An unexpected change in our travel trajectory brought us out (of the airport) to explore Lima. Our 9 AM flight out of Cusco, on Avianca Airlines, was delayed as the printer had failed! Boarding passes could not be printed and the poor, understaffed airline crew had to hand write every single passenger's boarding pass information. Online check-in facility was not available either. To add to our woes, passengers of an earlier outbound flight were still being attended to. It was a foregone conclusion that we would miss our next connecting flight out of Lima
Eventually, our 9 AM scheduled Avianca flight took off, after 11:30 AM. Since we were early in line, we boarded the aircraft and waited for the rest of the passengers to come aboard. But what I found bizarre was the pilot’s announcement on the public address system calling the delay “unavoidable”.
Couldn’t help but laugh when I thought about how different the situation would have been if this had happened closer to home! Much later I’d learn from a waiter in a Lima restaurant that Peruvians are known for being laidback and late – Wow! looks like the proverbial ‘Hyderabadi late lateef’s had
beautiful, ornate wooden facade
- main square, Plaza De Armas, Lima Peru
some competition here!
From Machu Picchu’s cloud 9, Lima felt like ground zero – from the aircraft window this looked more like the Middle East, brown, dusty and cement-y. After the plane landed, we had to rush to get rerouted on alternate flights and this gave us a four hour layover before our next connection.
When life gives you lemons in Lima,
you make lemonade! And when you find yourself in a new city, you go explore it says the adventurer in my husband – so off we went to check out the city
We stepped outside to take the first taxi that approached us (remember we were on a time crunch!) Thanks to Waze and Google maps, we tell the cabbie to take us to Plaza De Armas (figured out that all cities would have a plaza de Armas 😊) only to learn that the cab driver didn't speak English – Thankfully he understood our limited Spanish and drove on. The plaza was farther away than we expected and although, this had me worried (about not getting back in time), the bright side to this long taxi ride was that it took us through the city
longer and helped us form an unbiased opinion – what you see is what it is!
In most cities, the ride out of the airport is usually the best one, or at least in the nation’s capital, and here is what had us amazed - but for the wrong reasons. Perhaps it was because our expectations were high after Cusco and Aguas Calientes or because we assumed that Lima being the capital city would be well endowed by the government machinery if not by nature. It surprised us to see the roads less maintained; grassy medians brown and withered up, its limited trees in dire need of water and attention. Brick buildings without any protective cementing which meant that after heavy rains, walls would let in water and graffiti everywhere...
The cabbie finally stopped at Plaza De Armas and we walked around, took pictures then settled in to have lunch at Peru Gourmet Restaurante. Good food and great service by Mike made this the best meal of our holiday - until then adios amigos!
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