Compared to what we had heard about Lima, our experience was very nice. We didn't end up in the trunk of any cars or separated from our most valuable possessions either. This may have had a lot to do with our collective decision to take recommended taxis (taxi green is the best from the airport). This was made more affordable by the addition of a temporary 3rd traveling companion, Rea. She is from the Philippines, just 17 years old, and is traveling Latin America by herself after spending a year studying Spanish in Bolivia. We were on the same bus getting into Cusco, and then went on the same jungle trek together. We only took official taxis, and then stayed in the upscale neighborhood of Miraflores that is more expensive for both food and lodging. We went straight for the Inka Lodge, which was the 2nd highest rated hostel in Latin America last year. It was priced to match, but was nice. We ended up paying $15 a night per person, but had a dorm room to ourselves, and very clean bathrooms.
I was also happy to try the Lima cuisine, which, according to many, is the best in South
Statue from 'Lovers Park'
America. The local specialty, Ceviche, was great. We had it in a place recommended by our hostel. It is raw fish absolutely drenched in Lime / Lemon juice, with chilies and other spices. The best seafood I have ever had. I could not even taste the fish. The texture was what gave it away. On a downside, both Justin and Rea got terrible food poisoning from it. I also found out that for $.33 (or 1 Peruvian) you can buy a fantastic caramel apple pastry from a bicycle cart vendor. It was pretty much a leading contender in the pastry category for the last 5 years. Amazing. it was like an apple turnover with a layer of caramel under the apples.
Our time in Lima was very much geared toward rest and relaxation, but we did go out to dinner with some gals from the local Expeditors International office (Justin's old workplace), and it was fun to hear their opinions about life in Peru and regional politics (in case you were wondering, Chile is an evil country and Bolivia will never amount to anything). The key takeaway is the Chile is EVIL! Trying to steal everything in the hemisphere.
Pic of Justin from outside, he is between the B and the U
Pisco Sour is the national drink of Peru, and don't you let anybody from Chile tell you otherwise! We had a good time with them.
Other than spending several hours walking along the waterfront view portion of Miraflores and taking in all the western chains (I had a bite a Burger King, Justin drank some Starbucks, which I didn't want any of because they didn't have the creamers out on the bar like they were supposed to, come on people...) we didn't do that much. Just enjoyed our upscale lodging, rested, napped, and got ready for our bus blitz toward Ecuador and then on to Colombia. We had a lot of road to cover.
Having spent some time in only the rich part of the city, I can attest that it does have the ability to be a very pleasant place to stay. I even coordinated with the One World airline alliance enough to get my bag delivered from Cusco. You see, the enlightened people at the American office in Bolivia brought it into La Paz after I had told them that I would not be there anymore, and then went on to send it to Cusco without
sending me the confirmation that they were doing that. Their airline of choice, Aerosur, is only at the Cusco airport two days a week (some very important information that was left out of our conversation back in La Paz). I am pretty sure I would still be without bag had it not been for a truly outstanding American Airlines employee in Lima. After I went back and forth between the LAN office (the people at that airline are still viewed as a conglomeration of indifferent, incompetent morons by yours truly) and American office, Ricardo stated that enough was enough, closed down the American office and went with me to sort it out. Once he arrived at the LAN office, the whole matter was resolved within 5 minutes. They agreed to transport the bag to Lima on their airline, and agreed to follow up with Aerosur once the people with the posh schedule got back to the airport. Some key differences between the two airlines.
American - Actually does something. LAN - Tries to find another airline to do the work. American - Makes phone calls to clarify the situation without being asked to. LAN- refuses to make calls to
At long last, after being flown from Either JFK or Paris to Miami, Lima, La Paz, Cuscu, Lima, I saw the bag. Ironic aspect is, after it arrived and I unpacked it, true to plan, I threw it away.
their own airline offices in other cities and looks at you in distain for suggesting the imposition. They give you the number and tell you to find a pay phone. Moral of the story, without the assistance of American, there would be no official record that my bag was delayed or that LAN was at fault for refusing to file a claim. All those notes were added by American employees. So, LAN agreed to take down my address and let me know how things progressed.
---- Two days later, e-mail from LAN. My Bag is in Lima, come to the airport and get it. Great, nice work taking down the address guys, I see that came in very handy. $20 taxi ride to the airport and back, do they think they can pay for that, "Oh no, we couldn't do that, you don't have a claim with us." And it comes full circle, why don't I have a claim, oh yeah, because you wouldn't open one. At this point, I realized that it might be better for me not to press them on that. Write American once I get back to the states and see if I have better
luck with them. They were, after all, the ones that actually solved the problem. And so, two weeks after I arrive, I have my clothes. Yey!
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