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Published: April 27th 2015
: With a three hour flight delay under our belts, we made it to Lima a bit later than planned. We've been very lucky with avoiding delays so far so mustn't grumble. Everyone else on our flight was acting like they'd never been delayed before in their lives. I remember hours sat in airports as a child waiting for delayed planes (maybe time was just stretched though and it always felt like they were delayed?). Anyway, I'm sure travel is a lot more reliable nowadays!
It was past lunch time when we arrived and food was on the brain so first things first we checked out the facilities in the hostel kitchen, then headed out to grab some lunch. We found a little cafe with a sarnie for Nick and a spinach pie for me. They were also selling churros (fried dough served with melted chocolate for dipping) but we resisted (for now)! After lunch it was a trip to the barber for Nick with his new request of 'número uno aqui y número dos aqui '. With Nick closely shaved all over, we headed to the supermarket to procure some
veggie pasta ingredients for our evening meal.
The kitchen conditions were challenging to say the least (one pan, no wooden spoon, chopping board or sharp knife) and for the second time on this trip I'd picked up a cucumber instead of a courgette (they always put them next to the peppers and they look just like courgettes)! However, some tasty pasta was produced with some super sweet pineapple for pudding / eating whilst chopping it up.
The next day (Friday) would be our one and only full day in Lima and to save us the effort of figuring out what we should be seeing, we joined the free walking tour in the morning. I was hoping that we would have as much fun as we did on the Rio walking tour in Brazil but it turns out there's not much doing in Lima (sorry Lima). The brief highlights were the changing of the guard, the cathedral, a church, an old train station, some chicha morada (a soft drink made from black sweetcorn) and some free pisco. The pisco tasting was at the end of the tour and included a taste of the classic Peruvian cocktail, pisco sours, passionfruit
pisco (really tasty), creamy pisco (like pisco baileys) and neat pisco (tastes a bit like tequila). Other than that, it is quite a grey place with permanent smog (while we were there anyway). Unfortunately for Lima, our guide told us that a lot of their old buildings had either been destroyed in their war with the Chileans or earthquakes.
After the walking tour we found our way back to our neck of the woods. One of the best things about our neck of the woods is the park over the road. It's basically full of cats! They're all really pretty and really friendly. If you sit down it's not long before you're joined by a cat or two keen for a stroke or a lap to sit on. It makes me think of my crazy cat lady friends and I wish could transplant the park to Reading! On first sight I expected out of control cat reproduction. However, there was only one litter of kittens and I couldn't see any tom cats. However, we did see a park ranger releasing some cats in to the park so I think that they probably do take them to be neutered and
they all look well taken care of, with little bowls of cat food scattered around. Needless to say, most trips out have involved a little wander through the park to see the residents!
The evening brought some leftover pasta for dinner and a trip to the 'Circuito Magico del Agua' which is a park full of fountains set to music, including a laser and water fountain show - all for less than a quid entry. We were joined by one of our hostel friends that Nick had been out with the previous night. The park was the highlight of Lima for me. The fountains were enormous and the way they were lit was amazing. You could also walk though some of the fountains without getting too wet. One was a 'tunnel' of water ('tunnel' so long as none of the youngsters were sticking their hands in the water jets to redirect the flow!) and another was a series of concentric circles where the jets alternated between being off, 1 foot high and 6 foot high. There were some more random jets in that fountain that I managed to avoid and relatively stay dry! The 25 minute laser show was
good, with the lasers and fountains choreographed to mariachi versions of 'We Will Rock You', 'Waterloo', 'Ride of the Valkyries' and a lot of traditional Peruvian panpipe moods! Much fun!
Now I come to the point in the tale that once again makes us look like a right pair of idiots... Laying in bed this morning watching some footie at about 8:15am, Nick decided to check the airport details of our flight later in the day. We had been looking forward to our nice relaxed day before our 5:30pm ish flight to Costa Rica. Very matter-of-fact, Nick informed me that the flight was actually at 10:50am. The contents of our backpacks were strewn across the room, the airport was 30 minutes away and we hadn't booked a taxi. So much for two first class BSc's and an MSc between us. We are a pair of first class numpteys. If we had known what time the flight was we probably would have been in a taxi by 8am. We spent a fraught half hour throwing clothes in rucksacks, card machine not working at check out so we had to give up our well hoarded American dollars, taxis that aren't allowed
to the airport and closed roads. We finally managed to get in a 'taxi' to the airport by about 8:45. Not quite legitimate as he removed his 'taxi' badge when we got close to the airport, was insistent that we remain 'tranquilo' on going through the security checkpoint and that we pay him while we were in the car. However, he got us there in 50 mins (the closed roads only served to add to our journey length and anxiety) and we were checked in one hour before our flight. I have no idea how we were both so stupid or why Nick checked the flight when he did (we had considered going out for breakfast, having a lie in etc) but I'm now finishing this blog on the plane bound for Costa Rica. Phew.
We're now catching our breath on the flight watching one of the most awful films I've ever seen before the usual stresses of trying to reach our final destination from the airport: a three hour bus that we couldn't buy in advance so fingers crossed we'll arrive at some point today and I can take the much needed shower that I missed this morning!
: We arrived Saturday evening at our hotel after managing to catch a bus 30 minutes after we arrived at the bus station, when we thought we would be waiting hours. When the bus arrived in Manuel Antonio we asked the bus driver if he knew where our hotel was (we had planned to get directions during our half day in Lima) and he pointed over the road! We felt rewarded with good karma after our stressful morning, vowed never to be so stupid again and enjoyed the cold beers in the 29 degree celcius evening heat VERY much!)
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