Thursday, October 30, 2008

Places--The Ovalo de Gutierrez

This is where you should hang out in Lima, The Ovalo de Gutierrez:

In Peru, the landmarks that all the taxi drivers know are the "ovalos." Ovalo is just the Spanish word for round-a-bout, and I don't recommend that you try to merge with the traffic as the rules of Peruvian driving are kind of equivalent to professional cage death fighting. However, you need to be able to mention landmarks to taxi drivers so that you can get where you need to go, and they all know where the ovalos are (if they act like you don't, you don't want that taxi anyway).

Incidentially, for some incomprehensible reason, they've labled the ovalo as the "Plaza Gutierrez" on this map. Actually, it is fairly typical in Peru that the name on the map is completely inconsistenet with the name that is in popular use. I suppose this is why people tend to ask one another for directions here in Peru rather than trust their ability to read some probably inaccurate publication. Trust me, everybody calls it the Ovalo de Gutierrez.

All the tourists in Miraflores always hang out around the Ovalo de Miraflores. They're idiots though because the Ovalo de Gutierrez is the best place in Miraflores. It's got the second best theater in Lima (the best is at Jockey Plaza) and the street of Comandante Espinar (which leads up to the Ovalo) has a plethora (good word choice) of slightly higher tier restaurants than you find in Larco (which leads up to the Ovalo de Miraflores). Plus they're aren't annoying crowds of tourists everywhere.

So, without further ado, here's some photos to make you feel at home when you visit the Ovalo de Gutierrez:

This is a Wong supermarket, one of three choices you have when shopping for food in Lima. It's a good place to go and buy beer and candy bars to smuggle into the movie theater (that's what I use it for primarily).

On the left, you have Cine Planet. This is actually a really good theater. The screens are huge, the seats are comfortable, and it only costs about 4 dollars to get in. On Tuesday they even have a two for one special. To the right of Cine Planet is Bembos (no...not "Bimbos" unfortunately), Peru´s answer to McDonald´s. And right next to Bembos? McDonald´s of course...I´m loving it (sarcasm implied).

The ovalo itself. Don´t try to cross the street here, cars go hurtling past like deranged animals. Plus, there´s a walkway underneath this so you can safely get from one side to the other. The little park in the center is a good place to sit and drink Pisco at night.

Close up of the angel statue at the center of the ovalo. Of course this couldn´t be a nice image of an angel. It couldn´t be some soft and loving creature that lets the general populace maintain the illusion that they are cared for and protected. No, this has to be some brutal warrior with armor and a sword to terrify the people and horrify the small children and make them easier to dominate and control. I guess I shouldn´t complain, Machiavelli said you have to brutalize the public with fearful images in order to have a functional government. I suppose in the US, a picture of Osama Bin Laden might serve an equivalent purpose.

As if Chili´s wasn´t enough (I had a picture of Chili's but I forgot to upload it), there´s also a TGI Friday´s. Girls like to go there and spend 20 soles on some kind of fruity drink which they spend two or three hours drinking. Here´s a tip, never EVER buy a girl a drink unless it´s got alcohol in it. If they say they want something non-alcoholic, rescind the invitation. Actually, even the act of ordering a non-alcoholic drink is just plain rude. You should explain this to them.

Sigh, the evil empire has arrived. Somebody tell me why you would go to a Starbucks Coffee when you´re in South America, the continent with the greatest Coffee in the world? Newsflash! Peru is not the US, nobody recognizes that you´re a part of some ridiculous, elite, coffee-drinking club when you´re walking around the Ovalo de Gutierrez with a Starbucks labeled piece of styrofoam! Why are you paying 8 dollars (all of these stores have American prices) for a cup of bad coffee with maple syrup and whipped cream poured into it? Go down the street and get the best coffee in the world. I mean, look at that idiot gringo walking out of there, it looks like he´s even wearing a Starbucks hat...sigh, it just goes to show the power of advertising. Somebody sees a logo and they get a big chubby and cream themselves. I guess modern Americans need something to belong to since we don´t have families in the states anymore.

A combi that tried to run me over as I was crossing the street. Dirty bastard! I threw a rock at him. I advise you to do the same.
So there you have it, the Ovalo de Gutierrez is awesome this has just been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt! Enjoy.


  1. Yeah you're right i sorta hate Starbucks, Peruvian coffee is way better.
    That guy with the hat, lol, who wastes money on that? well then again, maybe hes Peruvian and works at Starbucks or something.

  2. i loved this review.. however im peruvian and starbucks coffee HERE is actually made from peruvian beans.. you don't have to drink frapuccinos and all that sorts of milkshakes. If you drink the coffee of the day it is wonderful! expressos and the simple ones are me and my friends favorites. Good quality service, with great quality beans!

  3. I love the ovolo Gutierrez. I almost bought a house there, but the guy selling it got super pissed off at me when I offered him 70000 soles for it instead of the $70000 that he was asking for. Whatever! And I do like the Starbucks there. Peruvian coffee may be good, but not nearly as tasty as the whipped cream and syrupy concoctions available at Starbucks. Too bad if you consider me an idiot, but that's my opinion. You're right though, Unless you're a native Peruvian you'll probably wind up dead if you try to navigate those things by yourself