Returning to Lima as the start of our journey home to the UK felt familiar, and bought with it the benefits of a big city and the comfort of easy food available within walking distance…or so we thought.
Leaving the hotel on a seemingly normal Sunday, we headed out to a nearby Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese) restaurant for some lunch, but disappointingly found it to be closed. We decided to have a walk around the area and see if we could find somewhere else to dine, surely not a hard task in such a touristy area. As we walked around there was a definite eeriness in the air, we started to notice that we were the only people out and that after 20 minutes walking around we hadn’t seen a single car on the normally jam packed roads. Confused, we assumed it must be a Sunday thing where families come together for a big lunch, and so headed to the main tourist square.
Reaching the main road through Miraflores, which was normally heavily trafficked by buses, cars, cyclists and pedestrians, it was deadly quiet. Post apocalypse quiet. Empty. Nada.
No cars, no people and no open shops or restaurants!!! We had no idea what was going on but by this point we had started to get hangry!
Frantically walking around the areas we knew to always be busy and a central spot for tourists, we spotted a warden. After some deliberation, we approached her to ask if there was anywhere open to eat. Her response was completely unexpected. Today was Census day and the whole city was on curfew to allow for the data to be collected from people’s homes. There was only one restaurant open, and this had a good few hours wait due to the high demand. If we were lucky, we could find a hotel restaurant open to serve tourists.
That made complete sense but also blew our minds how there was no information displayed or how an entire tourist city can shut down. Luckily the curfew didn’t apply to tourists as of 2017, so we weren’t breaking the law, good to know!
Back on the food mission, we hunted for the first hotel with a restaurant that was open, which turned out to be the Hilton (couldn’t complain). A fine meal later, after a couple of hours of stressing, we were fed and could retire for some much needed rest before heading back home for two weeks.