My Love Affair with Lima

8 12 2010



Central Lima, the Plaza de Armas

I had that gut feeling, you know when you’re giddy and butterflies flood your stomach?

I was wandering around in a state of perpetual happiness. People tried to shake me from my hazy state with degrading words that dripped from their tongues. “Ugly”, “dangerous”, “you’re wasting your time” they heckled.

Of course I took no notice. Instead, I headed into a steamy night and I knew it would be the start of a passionate love affair…

…with Lima, the capital of Peru. 

The city isn’t usually synonymous with attractive, must-see or amazing;

The pier at Miraflores, Lima

smog and ugh are more in line with people’s perceptions. Yet as I wandered around the coastal streets of Miraflores I felt a magnetic pull that will, no doubt, keep me here for the next few months.

I was captured by the plush neighbourhood, the playground for the rich and beautiful. Their pale skin and European heritage has defined their privileged lives in a city which exudes poverty in a plethora of suburbs.

Miraflores' apartments overlooking manicured gardens

Miraflores’ towering apartments, surrounded by sculptured parks, dominate southern Lima’s skyline and is juxtaposed against the quainter version of Barranco, one of Lima’s oldest suburbs with colonial buildings.

Despite the roof of pollution, which obscures the hills on which destitute neighbourhoods sit, the sun battles to make a daily appearance. Sometimes it succeeds, on others I’m wrapped up in my winter woollies, finding it hard to belive that in a month it’s supposed to be beach weather.

To embrace the coming summer months I’ve checked out bizarre flavours of ice cream, such as ceviche. It’s the local raw fish dish which is ‘cooked’ in the acidity of lemon and twists in flavours of chilli and onion. The ice cream is an acquired taste (great with a strawberry sorbet) but as for the actual ceviche dish, I’ve begun to crave for my daily dose.

Although my palate has warmed to the local food, my legs haven’t embraced the salsa-shimmying music that permeates Lima’s nightclubs. The hip-wiggling locals shake their thang on the dance floor, leaving me and a handful of other gringos, looking on in amazement. This quickly morphs into horror (will we have to attempt it?) and then boredom (we attempted it, couldn’t do it and now want to listen to different music). 

Houses in Barranco, Lima

However, despite my love for Lima, as with all relationships, the city has several characteristics that drive me mad. Here are a couple:

Bricheros who prowl the affluent tourist areas hunting for foreign females for an all-expenses paid for life. It goes something like this:

I sit on a bench and a brichero casually sits next to me. Headphones are swiftly shoved into my ears so I can feign deafness. If this fails, I have suddenly lost all capability to speak or understand Spanish or English. But they don’t give up that easily. I then have to feign blindness as I hide beneath my fringe and sunglasses. When this doesn’t work, and it often it doesn’t, (they’re bloomin’ persistant) I throw my best Scouse snarl their way, which as I’ve learnt over the years, can work wonders to get rid of people.

The main cathedral in the Plaza de Armas, Lima

Los ancianos who I have rather stupidly rented a room from. The oldies are in their 70s and keep tabs on everything I do. When I get home after a night out, I’m told the next day – through a smile – “Oh yes, you came in at 5am. We couldn’t sleep until we knew you were safe.”

Through gritted teeth I manage a smile. But when they start to call me to see where I am, I’m less tolerant. This, thankfully, has stopped but the house hunting for somewhere else most definitely has not!

So my time in Lima will continue possibly for the next six months. Or until I get itchy feet and decide I need a love affair elsewhere…

A colourful restaurant in Barranco, Lima

















  • The capital of Peru, situated on the Pacific coast
  • Has a population of 8 million
  • Suburbs range from plush (San Isidro, Miraflores) to ‘keep right out’ (Gamara)
  • Is cold up until mid December, but summer lasts until March



10 responses

8 12 2010
Simon Malia

Great stuff Jane! Loving it.

The photos are consistently brilliant too.

Hope you get your new digs sorted soon.


Simon in icy Liverpool

8 12 2010

Thanks Simon,

I’m not missing the snow!

19 12 2010
Darren & Nell

Hi Jane!
It looks like you are in Lima, we are loving reading about your continued adventure and are now extremely envious as we are back home in sunny England! What are your plans, presumably you are staying put over Christmas and New Year? Hope all is well and the banana porridge remains as nourishing as ever!!
Speak soon, love D & N xx

20 12 2010

Hey guys, nice to hear from you. Yup, I’ll be in Lima for Christmas, we’re deciding what to do for New Year. How was Colombia?

Enjoy the snow!

20 12 2010
Darren & Nell

Colombia was awesome – the people were really lovely! Don’t know why, but they definitely seem the warmest and kindest of all that we’ve visited – I hope you are going to get that far?!

The snow?!! There’ll be no enjoyment going on – it’s bloody freezing! Our bodies are literally shutting down on us – colds, sore throats, you name it!!

Anyways, continue having lots of fun, keep us posted!

Feliz Navidad!!

D & N

24 12 2010

Dear Jane,

The Spanish you learn in Lima will serve you well in Bogota Columbia. A few years ago when we were in Cartagena, a few locals asked me if I came from Bogota, because I spoke with the same accent.

All the best for 2011 and on, keep writing and take care.

22 01 2011

If only I was at the stage of mastering an accent! I’m still struggling with speaking!

7 01 2011

cool … nice description of the city.

22 01 2011
Tony Batchelor

Hi Jane

Glad you like Lima, you’ve got new digs now though haven’t you?

22 01 2011

Yes, I have escaped the clutches of the old people!

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