Monday, December 15, 2014


From a $135 hotel offer for a 3-hour private tour to a 110 soles half-day quickie.

Only a mad man will take the first option while the second one unfolded as Senor Taxi Driver took me, for 16 soles, to 599 Avenida Jose Galvez Barrenechea in Lima's San Isidro District where I have an unexpected but pleasant encounter with several Hermanos from the Gran Logia de los Antiguos Libres y Aceptados Masones de la Republica del Peru.

I came to take photos I said.

But the Lodge is closed and they are on their way to an installation ceremony they said back.

I was introduced to their incoming Grand Master and was asked if Spanish is the medium of our ceremonies in the Philippines.

It was a beautiful sunless Sunday of deserted streets and my being the Prince of Lucky Chances was again affirmed.   

From there to the UNESCO World Heritage inscribed historic center of Lima is 20 soles and that's where I made Senor Taxi Driver an offer he can't refuse on a slow Sunday morning: 100 soles for a rapid photography tour of the churches of Santo Domingo [Dominican], San Agustin [Augustinian], and San Pedro [Jesuit].

He gave me a big smile, nodded, and as an introduction and perhaps a token of his gratitude took me first to two unknown churches.

"Bonito!" he said, and I agree.    

And then a pink bell tower emerged from the skyline announcing our taxi's arrival at the Iglesia de Santo Domingo, built on the encomienda of Fr. Vicente de Valverde during the late years of the 1700s who is to Francisco Pizarro as Fr. Andres de Urdaneta is to Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, host to the remains of three Peruvian saints [San Juan Macias, Santa Rosa de Lima, San Martin de Porres], and founding site of the first chartered university of the Americas [National University of San Marcos, in 1551]. 

The taxi made a corner turn to the Iglesia de San Agustin and its intricate Churriguereque baroque facade which is one of the only two left in Lima [nee Iglesia de la Merced], its unusual blocked design masking its 440 years of history of which nothing much is offered by Wikipedia except its devastation during the 1746 Lima-Callao Earthquake and the 1895 factional war between the Pierolists and Cacerists.    

Finally, uno mas. 

The taxi parked at the curb but there's nothing much to be said of the Iglesia de San Pedro except of its completion in 1638.

Back at the hotel, I added a 20 soles tip to Senor Taxi Driver's services.

He was grateful. 

So is the other Senor Taxi Driver who took me to the airport for another 20 soles tip.

So am I to the netizens who made my 17th wedding anniversary post card the most liked of all my Facebook posts.  

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