It's amazing. I'm a big fan of Lima but it was definitely a culture shock. After over two weeks in Cusco, coming to a city like Lima was completely surprising. I was finally used to the cobblestone streets, the street vendors shoving different items in our ways, the view of the mountains stretching for miles, the smell of sewage (and other gross things) on our way to class, the voices of many desperate spa owners constantly repeating "masaje?" and once we got to Lima, that was all gone. Everything seemed to move quicker and one thing that will always stay in my mind is that when I looked up at the sky, it was completely white. This time of the year, Lima is usually overcast and the clouds are stuck over the city, so it's completely weird to not see a blue sky - however, the drive from the airport to our hotel showed that Lima is a beautiful city.
There are advertisements everywhere - huge billboards and ads on bus stops. Palm trees line the streets and two paved lanes of road somehow accommodate three lanes of traffic. There is always some car honking and on the sidewalks you'll see people from all backgrounds walking around and enjoying the 70 degree weather in the middle of the winter.
The mall we went to was absolutely amazing and it felt like I was back in the US. I saw stores like Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic, Steve Madden, and more and we ate at a restaurant called Mangos (pictured below):
Having lunch/dinner with a view of the Pacific Ocean was pretty sweet.
Perhaps my favorite part of the first couple of days in Lima was the run that Adam and I went on. We ran through Miraflores, the area of Lima that we stayed in. The sky was actually blue that morning and the views of the ocean were amazing. What was marvelous was how nice it was from a citizen's standpoint. There were outdoor gym-type workout areas, artistic statues, mini dog parks, a small lighthouse, and everywhere I looked I would see people walking, skateboarding, running, or biking. It reminded me of a mini game in Wii Fit that I used to play, where I would hold the Wii remote and run in place while I watched my avatar run through a picturesque scene very similar to what I saw in Lima. It was so nice that for a brief moment I thought that I was in a video game or in a movie.
Lima in the first few days was amazing and a great change from Cusco. There is so much to explore and so much to do and it's hard to believe that I'm still in South America.