Peru, Lima

Trip Start Apr 10, 2012
Trip End Apr 06, 2013

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, Lima Province,
Saturday, June 16, 2012

After another bumpy plane ride (SJ's nerves were shot again!) we landed in Lima, Peru. The airport is fairly big and seems well organised but it took ages to get through immigration and customs. We eventually made it and now have another stamp in our passports. At this rate we will need another passport each as we may run out of pages!

Our airport pickup was there as promised by the hostel and we headed off. On the way Jerry and The Pacemakers Ferry Across the mersey came on! How spooky just as we arrive in a country half way across the world and an iconic Liverpool song comes on! After about 15 minutes we arrived at the hostel. The area seems ok, there are a lot of people milling about and it does seem like a poor country but there are also loads of beautiful buildings, some that are a bit run down but that adds to the character.

The hostel is in a big old mansion style building with really high ceilings and big tall doors. SJ thought that it felt nice and was light and airy. It would be great to have party's as everyone would be able to stay because there are so many rooms!

We dumped our bags in our dorm and headed off to the common area for happy hour. The beers cost 5 soles which is about £1.18, bargain! AK was very impressed!

We got chatting to a guy from the US and had a good interesting conversation about all kinds of stuff. We headed off to bed and woke everyone in our dorm by rooting through our backpacks! We need to get savvy with dorm etiquette. So we settled down in our separate bunk beds and had no problem falling asleep.

We got up fairly early (it is very rare these days that SJ has a lie in although she is still grumpy when she first wakes up) had our breakfast that consisted of bread rolls and butter and jam with Coffee or Tea. It was basic but free so we didn't complain.

We headed out to explore....first stop the supermarket. It's quite cheap in Peru, we bought bottles of body wash, soap, food and drinks, battery's and good quality padlocks for our backpacks and a few other bits and bobs and the lot came up to about £20! Back home it would have been at least 3 times the amount.

We walked around seeing the sights and ended up in the main square. The weather was nice and it was a Sunday so lots of the locals were out and about. The square was really nice and had lots of grand old buildings. They were all around a big park and water fountain. We went to the tourist information centre and found out about all the cool and free (or really cheap) things to do.

We stumbled across a big church and monastery and decided to pay £1.50 to look around the monastery side. The church is called Saint Francis Monastery and is part of the UNESCO world heritage list. It has a library with really old books that date back to before the Spanish Conquest in 1532. The church and monastery itself dates back to 1673 and survived many earthquakes although it suffered extensive damage in the 1970 earthquake.

Underneath the monastery there are many narrow tunnels. These were used as a cemetery or ossuary and contain over 70,000 burials.the catacombs are now literally scattered everywhere. We I say scattered I mean the bones are lined up by type rather than in complete skeletons and there are a number of skulls which make it quite eery. There were deep wells that contain layer upon layer of skeletons.

Some tunnels were bricked up and are thought to lead to places such as the cathedral in another part of the city. It was really interesting and the only thing that spoiled it was a rude and arrogant American lady. We had initially joined a Spanish speaking tour guide as we did not know that there was English ones. Needless to say we didn't understand much of it! We then passed an English speaking guide so decided to tag along at the back. We didn't know that it was infact a private guide (not sure what that even means! If someone is speaking in public is it against the law or wrong to listen??). So we think this busy body American lady had pulled the guide to one side and complained. The guide asked us what group we are in so not realising about the 'private status' we pointed to the American lady's guide and said this one at which the American lady smugly and arrogantly said 'no you are not'. Not sure who made her the 'private guide police'. Some people must have real self esteem issues to delight in someone else's mistake to make them feel good about themselves. In the end it was ok as we joined a group of Irish people who had an English speaking guide. They were much more friendly and warm.

On our way home we stopped off at the supermarket to buy something cheap for dinner and came away with rice and meat and crusty bread.

After dinner we decided to stay in the hostel common area and have a drink. We had a great time chatting to everyone. About 12pm an older American guy who looks in his late 50s early 60s came out of his room and sat down next to a dutch guy called Casper. He started to talk about visiting prostitutes and was just generally being weird. At one point he asked SJ where she is from and then started to act like she was speaking a foreign language and told her several times that he couldn't understand her but in a real arrogant and cocky way. After a while SJ just told him he needs to learn proper English and decided to ignore him. Poor Casper had no such luck as the American guy continued to chat shit to him for ages.

