I have some time in Lima’s (and now, Miami’s) airport so I’ll continue the retelling of my trip to the Parque de las Leyendas!
I mentioned before that the park was more than a zoo: it also had some very impressive archaeological sites, part of the Maranga complex. It also had a botanical garden which was very peculiarly designed: it was basically one winding path that kept making sharp turns to make the most out of the plot of land it took. The problem was that I wasn’t in the mood to walk through the whole garden, and once in there was no escape. I trekked through it, looking at some of the plants along the way. The signs were in the first person, and shaped like speech balloons, so it looked like the plants are narrating. Cute.
There was an archaeology museum in the park as well, Museo de Sitio Ernst W. Middendorf. I missed it on my first loop around the zoo, and I had to cut through the entire thing to get back there. I almost left without seeing the museum, thinking it won’t be worth the walk, but I decided to go back after chastising my lack of sense of adventure. The museum turned out to be very good. It dealt with the local prehistoric cultures, the same ones whose remains I’m studying for my dissertation! It was nice to see a museum’s description of the same general area. There was also a wonderful reconstruction of the Lord of SipÃ¡n, the elite whose tomb was discovered in the 1980s. The reproduction of his finery, including giant nose piercings and a ceremonial mace was very well done.
I left the park after seeing the museum (yes, I had to walk back through the entire thing to the exit!). I had seen on Google Maps that there was a local supermarket nearby so I went there for lunch. They had a buffet that charges by weight. I had some pasta and meatballs, and a giant hunk of flan. I went back to the hotel exhausted from the day’s walking.
To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to going to Peru. The sense of familiarity played into that, since a lot of novelty has gone. But also I was in a blah mood a few months ago when I was scheduling this trip. Being here I realize I can see so much more if I just made the effort. Next time I go to Peru I want to allot some time to go somewhere completely different. My top picks are the city of Arequipa, a trip up the north coast to see the archaeological sites, or a trip far south to Lake Titicaca. Who knows I may see all three!