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Published: September 3rd 2011
Today was my first day on my own again after the overland trip. Another girl from the group, Rosie, was also changing hotels to a hostel in Miraflores (a district of Lima) so we took a taxi there together and then split to our own hostels. I am staying at the Flying Dog hostel right on the main park (Parque Kennedy) in the district. I checked in, talked on skype a bit to my mom and siblings, bought my bus ticket from the travel agent at the hostel for tomorrow from Lima to Cusco (22 hours), and then took a nap. When I woke up I met up with Rosie again for dinner and had some really good pizza. Tomorrow is my only day in Lima so we will go exploring a bit in central Lima before I catch my bus.
Central Lima is really the only part of Lima that is nice to explore besides Miraflores and there are two main plazas, Plaza San Martin and Plaza de Armas. So Rosie and I went into the center in search of some interesting churches and perhaps the Spanish Inquisition museum. Sadly, we never found the museum but there were a few old churches with incredible architecture and intricate carvings. We just wandered around a bit, looking for a museum that didn´t cost 40 soles to get in, and eventually we came accross a small museum about the traditional costumes of the different regions of Peru. It was interesting to see but it wasn´t very big. The funny part was that we (the tourists) are usually the ones taking pictures of all the local kids and local culture, but at the museum a bunch of school kids were the ones wanting to take pictures of us. It was cute, they were so excited about it. I still wanted to find the other museum but we were running out of time before my bus so we went back to Miraflores and explored some of the markets there. When it was time to catch my bus I took a taxi to the bus station, got in line for the luggage check, and then, suprise! The ticket I had bought was for yesterday... I talked to the ticket people but there were no seats left on the buses today and I couldn´t get any refund for my wrong ticket. So I had to purchase another entire ticket for tomorrow at 2 pm, and this time I checked many times to make sure the date and all the information was correct. Ugh, what a hassle. Since >I had another night in Lima I went back to my same hotel and then went out for dinner with some other girls still there from the overland trip. Hopefully I will have more luck getting on the right bus tomorrow.
My entire day was pretty much taken up by my 22 hour bus ride. The bus left Cusco at 2 pm and it won´t be in Cusco until about 12 pm tomorrow (Saturday). But it was actually a nice bus. Dinner was decent, there were movies playing, and the seats reclined almost the whole way so I actually went to sleep.
Still on the bus when I woke up, but I had managed to sleeo for about 8 hours. Breakfast was terrible, but I ate the apple and some snacks I had. We still have about 3 hours until we reached Lima so I started watching a movie. Bad idea. Turns out I had been on the bus for a little too long for my motion sickness to be happy and I got sick about 30 minutes before we reached Lima. Not much fun, but at least we were almost there. Finally I made it to Cusco! I will be here for 6 weeks volunteering with an organzation called Aurora Andina where I will live in a home stay and work with orphanages. I was met at the bus station by the overall coordinator for Aurora Andina, Maria Jesus. She took me to my home stay where I met my host mom, a very nice woman named Maria Elena. After a quick tour of the house I took a 4 hour nap to recover from the bus ride and from the big change in altitude (Cusco is at about 3400 m). When I woke up my host mom had left for the night but there was another girl living at the same house who had been here for 2 months and it was her 5th time in Cusco. So she took me around the neighborhood, showed me the internet places, the atm, the supermarket, and then we went into town together. The house is in the Mariscal Gamarra district, right by the university and it is about a 25 minute walk or a 7 minute taxi ride into the city center. She was going to meet a friend and I went to meet some friends I had met at the lodge in the Amazon in Ecuador. They were staying at the Loki Backpackers Hostel, well know for its party atmosphere and it did not earn that reputation for no reason. Tonight the theme for the party was ´fancy dress: wear anything but real clothes.´ It was hilarious. I haven´t seen so many creative outfits before, especially from a bunch of backpackers who don´t have a lot of stuff. But there were people wearing garbage bag dresses, towels, tape, sleeping bags, boxes, everything you could think of. It was a lot of fun, everyone was dancing, and I made some new friends who will be here for a while as well. My first night in Cusco and it was a great welcome. I am excited for my weeks to come! I start spanish classes and volunteering on Monday!
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