We woke up early and had breakfast, and then got on the boat to head back to Iquitos. It was a very interesting ride – it was pitch black, the boat had no lights, and yet the driver had to avoid getting the motor stuck in the plants growing in the river. This meant that the driver would drive the boat, and, when necessary, Willy would hold point a flashlight in front of the boat for the driver to see. This resulted in a lot of sudden starts and stops, and it was quite bumpy, as we would wind up going over the wake created by our boat as well as the other boats on the river. Justin was exhausted by the time we got to Iquitos.
We took a 1950s bus – made out of mahogany – from the dock to the airport. The airport had two gates, and unlike any other airport we have even been to, called all of the passengers at once. Interestingly, it was more organized than most boardings in the U.S. No one fainted on the plane, so that was good. After landing in Lima – again – we were greeted – again – by Rosa. On this drive to the hotel we could see everything that we missed the other night. Frankly, a lot of it looked better in the dark. There are nice parts of Lima, particularly around where our hotel is, but the parts between the airport and the hotel are mostly dusty streets with small casinos and strip malls. There were also people at almost every street corner asking for money.
We made lunch reservations for a restaurant recommended by Rosa – La Rosa Nautica. It is at the end of a pier in Miraflores, a little west of our hotel. The coastal area reminded us of Santa Monica and Malibu – there were large cliffs that dropped off just before a coastal highway and beaches. Both the food and the view at La Rosa Nautica were excellent, and the price was very good compared to similar U.S. restaurants. On the drive to and from the restaurant, the taxi driver (employed by the hotel, we think) taught us a little Spanish – we now know about 10 phrases instead of 5.
We got back to the hotel just in time for our 2pm excursion to the archaeological museum, with our guide Barbara. The museum is thorough, very thorough, with Peruvian history, going back thousands of years. As you proceed through the many rooms, the museum basically takes you chronologically through Peruvian history, with information on each of the different groups that were once dominant in areas of Peru. Ones that we remember are the Wari, who controlled large amounts of Peru hundreds of years before the Incas; the Moche and Nazca, who controlled the North and the South of Peru, respectively, shortly before the Incas; and the Incas themselves. Crystal really liked the Moche pottery – it is very expressive. Interestingly, no one group has ever controlled a sizeable portion of the Amazon. The various tribes there were way too tough for any potential conquerors, and many groups did not even try, including the Incas and the Spanish. The only drawback of the museum was how big it was – it took a long time to go through, and there was a ton of information to digest. Between that, the temperature in the museum, and the big lunch, we were a little tired through much of the tour.
Once we got back to the hotel, we watched some television and checked out some news on the internet. For example, we found out that our Vice President had shot someone a week earlier – this was not a big news story in Rapa Nui or the Amazon Rainforest. Before dinner, we went down for drinks at the Piano Bar in the lobby. After dinner, it was more television – Justin was hoping to catch the NBA all-star game – and then packing and sleep.