I started out traveling through Houston, which was eventful in and of itself. The flight from Austin to Houston was full, full, full and so the self-proclaimed "baggage Nazi" tried to get us to check every form of luggage we could possibly think of and even some that did not yet exist. I swear, she was just about to ask me if I wanted to check my left arm because, you know, "it's free! And so much more convenient!" Um, I don't think so. Managed to get on the plane with my laptop and camera gear. Of course, there were like six people traveling with guitars. Did they ask them to check these? Oh no! Only camera gear. The airlines seem to hate photographers for some reason. The flight to Lima was not so bad. It's about six or seven hours from Houston and a late afternoon flight which is fun, although I have a hard time falling asleep sometimes on the planes. I managed to stay up and watch a couple of movies, Creed with Sylvester Stallone and The Big Lebowski which was an event in and of itself. I swear, if I had done nothing else but watch The Big Lebowski, the entire trip would have been worth it. I don't know how but, somehow, I managed to never see that film, yet I heard a lot about it. It's one of those movies I have always wanted to see but somehow always just seemed to miss. Miss it no more, as I now can say that, as part of this trip, I not only visited South America (first time) crossed the equator (first time too) and finally got to see The Big Lebowski. What a trip even before it started. Big Lebowski aside, we landed in Lima, got stuck in customs, wrangled our baggage back from the hoarders, and made the drive to our hotels. Driving in Lima can be quite the adventure but we made it to our hotel without any excitement and the hotel was nice, photos of the bed to follow at some point.
Lima is know for it's food. It's a culinary capital and well-deserved. The restaurants we visited were all very good and the food and drink quite tasty. I tried my first pisco sour which was wonderful, almost like a margarita, very refreshing. They also have ceviche which was wonderful and I enjoyed a drink they called an "herba buena" which is kind of like a lemonade only more like a limeade but actually made with key limes. Since I love just about anything key lime, I had a lot of these herba buenas. They are bright green and make for interesting late night tweets if you are so inclined (I was.) I would imagine they Instagram quite well too, if you are into that.
I stayed in the Miraflores section of Lima which is kind of the arts district. It has very pretty houses that I got to walk about and photograph some. Really very interesting place. I could do a lot with that kind of architecture photographically. Managed to touch upon it some and it reminded me of my early days, shooting with Barbara and the crew, lots of windows and doors, careful with corners and edges, trying to optimize colors. Reminded me of my early days back when I first started shooting, not to mention I love colonial architecture. One of the the things that struck me the most about Lima was how the colonial architecture was sort of "mixed in" with the rest of the styles found in the city. It was not uncommon to see a very modern building right next to a colonial building, quickly followed by another modern building then two or three colonials right in a row. Most of the cities I've visited featuring any kind of abundance of colonial architecture have sort of sections where the colonial architecture is preserved. In Lima, not so much, it's all sort of mixed in across the city. This really made for interesting shots and was just fascinating to walk about and enjoy.
On Saturday, we took something called the "Mirabus" which is an open air double deck bus which rides through Lima. We managed to get a long tour on the Mirabus (somehow the shorter one was sold out) and wound up taking a 2 hour tour through downtown Lima. It was really very wonderful. We visited the older part of Lima, saw the presidential buildings, the fountains, and visited the catacombs in the church of San Francisco. Although they did not allow photographs, that was really something to visit. The catacombs were really fascinating and the building itself was a well-preserved example of colonial architecture. It was a wonderful experience and I hope to go back to visit again someday.
The return from Lima itself was interesting. I met a teacher from my hometown on the plane and we chatted for a while and then, of course, the flight from Houston was a disaster and a half. For starters, I had to clear customs in Houston which is not that bad, although I was reminded of how Houston has all of these long hallways. It's like a bowling alley in there, I swear. It's like hallway after hallway, with signs that say things like "United States next left." I swear, what a trip! If that were not bad enough, I get on the plane which was sort of half empty, and try to sleep but, nope, not happening this flight. Right after takeoff, almost *during* takeoff really, some lady gets up and starts screaming at one of the flight attendants. When I say "screaming" I mean like I actually thought they were going to come to blows, it was that bad. Seriously, I thought they were going to turn around the plane of force us to land somewhere like College Station (half way between Austin and Houston.) In the days post 9-11 they can do this now, as we're supposed to take our seats when the little seat belt light is on and they can actually turn the plane around if a passenger becomes too out of control.
The flight itself is less than an hour but, man, what an eventful forty minutes that was! If the screaming passenger from Hell (nay, San Francisco) were not enough, the pilot came on and announced that we were expecting turbulence for most of the flight so they would not be serving beverages. Now, I can live without my free orange juice for forty minutes, no problem, but what I didn't expect, what none of us expected, was that the bouncy flight somehow combined itself with an overhead bin that was not quite closed all the way. End result? Just as the screaming demon lady was doing her thing the plane hit what felt like a large "bump," the bin was forced open and stuff started flying out. Some poor young girl was almost taken out by some flying debris and the cabin was filled with that "joyous" crashing sound nobody ever wants to hear on a plane. Lucky for us the pangs and screams of the demon lady drowned out the din of the bins crashing. Oh, what a flight! Almost makes me wish I'd hitchhiked home from Houston, really that did.
Last leg from Houston aside, Lima really was wonderful. This trip was "The Big Lebowski. Here's your food!" of trips and I hope I get to go back again someday. I recommend you visit Lima if you ever get the chance, although I might recommend you avoid a connection in Houston if at all possible. Oh, and it goes without saying really but watch out for some screaming demon like lady en route to San Francisco. What a trip!
Until next time...