Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Scariest Moment in Lima - The Temple

Lima is a beautiful city in many ways, but a frightening city in some ways as well. In California we have "good" neighborhoods and "bad" neighborhoods. In "good" neighborhoods homes and yards are open and airy. In the "bad" neighborhoods you often see bars on the windows of the shops and homes to protect the people living there.

In Lima, the entire city looked like a "bad" neighborhood to my eyes. There are private security guards at the churches, at the hotels, at the grocery stores and at the businesses. Most homes have 8-10 foot high stone or wrought iron fences with barbs, and occasionally electric wire, adorning the top. Even the parking garages have armed guards. And the British travel advisories warn you to be wary of unscrupulous taxi cab drivers due to some unfortunate recent mishaps.

So it was with some trepidation I decided to take a solo trip to the LDS Temple Saturday morning. I was warned it would be a busy day, so my best bet would be to arrive at 7:00 AM, when the Temple opened, for the early morning session. I planned accordingly, allowing for a 30-40 minute taxi ride, and possible delays with the taxi company. The taxi cab picked me up promptly at 6:00 AM and at 6:15 AM pulled over next to a 10 foot tall, black wrought iron fence with  barbs at the top and announced we were here. Granted, I've never been to the temple, but I have seen pictures and those pictures did not look like an abandoned street with a large, scary fence and some garbage scattered about. I found myself in the frightening position of being a woman, alone, at 6:15 in the morning, in  a strange neighborhood, in a strange country where I do not speak the language very well. In a panic, I tried to communicate my concerns to the taxi cab driver. What came out was "Mi seguridad!" as I frantically flipped through my phrase book trying to find the right words to say.  The driver began to understand, and offered to take a look around for me. After about a minute, he hopped back in the driver's seat, said something encouraging, then proceeded to drive around the corner. There, to my relief, was the entrance to the temple. I paid the driver, happily hopped out, and walked onto the Temple grounds. All fear and worry was gone. I knew I was home.

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