The Cats of CATLAND // Parque Kennedy (Lima, Peru)
Last November I voyaged six thousand miles across the face of the Earth to go to Peru. Peru is really far away from Aldgate East. It’s a peculiar feeling to tread the boards on such a faraway ground – the magic of the aeroplane!
Various friends and research had told me it wasn’t worth staying long in Lima, and instead putting in extra time elsewhere. However, I would like to make a strong case for time in Lima. Lima rules.
Q. WHY DOES LIMA RULE?
A. PARQUE KENNEDY.
There isn’t a great deal of English-language raving about this mythical place, which I renamed CATLAND. And sprung forth from the goo of my brainbox, the raving doth follow:
Catland is known by locals as Parque Kennedy, a park which forms the centerpiece of the Miraflores district of Lima. Miraflores is a leafy and pretty place to stay, a few miles away from downtown Lima. Lima is the capital of Peru, and around a third of the country’s total population lives in the city.
There is an article about the park here. The article says around 120 felines live in the park (it’s not a very big park, triangular shaped and maybe half the size of Russell Square in London) and that the kitties are maintained by a group of volunteers.
We landed in Lima late Saturday night, and the original plan had been to catch a bus to Cusco the next day at 2pm. It transpired that the bus was full and the next available one would be on Monday. This meant an extra day and a half in Lima.
I did not know Catland existed, and when being told about the Miraflores district by our wonderfully helpful B&B owner, he failed to mention the delights of Catland. So the discovery of Catland was not unlike how Christopher Colombus must have felt when he stumbled across America.
And now begins the pictorial documentation of:
THE CATS OF CATLAND
PARQUE KENNEDY, LIMA
The park is pretty unmissable if you are staying in Miraflores; it’s surrounded on all sides by shops and restaurants and at the south end lies the church. Strolling through the park (which also has free wi-fi: well done, Lima) I spotted some cats in the distance. It goes without saying, this was exciting to me. Then, I noticed MORE CATS, pictured above.
Then, I spotted a kitty which let me pick him up. This was the first kitty I accosted and he left a brown footprint on my orange shirt. This is also pretty much the moment I realised we were in a magical place:
Maybe it was the unexpected discovery which made the park so holy to me. My poor friend I was traveling with then had to resign to the fact that there would be a lot of time spent in Catland. And a lot of me talking to cats.
CATLAND, DAY ONE:
After the discovery of Catland, here are some of the kitties who introduced me to their feline El Dorado:
The friendliest, and most wonderful feline we met that day was a kitty I betrothed with the name Patchwork Butt. He was named this because he had a bald patch near his butt where he had clearly just received some medical attention (evidence of the good maintenance of the park kitties). Peebee was very friendly and malleable – pick him up and he’d just flop into a ball on your lap and stay there forever. I spent a lot of time with Peebee on my lap, and the passers by would smile at the sight of me on the floor with Patchwork Butt fast asleep in my lap.
This is how it would’ve looked:
As you can see, Patchwork Butt and I got on pretty well.
Due to there being “other things to see” in Lima, we went and looked at them. Though, luckily, the next day our bus was not until the afternoon so we had a whole morning to spend in Catland…
CATLAND, DAY TWO:
A whole morning in Catland meant that I had time to make plenty of new friends.
The best thing about this second day in Catland was:
THE REDISCOVERY OF PATCHWORK BUTT
I was thrilled to find the same feline from the day before, who we sat with for quite a while.
What a delight!
We caught the bus that afternoon to head to the Andes, to Cusco and beyond. We traveled for three weeks, before returning to Lima at the end of the trip; to fly home from the airport. We arrived very early on a Monday morning, with a flight the following day in the evening. Which meant an additional two days in Lima.
Due to the fact it might be considered frivolous to go six thousand miles to the capital city of a country and only see its public cats, we put in time to see downtown Lima, including the creepy catacombs, and also a cool park of fountains. But there was still time made for Catland…
CATLAND, DAY THREE (THREE WEEKS LATER):
The above cat was kinda skanky, and thus was known as Skanky Cat.
Above we see Delightfully Disturbed, named after the fact this cat was a bit of a weirdo.
We made lots of friends that day. Including, Seemingly Sassy, Ocean and Cilla The Boy. But, the cream of the crop, was that we found Patchwork Butt again! I knew we could, as I could sense Patchwork Butt would wait for me. He knew I’d be back. I was very happy.
THE REDISCOVERY OF PATCHWORK BUTT, EPISODE II: THE PHANTOM PATCHWORK BUTT
Three weeks had gone by and by now Peebee’s P. B (patchwork butt) had grown over and was no longer the bald patch it once was.
The next day was our last day in Peru. We spent the morning in downtown Lima looking at ‘culture’ before returning to…
CATLAND, DAY FOUR:
So now, the search was active to find Patchwork Butt. He was nowhere to be found! We made some new friends though.
Above is where I asked Dale to go get Treebutt so I could have two cats on my lap. Unfortunately Treebutt was stubborn.
We were about ready to give up the hunt for Patchwork Butt; we had spotted a couple of Fakers pretending to be Peebee, but not the feline himself.
But, then! What ho! Hark!
We found Peebee on the pavement surrounded by people. The people stayed with him for ages, and we simply had to stake out the situation until Peebee was free to accost:
We stayed for a while, and our parting was such sweet sorrow.
To conclude: If you ever go through Lima and like kitties, it’s highly recommended you go find Patchwork Butt in Parque Kennedy.
Tell him I sent you.
Thanks to Dale for the pictures and for putting up with me wanting to spend so much time hunting down Patchwork Butt.