Published: August 6th 2007May 2nd 2007
Boy was I wrong about the last day being the longest 24 hours of my life! The journey getting here takes that accolade! Our flights consisted of 3 hours sitting in Heathrow airport a 2 ½ hour flight to Madrid, 2 ½ hours sitting in Madrid airport, then a 12 hour flight to Lima. The London-Madrid part wasn’t too bad as I just caught up on sleep from getting up at 2am to get to the airport but the Madrid-Lima part was terrible. Soon after take off the stewards served our meal then disappeared until a couple of hours before it ended to serve another meal! I would have assumed they’d had a heavy night partying before and were catching forty winks at the back but with an average age of about 60 I find that hard to believe. The on board entertainment consisted of a few 14” TV screens scattered about the cabin, the closest to us must have been at least 10 meters away! It wouldn’t have been too bad if I hadn’t packed my binoculars in my hold luggage! Staring out the window wasn’t an option either as all there was to see was the Atlantic Ocean for
almost the entire duration of the flight. I literally shuffled about trying to regain the feeling in my ass for 12 hours while finishing the book I’d only started a couple of days earlier.
As if that wasn’t enough, once we got through immigration, and mingled around the luggage carousel (until everyone had left) we discovered that they’d lost Faye’s luggage, possibly in Madrid! We filled out the necessary paperwork and were given a number to call the next day to see if they’d had any luck tracking it down and were sent on our (un)merry way! Faye had a two minute rant, then soon calmed down when she realised that if it didn’t turn up she’d be able to buy all new things… Women, gotta love ‘em?
As we were turning up in the evening I decided previously that I couldn’t be bothered with just heading into the city and finding a hostel so I’d pre-booked one I found on the internet that was located in Barranco, a ‘safer’ suburb of Lima. I’d also booked a taxi through the hostel to pick us up as I was told that taxis are dangerous here. If you’re lucky they’ll
just jack up the price half way through the journey, if you’re unlucky you’ll be left at the roadside in just your underwear and it doesn’t bear thinking about what happens if you’re really unlucky! We were led to a car which could have only been described as rust on wheels and jumped in.
The driver set off at top speed almost immediately and within a minute had to slam on the brakes because of the traffic up ahead, all we heard was the insane screech of callipers against the brake disks (the brake pads must of worn away ages ago) and saw the back end of a car rushing towards the windscreen, luckily due to a last minute swerve we missed the chap in front by an inch or two! Faye and I quickly grabbed our seatbelts, and looked at each other mouths gaping… Our South American adventure almost ended after being here an hour! After straightening the car up we then proceeded to the hostel at about 80mph. Jeez, did this guy just learn nothing about the capabilities of this cars brakes? We got to the hostel pretty quick glad that we’d taken the ‘safe’ option. After
arriving we pretty much just zoned out and slept trying to make the last 20 or so hours a distant memory.
The next day we woke pretty late, ate our breakfast which was included with the room and spoke to the chap which runs our hostel about Faye’s luggage. He was incredibly helpful and said he’d call around the airport while we were out to try and see how they were getting on with tracking it down. Refreshed, we set off into Barranco to have a look around. We first had a look around the village which is pretty tiny and then headed off to the beach as it’s literally a one minute walk away from our hostel. While we were out the clouds cleared and the sun came through, and while we weren’t paying attention it burnt us to a crisp! We are now sporting red faces and glowing noses. We then headed back to the hostel to check on the luggage situation. When we got back we were asked by the hostel chap if the bag had any distinguishing marks (not a great sign) and then just mooched around the hostel for the rest of the evening.
While were crashed out, we received a phone call from the airport to say they’ve tracked down a bag and just wanted to clarify if it was ours. Luckily we had the forethought to stick a tag with our home address on our luggage before we left London and when she read it out on the phone to me I breathed a sigh of relief. I was told it was in Madrid and would be on the first plane to Lima and would arrive in the evening the next day. Excellent stuff!
Today we threw caution to the wind and flagged down a taxi to take us into central Lima. I bargained with the driver in my rubbish ‘phrase book’ Spanish then we headed off. It turns out this driver was just as concerned with our safety as we were, he made sure we wore our seatbelts and locked all the doors when some undesirable looking types were around! He dropped us off in the Plaza de Armas and wished us well before driving off. We actually felt really safe walking round the city, there are armed police and security all over the place so we never felt in danger at all, which is not what we were led to believe, I think it’s just a case of the horror stories in the guide books making us paranoid. It’s a really beautiful city to stroll around, although there are no ‘sights’ as such the buildings and atmosphere make it pretty amazing. We booked our bus out of the city for the next day as well so fingers crossed Faye’s luggage arrives, because I don’t want to come back for it! When we got back to the hostel we were told that they would be delivering it to the hostel this evening, this is really great new as Faye’s starting to smell!