Simon feasting in Lima
The dodgy lemonade has shrunk my face into this inane grin!
Arrived at Lima´s Jorge Chavez airport with the unanimous conclusion that it was better than that at Miami...our opinion of which was yet to decline further.
BA flight from London to Miami was pretty good - we were fed at regular intervals and there were some half decent films on, although Simon was not persuaded that now would be a good opportunity to savour that cinematic masterpiece that is Brokeback Mountain.
Miami was an absolute shambles with no directions or competent staff meaning that we were not entirely convinced that our bags would make it through the ´direct´transfer they were supposed to...and we were right! Yes, as we waited beside the carousel, with, it must be said about twenty other people, the realisation slowly dawned on us that we would not be seeing our bags that evening. We then had to queue for another hour or so to fill out American Airlines forms to have our bags delivered the next day. Not impressed!
Arrived at the hostel after our mammoth journey (by now nearing 40 hours) and pretty much collapsed into bed.
Awoke with strong needs for a shower but no
real prospect of obtaining one any time soon...however, American Airlines redeemed themselves somewhat by delivering our bags just after 11am, as promised, and only minus our bedrolls.
Decided we deserved a somewhat chilled out day, so after wandering around Barranco (suburb of Lima where our hostel The Point is located) we watched a bit of the football, with enjoyable over-excited Spanish commentary and unexpected Peruvian support for the Germans. Went for lunch and sampled some of the local specialty Ceviche, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice with chillis, onions and garlic (a little surprisingly very good). It was at this point that we realised our efforts at dabbling with some espanol had come up rather short.
Before returning to the hostel we walked around the coast to the suburb of Miraflores, which is quite an upcoming area of Lima and had extravagent new appartment blocks popping up all over the place. As we walked we were honked by taxi drivers at practically every step - it seems that whenever they see someone who looks remotely like a tourist, they assume you need a taxi, despite the fact that you´re not looking in their direction or anywhere near the road performing a flagging motion. Had a look around a nice shopping centre at the top of the cliffs, where we rejected a schoolgirl...who wanted us to star in her movie. No, nothing dodgy - rather our Spanish wasn´t up to the mark (although Simon was trying his best). Clearly flustered, he then proceeded to cause some minor panic by leaving his card in an ATM, only for it to be promptly returned. We are treating this as a learning curve, since they let you take out your money first here before asking if you require any other service. Clearly the UK banks realised how stupid us Brits are and sorted this nonsensical idea out!
Chilling out tonight with a few beers then catching up on some well needed (and deserved) sleep. Lima Centro tomorrow.
Relaxing morning with another cruise around Barranco before the football kicked off at 10am. Probably the most enjoyable thing about the game was once again the commentary, with the commentators having a particular penchant for particular players: ´Rrrrrrobinson´and ´Crrrouch´being notable favourites.
With our spirits slightly dimmed we headed for a taxi into Lima Centro. While our taxi from the airport was a brand new vehicle, with seatbelts, this one was of the small box variety and no seatbelts. We assumed the brace position, although it seemed our driver was ok on this occasion. When he stopped for petrol (engine still fully running) we were asked our nationality by the attendants who then had a good laugh at us.
Safely deposited in Lima´s central Plaza del Mayor, we went first for some lunch and yet again were not disappointed. Simon ordered a lemonade and was served with something homemade that looked a bit dodgy but he found enjoyable. The food itself came in mountainous portions and was very tasty.
Next to the famous Franciscan monestary, where we were given a guided tour by a Spanish woman with questionable English abilities (obviously aware we should not be so ungrateful). She was rather upset by the end when someone had informed her that what she had been calling ´hell´were actually wells or pits. This was in the context of the catacombs under the
site, where it is estimated around 70,000 people were buried. We thought that hell wasn´t such a bad description after all, since this was where they threw the bodies of unknown persons.
We went from the monestary into chinatown, which was bustling with street traders and large crowds of people watching the Brazil v France game. We went into the large covered market, where there was a variety of produce on offer, including some skinned carcases that
looked suspiciously like those of dogs. There were some interesting smells about and after being hassled one too many times to buy something we moved on. Alex is still wondering what is being sold in small packages wrapped in leaves (but none too keen on Simon´s idea to buy and taste one).
After further browsing around the central area, we got another taxi back to the hostel, this one even more dodgy than the first. It was like partaking in a stock car race that our chauffeur was adament to win by weaving in and out of the traffic at occasionally high speed and minimal clearance either side.
Happy with our survival, we spent the rest of the evening chilling around the hostel.
Next on Simon and Alex´s blog:
Simon and Alex endure a 22 hour bus journey to Cusco (hopefully).
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