it is both dangerous and uninviting. The gap between rich and poor is bad everywhere in Peru — and in the Latin world, for that matter — but in Lima, it's like heaven and hell.