Sunday 10 May

Plaza de Armas

The last eight-hour leg of our journey is accompanied by a complicated and abysmally acted film, badly dubbed into English. As soon as we touch down in Lima Airport we find Helen again, with whom we have arranged to share a collectivo into the city centre. Her husband is waiting outside the airport for her and seems to have the transport arrangements well in hand. On arrival in Lima, John and James perform a thorough job of choosing a hotel and we end up in, according to the guidebook, a “zany art deco” place, Hostal Wiracocha, right next to the Plaza de Armas. The “right next to the Plaza de Armas” part is right, at any rate.


After a light lunch, we visit the Convento de San Fransisco. We take a tour, given in broken English, and see the catacombs under the church. I imagine that it will be a busy place at the Final Judgement. Rows and rows of human bones have been arranged and sorted into neat piles, rows, and patterns. The motivation behind this had been a lack of space that had become more and more acute over the years. The priests had clearly reasoned that the human skeleton is not the most space-efficient arrangement of bones, and so had taken them apart one by one and stored the bones according to type, thigh bones in one place, skulls in another, and so on. Occasionally, to break the monotony, different parts had been alternated in geometric patterns.

Shanty Town

In the evening we have the good fortune to be able to visit Barry and Anthea Harrison, a missionary couple who were sent out from St Nic’s in the 1960s. The taxi journey to the Seminary is quite an experience. Despite the poverty of the shanty town on the side of the hill that we pass, there is an amazing amount of life and colour. Many houses of many colours cling precariously on the hillside—a memorable sight.

On arrival, Barry and Anthea show us around the bible college where they both teach, and we spend a pleasant evening talking. Anthea has, at short notice, laid out a light tea for us. Slightly disoriented as we are after the long flight and the change of time-zone, there is something very reassuring about drop-scones, jam, and tea. John has brought them some Stilton cheese and Marmite (procured at great expense from Heathrow Airport), and a copy of Saturday’s Times, for which Barry seems to be very grateful.