A lot has been written about Peru but most travel articles skip over the capital Lima for the famous tourist stops of Cusco and Machu Picchu. Lima is a tough sell. Its got three distinct areas to it - old, new and residential - stretching for miles along an unattractive rocky coastline. Numerous people approached me on my first day to warn me to be careful with my camera as thieves were about. Not a good sign or even very welcoming for that matter. I decided to to ignore all the warnings though and explore the old city centre on a Sunday when perhaps even criminals might be on their best behaviour or perhaps even in church. I will admit I wasn't hopeful when my taxi came to a halt in a traffic jam and let me out blocks away from my destination. My despair disappeared though when I walked straight into a parade of a dozen marching bands accompanying hundreds of women dancers in twirling skirts and men dressed up as gangsters. Amazingly, there were no tourists and even locals seemed bemused by all the hoopla. Visually it was fantastic and changed my whole idea of Lima. I went on to explore the old town centre and came away with a really good feeling about Lima. As the sun began to set though the worried looks and warnings about being careful with my camera began to increase and I called it a day when a police cruiser pulled over to give me the same warning.
On a more positive note, the major redeeming attribute of Lima was the food. Its renowned through-out South America and Brazilians are known to fly in to visit their favourite restaurants. Visit here for more images of the festival as well as a trip to the Sacred Valley and Cusco.