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Published: June 17th 2011
It has now been 4 months since we left cold England and although it has been a great adventure the first signs of travel fatigue are starting to set in. At the mere thought of simple things like baked beans and roast dinners we find ourselves salivating. Anyway it is time for a new country and we have high expectations for Peru. After an expensive flight to Lima we decide a private room is a luxury we cannot afford so we opt for a 6 bed dorm, luckily for the first night we are the only ones in it, so after a quick wander around the middle class area of Miraflores we settle in for the night.
The next morning we decide to head to the old town for some sightseeing, which apparently is only safe in the daytime. After being given some hopeless information by the hostel we eventually manage to workout which bus we need to get. With the tourist information closed and no map we resort to asking policemen ‘donde....’
We wander round the Plaza de Armas and outside the congress building Em decides that her hiking shoes are in such a state
that something must be done. I fear the worst thinking Em wants to buy a new pair but luckily there are lots of street shoe shine people who can make your shoes look brand new for 1 sole (20p). Whilst Em has her shoes shined I start talking to a local business man also having his shoes shined who turns out to be a congressman, he gives me his card and offers to give us a tour of the congress palace which is basically the equivalent of our Westminister. We are both slightly surprised that a congressman actually has time to take tourists round congress, and then start to worry what will happen if we say yes!
With our newly bought tourist map, we find our next destination, the monastery. The tour is only hindered by the strange intonation that the guide has... both of us feel slightly bugged by it, but luckily the building itself is pretty cool. The skulls and bones in the crypts are pretty creepy and Em is not keen at all... being surrounded by dead people, I feel a bit like the kid in 6th sense.
Despite Em being ill we have booked
to go to the ‘best’ restaurant in Lima. All the trip advisor reviews are excellent, so we get as dolled up as possible and head out. We find a pisco bar to have an aperitif in, and order some seriously strong pisco drinks. At the restaurant we decide not to go for the tasting menu on the advice of the waiter who says it is a lot of food. Instead we have another cocktail (I get a coca pisco sour) and we settle on 2 starters to share and I have rabbit for main, and Em has fish. Feeling excited by the bread and amuse bouche, we then enjoy our starters... the ceviches are very good with different ranges of spiciness but the meaty starters aren’t so hot, and Em begins to feel a bit sick. As her main course arrives she excuses herself and goes to throw up in the toilet. Returning to the table, she then tries her main... I have a prawn and it is the worst thing I have ever put in my mouth! Em leaves the main course, and we decide to have a desert arguing that it is hard to mess up a pudding.
The desert is actually really nice. I haven’t had enough to drink and so we go to the pisco bar again. Em passes on drinks and vomits again! Back at the hostel we are slightly dismayed to find that the girls in our room are still messing about packing/unpacking (I have no idea what they are doing actually) and we manage to fall asleep with the light on as they shuffle around us, till who knows what hour.
Em here – I am carrying on the next bit! The girls wake up at what must be 4am and proceed to get ready in the room with their head torches on... I cannot believe it takes so long to get ready, and am surprised to see one curling her hair with tongs! After an hour and a half they finally leave... and I manage to get some more sleep – Si can’t and goes downstairs to chill, only to find about 10 obnoxious guys in the only chilling area who have eaten all the buffet breakfast and are now watching a really unfunny film at full volume, which we have already seen 3 times on various bus journeys.
hang out at the hotel before going to the GAP hotel down the road. It is pretty posh and we are glad to have a nice room to ourselves. We scan the list of names to see if we can glean anything from it (we can’t, except that we reckon one guy is Scandinavian), and then head to our room. After a chill we head to the pre-Inca ruins down the road, which are cool, although it feels like we are baking in the sun. On the way back we share an ice cream (we only have enough money for 1) and it is quite romantic until an American business man dribbling his ice cream everywhere decides to talk to us... he is also slightly deaf so the conversation is stunted to say the least!
Feeling slightly nervous we head down to the GAP meeting, where everyone else is also nervous and after some awkward introductions (Si declares that we have been up all night drinking Pisco) we head out in school trip fashion for some food. We are now starting to feel the culture shock as for the next 30 days we will follow like sheep with 14
others around Peru and Bolivia. Initially we thought this would be a welcome relief from having to arrange everything ourselves but change can sometimes be difficult. After dinner Si and I check out the music and market in the square before turning in for an early night.
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