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Published: January 30th 2012
Someone blocked the toilet - no naming names! Also the toilet seemed to leak during the night. Fortunately, the two incidents were unconnected........ May update the situation tomorrow.
Took a taxi in the rush hour to the Cathedral. Every 7th car apparently is a taxi and each one wants to charge a different price. One refused to take us, just shook his head in disgust as he said it was the rush hour and would take him too long..
Had a wander round the Cathedral - a mishmash of styles and ages and restored so many times down through the years due to earthquakes. We have discovered that unlike Spain, very few people speak English. Fortunately, Ed's Spanish lessons have stood him in good stead and he relies on Jo to translate for him despite Jo never having learnt Spanish in her life although Ed is fluent in telling everyone who will listen 'My name is Ed' in Spanish.
Decided to find the Tourist Information Office to try and get a guide as very little English information in any tourist site and the guide book we have is very basic. Booked ourselves on a walking tour of the
important sites with admission to the Franciscan Monastery and Catacombs. Our guide, Cecelia, was probably about 28, had been guiding for 10 years and was a mine of information and her love for her country and her city shone through. There were only the three of us. It seemed a real shame that this lady who obviously had an incredible love of history and would love to see the world has never been across the Peruvian border!! Not knowing how much to tip we asked her - which was possibly not sensible as she could have said a silly amount. She asked for 15 to 20 soles which is roughly 4-5GBP which for an hour and a half seemed very reasonable, although of course we did pay the tourist office a separate amount for the tour.
We then came upon an 'Artesan Quarter' with several little shops selling all manner of local souvenirs. We bought an Alpaca 'Chompa' - in English a jumper and decided that we really didn't want to carry it around with us for the next few weeks as baggage space is already tight . We thus decided that we would post it to the UK. Wandered around everywhere looking for the post office. We were given various directions from various people. Arrived at the post office but needed to pack it. Fortunately, there was a whole avenue of stalls selling various envelopes and padded bags. We then joined a short queue but learned that we had to fill in three different forms and having filled them in, were told we needed to give identification . Somewhat surprisingly, a young lady who had already helped translate the forms for us, offered to use her ID on our behalf which included having her fingerprints taken and her identity card copied. The postage cost twice as much as the jumper and they make sure you pack it in front of them, i.e. they take your item out, look at it, put it back, seal the envelope with their own sellotape and hand it back to you and point in the direction of another queue to pay. Once paid, you then join a third queue to hand over your package.... ah well, one way of occupying an hour.
We wandered around for a little while longer. Decided to go to a park with 'son et lumiere' water fountains but realised in time they were not open on a Monday. Took a taxi back to the hotel to rest our weary feet.
We are really surprised at how helpful everyone has been to us although many seem to find something very funny about us which is a little worrying. In a restaurant yesterday, for example, we had to give our name for the food order. Two boys behind the counter found the name 'Ed' hilarious and couldnt stop laughing - we couldn't quite work out why!!
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