In the morning, we took our time getting up and showered. We set out or find breakfast and the grocery store for some snacks. We stopped in a corner café for a roll and washed it down with some orange juice that closely resembled Tang. Next, we headed to the grocery store to peruse the local produce. We got a Cherimoya, a Maracuya, a star fruit, and some small plums.
We checked out of our room, as we would fly home later that night, and walked a couple blocks to catch a colectivo bus to the Miraflores District. On the bus, which cost s/1 to Miraflores, entertainment was provided by candy vendors and a video of Michael Jackson circa 1993.
We deboarded at a shopping center built right into the side of a cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Way below, we could see mini-surfers trying to surf the mini-waves. We came upon El Parque del Amor – Lovers Park. A giant statue of two Peruvian lovers making out demanded attention in the middle of the park. All around the statue were benches, carved and decorated in a way that replicated Antoni Gaudi’s Parque Güell in Barcelona. In Lover’s Park, inscriptions were written in mosaic pieces all over the benches proclaiming love.
After killing some time by seeing a movie (El Novio de Mi Madre, or Homeland Security), we made our way back to our hostel to meet Santos and head to the airport.
Back at Hostal de Las Armas, we still had some time before Santos would arrive. Walking down the street, I saw several women standing alone, leaning against the buildings, just hanging out. I flashed back to a sign I had seen earlier that protested prostitution in the city. Hmm. Inside Hostal de Las Armas, in the room across from the front desk, and the same room we had left our bags in, was a giant video camera and movie set lights. Through our partial view of the room, we could see a painting of a unicorn on a mountain displayed right next to the bed, where a woman was laying down. This was strange. A very strange situation. There were several men standing around talking outside the room, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. We saw another man walk into the hostal with one of the women from outside on the street, and get a key to a room down the hall. Twenty minutes later the man exited the room, with the woman trailing behind him, he turned in the key, and left.
A few minutes later, another man, in a business suit and briefcase, walked out of another room, with a woman in tow, turned in his key, and left.
Ok. Something is not right here.
The movie filming continued in the background.
We were starting to realize what was going on.
We. Were in. A whore house.
Ok, well maybe not an actual brothel. But there were plenty of comings and goings to lead us to believe there was some shady stuff going on in that hostel. Also, there was a chalk board with “Condon - Condoms 4 Sale” written in chalk above the front desk.
Back in the room with the cameras, the woman crawled out of the bed with a robe on, dressed, fluffed her hair and walked out of the room. A man placed a wad of soles in the palm of her hand, and with that, she left. Another woman off the street entered the room and began taking down equipment.
We were stunned.
Could it be? It must have been.
A porn shoot?!
Well, what else could it have been, honestly.
Cameras, lights, directors, exchanging of moneys before our innocent eyes to women a woman who had just crawled out of a bed.
I think this WFT moment took the cake.
We sat at the small table near the room. The giant stuffed condor and buffalo head staring back as us. We hoped Santos would get there quick. And that, by some stroke of luck, the rooms upstairs (where we had slept, showered, etc.) were travelers only rooms.
By the time Santos arrived, we were totally ready to get out of there as quick as possible. On the ride to the airport, I asked about making movies at the hostel. Santos laughed and asked what kind of movies. I told him I had seen big cameras, lights….perhaps adult movies. Santos said he didn’t think so. He said, in all his 14 years working for Hostal de Las Artes, there hasn’t ever been an adult movie made there. He said it was probably just a couple trying to have fun.
Waiting at the airport, Jill and I shared a personal pan pizza and she told off a bunch of kids who were making fun of homosexuals. Finally, we boarded the plane to leave Lima and leave Peru.