A cool, crisp morning in Peru’s capital. I am up early after a late arrival from Houston the previous night. My goals start with the immediate future, find coffee, find food, and get my bearings in the nearby neighborhood. Little did I know, by the end of the day I’d be accosted by winged creatures while minding my own business.
The hotel I am staying in during this trip is the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, located pretty much smack dab in the center of Lima. The front desk suggested a cab to the historic center but after looking at a map over breakfast I opt to walk.
The fog has not burned off yet, making Lima feel a lot like San Francisco. The streets and sidewalks are alive. There are vendors selling the day’s paper, fresh squeezed orange juice, slices of pineapple or watermelon, and pastries. Oh the pastries. I can’t help but stop and grab a few of the items, one of which is a ring covered in cinnamon. Sure, I had already had breakfast, but how do you say no to a little sweet treat in the morning?
I continue walking northeast and reach Plaza de Armas where a large crowd has gathered to watch that day’s World Cup matches. Knowing I will want to explore this square and the surrounding area more, I decide to continue my journey northeast and end up at Iglesia de San Francisco. It’s a small church/convent and I am sad to learn that there are services going on all day and access to the interior is not allowed.
What catches my eye is the number of people gathered around the church. Not tourists, locals. They are enjoying the nice day as the fog finally starts to lift. What I did not notice was the massive amount of pigeons that had realized free food was a very real possibility in the immediate area. I lift my camera to take a picture of the church. As I am pushing the shutter release something jumps in front of me. I lower the camera to try and figure out what is going on and see every single pigeon headed toward me.
It is over as quick as it started. The pigeons realize they are not getting any food from me. All except one. He continues to swoop down on me, following me away from the church and down the street for a block. To this day, I think that one particular pigeon is the one that incited the other pigeons to bring their winged vengeance upon me.