Returned safe and sound from Lima, and is good to be home.

Lima is a huge city of 8 million people, and as busy a place as any city I've ever visited. The streets are alive with cars (the majority from Japan), and the sidewalks crawling with people with great tans. Sometimes it was the other way around -- in that the sidewalks were crawling with cars.......etc.

Quite the drivers those Peruvians, and I sat in the back seat of several taxis and marveled at their ability to use any available hard surface to get where they felt they needed to go. They mostly all talk kinda funny there, so a big part of the time I didn't have a clue about what we were talking about and, when in the taxi, where we were going or why we were going there.

100% of the Peruvians I met, though, were very gracious, helpful, and friendly so, even when I arrived at someplace I didn't expect to be, they would smile, say something cool to the taxi driver, and off I'd go to somewhere else I didn't really want to go. Maybe I should make an attempt to learn Spanish but, if I'd been able to communicate well, there's no doubt I'd never have seen as much of Lima as I did.

Why they built in such an inhospitable environment is beyond comprehension, but I guess the Incas' were doing ok there when Pizarro made their acquaintance, though my opinion is that from that event on the real estate has dropped in value.

We did our thing at the convention (was called Mintech), which consisted of standing in our display booth and smiling foolishly while our beautiful, 27-year-old bilingual secretary interpreter talked to the attendees about only God knows what. We were pretty popular, though, 'cause they all told their friends, and everybody came around and took our pictures, laughed, pointed, chattered, and even came back 3 or 4 times (probably to lift their spirits). We didn't sell a darn thing but considered our trip a success when we realized what enjoyment we brought to the folks. The Yankees score yet again!

We did have our discomforts, though, and intend to apply for hazardous duty pay if requested to go down again. My associate suffered a "job related injury" when he slammed his thumb in a taxi door, and then somehow he swallowed some of their "crystal clear spring water" during the week's stay, and found himself with severe stomach cramps and related urgencies that somewhat ruined his visit (as well as his sparkling personality). I escaped unscathed, but figure if everyone else is getting extra pay - why not me?

Our visit on Saturday to the Inca ruins was enlightening. We wandered around through some amazing mud architecture that we were told has been there for some several thousand years (at least that's what we deduced from the signs), and our taxi driver wandered with us, and was good company but he spoke no English and we spoke no Spanish though that minor annoyance deterred him not a bit. I've no doubt that he went home and informed his family that at least two Americanos are considerably smarter due to his graciousness.

We also visited the Peruvian Gold Museum that day, and I've got to admit that I've never seen so much gold in one place.......even though I work with the gold mines. On Sunday, our interpreter joined us and we visited an open air street market where I made several shrewd purchases of native musical instruments, native clothing, and native jewelry. Wily American shopper that I am, I paid them not a centavo over my price, and even got them to remove the "Made in Taiwan" stickers before they got my Nuevo Sols. We also visited Lima center, and saw the Catacombs under the 400 year old churches, all the paintings and Catholic artifacts, and out in the grand courtyard bought Coca colas that had been blessed by the Holy Father in charge himself at only a reasonably inflated price.

All in all, I really enjoyed my visit, and would go back anytime I was asked. They ARE gracious folks, and quite willing to work with crazy Americanos for the benefit of all, so I'm standing by for the call demanding my presence and awesome expertise.

Well, I hope I've enlightened you somewhat concerning Lima, Peru, and should you ask...............I'll relate my adventures of my next planned trip to Windover, Nevada, which will probably make Lima look like Eden itself.

Love, Doug

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