Exactly 17 days in Lima. Yesterday was the first time I actually visited the city center. It’s quite a hike from the privileged part of town I live in. A 30 min bus ride will take you from the pristine streets of the neighborhood Miraflores – where cops have segways – to the bustle of El Centro.
Upon taking out my camera, I was warned by 4 people on one block.. “Cuidado con la Camara!” . Apparently thieves will ride by on a motorcycle, grab the thing and make a run for it. As I’ve always taken these kinds of warnings with a grain of salt when living in Chile in 2010 I wasn’t quite impressed. Soon a policeman on a motorcycle makes a gesture. He holds his hand up, finger and thumb up signalling ‘just a minute’, he squints his eyes. A serious warning follows. He doesn’t believe I live here. “Miraflores” I tell him, and he laughs. Clearly, I am still figuring out where the real danger is in this city, but for now I listen and put my camera away.
I manage to take some shots around the center, and at 5pm I meet some friends at the local cemetery, a sight in itself. It is where many important Peruvian political, military and literary figures lie. With the sun coming down and the backdrop of the city’s outskirts rising up against the hills it is a spectacular view. I spend some time among the dead, taking pictures of their mausoleums. A guard comes up and asks me to stay with him. Some thieves have entered the cemetery and are preying on distracted tourists with fancy cameras. Still, I took some nice shots and I end up getting a private tour from the guard. I am happy, and I still have my camera.