Sunday, May 24, 2015

First Impressions: Cusco vs Lima

This weekend, we began the second leg of our trip, travelling to Lima via plane.  The first day and a half here, we have been exploring the city, and I can confidently say that it is nothing like Cusco.  From the people to the physical nature of the city, Cusco and Lima seem like polar opposites.
            Lima is massive.  There are over 13 million people who live here, and one can easily get the sense that the city is incredibly large from walking around.  Compare this to Cusco, which has a mere 350,000 inhabitants.  An obvious side effect of having such a large population is great diversity, with people of every race speaking a wide range of languages.  Much of this can be attributed to tourism, but the diversity is definitely greater than that of Cusco.  There, almost everyone we passed on the street as of Andean descent. 
            Another big difference between the cities comes from the location.  Lima is a coastal city.  We have been able to get great views of the Pacific and fresh salt water breezes (which has been awesome for me, being a native of the West Coast).   The air is much less thin because of our being at sea level, which is wonderful for those of us who were suffering from altitude-related sickness (Cusco is at 11,200 feet).  On top of this, the streets are paved.  Walking on them is like being on clouds compared to the rocky caminos in Cusco.

            Overall, travelling to Lima has been like returning to the world I know.  It is much more developed and European, and has definitely been touched by outside influences.  Cusco’s authenticity gives it a special charm, but one that can only be taken in small doses by those who have grown up in the United States.  We are all thankful to have been there, but are happy to be in Lima.

If I had a drone, this is the type of picture I would take of Lima

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