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The Rock-itt : November 2009
I left off my last article telling you about this magnificent Opera House, Teatro Amazonas, in Manaus, built during the rubber boom and spared no expense in its construction. Now I continue my journey...... .. ... The flight out of Manaus was very early and so I had a long wait at the Sao Paulo airport for my next section to Lima, there are significant time changes between Manaus and Sao Paulo, then again between Sao Paulo and Lima, so keep your money in your pocket, find a comfy seat (half your luck), pull out a book or read up on your next stop, go for walks too, everything sold in the airport is much more expensive than at your destination. That flight was smooth and we flew over Lake Titicaca. The banks and surrounding country looked as if there had been no rain for years, so bleached and dry. I would like to do a visit here to see the reed boats and the way of the people, but next time maybe. Arrival at Lima went well, my friend, Trish, had arrived about 20 minutes before me on a flight from Santiago Chile, and our guide was waiting outside with a big placard. So it just meant lazing in a big car for the drive into Lima. The drive was interesting. We were told it never rains in Lima but there was a heavy, not very moist mist over all, apparently gardens thrive on it, possibly something to do with the cold current. Our hotel (included in the tour),The Jose Antonio, standard room in Miraflores, with good twin beds, comfortable, good food but not all meals included in the tour price, and excellent local light lager type beer helps keep cost down. Our new female guide arrived promptly at 9.am. We visited the house of a distinguished (descended from the Spanish) family. This is where the "no rain" became obvious. There was no glass in the windows; the style of architecture is I believe Rococo on old Inca foundations. It was filled with gloomy portraits, the whole genealogy, generation by generation, very heavy dark furniture, imported about 3 to 400 years ago, a charming 18th Century French stove, and all around a beautiful courtyard with balconies, and a fully grown tree and pretty water feature. Dusting the place must be a nightmare but it was well cared for and some of the walls tiled, with very old tiles. They were much smaller beds, but then people were smaller in the pre 20thCentury eras. It was a haven of antiques, a place made for playing "Hide and Seek"! Our next stop was at a large cathedral church that had so many chapels to various saints. It was donated and maintained by wealthy benefactor citizens. You have a good idea who got the gold, obviously assisted by Saint this or that. We also visited the crypt of the Franciscan order, the dust and old bones looked like plastic or old bits of dried up wood. There was no reasonable ventilation; I expect the dead don't need it. Desert dust is clean and this was old, old dust, and really I could willingly have passed on that. There was also a large painting in the refectory, that had at the time it was painted, upset both church and rulers; possibly, because of the stress on social equality, strongly emphasised for me by the visit to the crypt. We also had a good look round the main square. All the buildings, except the governor's palace ,are a rich golden yellow stucco, the colour but not the styles, most are old Spanish in appearance, with dark carved wood balconies, doors and shutters. We were then driven to the coast and arrived at a small section of Miraflores