Fri, Feb 27th – Callao, (Lima) Peru
From The Navigator
“Throughout the night the Prinsendam sailed on a northwesterly course, parallel to the Peruvian coastline. Early this morning we altered course to the starboard for our approach to the Pilot station off Isla San Lorenzo. Once the Pilot is on board he will guide us safely to our berth.”
There must have been some nervous minutes as we made our approach to the Pilot Station as we were not only sailing in dense fog, but to our port was a large fleet of fishing vessels lying at anchor.
I was up again around 5 am and could hear the ships horn blasting away every two minutes to indicate our presence to those fishermen who dare to go out in inclement conditions such as these. Why do I say that? Because I witnessed at least one small boat heading out of the harbor as we approached the dock.
Another worrying announcement in the daily program was the following: “There will be a mandatory shuttle service from the pier to the port entrance from 8:00 am 4:30 pm (February 28th). There will also be a shuttle service throughout the night. (Here is the kicker) The port authorities of Callao do not allow anybody to walk out of the pier area for safety reasons.” We had previously been warned that the authorities do not let anyone go out onto the streets of the port city, because it is not a safe neighborhood at anytime of the day or night. However, for anyone wanting to ride into Lima city, the H.G Stern Jewelers will be offering a complementary shuttle service from the ship to their store located by the Marriott Hotel in (the upscale neighborhood of) Miraflores.
The fog and low clouds (see above picture) stayed with us as we left Callao on our eight hour excursion (Inca Civilization & Pachacamac) and stayed with us most of the morning. About 30 minutes later we arrived at our first stop; The National Museum of Anthropology & Archaeology to view an unforgettable collection of mummies and tapestries, as well as well as other artifacts from pre-Inca cultures. I guess I am just not a museum guy so after making a few quick passes through each room I opted to just sit admire the beautiful courtyard and people watch.
The drive to our next stop an hour and a half later took us along the coast and some beautiful beaches (and some not so). Leaving the coast we proceeded inland through some of the poorest neighborhoods in Peru. Our guide, Ruben, explained that if you had a sizeable piece of property and did not maintain a solid tall fence around it, you just might come by one day and find it filling up with squatter shanty shacks, which were almost impossible to get rid of. As a matter of fact in Barbara’s picture here you can see some nice stairway access points. This route took us to the ruined city of Pachacamac, built around 700 AD and whose names means “the One who ordains the Universe”.
After an hour or so here in temperatures nearing 100 degrees (the sun had come out), we moved on to what became my favorite stop of the day; A beautiful Andean-style ranch, Hacienda Mamacona. Our brochure describes it best: “After attending a traditional and colorful Peruvian exhibition of prancing horses known as the paso, enjoy a typical lunch at the hacienda. Tastefully built and decorated in Republican style, the hacienda is the private home of a distinguished Lima family. Over the years the owners have become famous as expert breeders of the Caballo de Paso horses, a breed unique to Peru.” I was so moved by the beauty and thrill of this experience, I just get chills writing this description, because it really turned out as described.
While we were entertained by these beautiful horses and equally beautiful Peruvian Dancers, we were served some very nice drinks near the end of the exhibition the ranch hands brought out a spirited three month old filly, followed by a beautiful mare – note the long tail – it is never trimmed but groomed regularly.
Once our stomachs were full of scrumptious food, Peruvian wine and desert, we were treated to some more tradition dancing representing different cultures, then came the piece de resistance; a chance to ride one of these beautiful horses. What a thrill that was! Here I am taking my turn in this picture taken by Barbara. We were also given free rein to explore the ranch. During this time I kept hearing disturbing noises coming from one of the nearby barns; upon investigation I found this very upset colt that was being held separate from his dam. He was also as spirited as the filly we saw earlier.
We were a happy bunch that returned to the ship late that afternoon, just in time to get dressed for dinner – like we really needed more food! Later that evening we finished the packing chore that we had started the evening before, and went to bed. However for me sleep was next to impossible as about every minute or so I could hear what sounded like tapping outside and below our stateroom. This went on all evening, and by the time I got up and dressed, I figured out what it was. Insert Lima In this picture I am looking straight down at the side of the ship at the mooring lines – the source of last night’s noise. It seems that as the ship lay in her berth, the tidal/wave moment would cause the ship to stress the lines, and cause them to rub against hull, directly below our stateroom! Outside of our smoking neighbors (who also did not get any sleep) this was the only complaint we had with our stateroom for the whole cruise. That’s it for today – next – our return to the land of reality… JWC