Later on, and after several large glasses of liquor he started to get a bit more arrogant and cocky and a bit passive aggressive. A really nice Finnish couple came over and asked AK & SJ what time breakfast was and this seemed to kick him off as he got all nasty saying that the breakfast was crap and that they didn't serve real coffee. We tried to ignore him but he was like a bad smell and hung around. He overheard us talking about visiting Tennessee and muttered under his breath 'bunch of ni_____rs' - insert racist word. We really could not believe it so AK asked him what he had just said and he wouldn't repeat it. We carried on talking and then he muttered 'cock sucker' under his breath, we assume at AK so that was it. AK was not happy and confronted him but again he was being a coward. SJ pushed AK into the bedroom and told him to leave it but he wouldn't so he confronted him again but the spineless little man just sat there. After we went to bed we heard him storming up and down and shouting and acting all big by knocking things over and saying 'let's start this' but really he is just a sad old drunk who shits himself when anyone confronts him!

AK still didn't take any chances though and sat up in bed clutching his pepper spray in case he came in. At one point he was stood by our dorm door, in just boxer shorts (and very tight ones at that) pepper spray at the ready waiting for him to come in. The old guy would have had the shock of his life, even before being hit with pepper spray, at the sight of a bearded man in just a pair of briefs! AK eventually fell asleep with his hand firmly clutching the pepper spray.

So we ended our first full day in Peru by being insulted by two rude and obnoxious Americans but it didn't spoil things for us. We have good vibes about Peru and although Lima is how we imagined a south American City to be it is also very different as well. We feel that we are going to have good times in Peru.

After the events of the night before we woke up a little tired and as it was raining we decided to hang around the hostel and catch up with things on the computer. We looked for some volunteer work and sent some emails and SJ tried to catch up with the blog.

The rain went off so we decided to go and look for flip flops for SJ to wear in the shower. The hostel reception reccomended an indoor market so we headed there. On the way we bought deep fried whole potatoes that are stuffed with mince meat and are served with cabbage for 1 soles which is 25 pence, bargain. They tasted really good and were quite filling so that was lunch sorted for us! At the market SJ found the pair of flip flops that she wanted so we tried to barter with the seller for a better price but she was having none of it. We walked away without buying them. SJ was gutted as she really liked them but we might go back tomorrow.

We headed to the supermarket for food for dinner and AK got a whole cooked chicken and some barns and SJ got tuna, avocado, tomato, fresh lime and plantain and made a tuna salad back at the hostel (we think there might be some hidden cooking skills in her somewhere as it turned out pretty good apart from the fact she burnt the plantain!)

We spent the evening drinking beer in the common area and met two English lads who were taking a break from their medical degree and are in Peru doing research on the effects of altitude versus sea level. SJ headed off to bed and AK stayed up drinking. There was another drama when a French lady started to freak out and tip bins over because people were being loud in the common room! We have found that 75% of the older generation of hostel goers are totally nuts and are dysfunctional in some way. She was threatened with eviction because of her reaction. Even SJ knows that you can't do a damn thing about the noise in hostels and that decent ear plugs are a must.

We woke up on Tuesday fairly late at 9.40 as we were tired from being kept awake by these crazy people but we showered, had breakfast and headed out to the market to get the flip flops SJ wanted. We had a good think and realised that at 30 soles (£7) they were a bargain!

We visited another museum and seen loads of traditional Peruvian stuff like clothes and pottery and coins. We also visited an art gallery and SJ got shouted at because the guard thought she touched the painting but she didn't. They then followed us around the gallery watching us which spoilt it a bit.

In the evening we had dinner from the supermarket and SJ chilled in the dorm and caught up on the blog a bit while AK went drinking in the bar until late (there is pattern developing here!). We got a bit of sleep but as we are in a dorm it is inevitable that you get woken up.

On Wednesday morning we decided to take the bus to the next town called Miraflores. The bus cost 3 soles each (75p) but it is a little crazy! There is a driver and another person that hangs out the door shouting the destination of the bus. This person hangs on for dear life, the bus itself was ancient and definitely would not pass its MOT back in the UK so coupled with the fact that the roads are crazy too it makes for a very dangerous job!

Miraflores was a nice little town with a park called Kennedy Park or 'Cat park'. There was at least 60 - 70 cats that were hanging around the park, all of them stray but they looked pretty healthy. The local people (well mostly crazy old cat ladies that SJ is sure to become one day) turned up equipped with tins of cat food, bowls and fresh water for all the cats. This made SJ very happy.

We headed toward the coast as we had been told It was quite pleasant and after a 30 minute walk we found a lovely pier and a beach made from fairly large pebbles. The waves were fairly large and there were a number of surfers. AK and SJ think they might have a go of surfing but probably not until we get round to the warmer waters of south east Asia.

After a McFlurry (McDonalds really is everywhere) we jumped on another crazy bus back to Lima. This bus was exactly the same distance and route as the morning bus but cost us 4 soles each. We think they make up the prices depending on your accent!

We were still a couple of blocks away from our hostel when the woman who hangs out the door started to say something to us in Spanish but we didn't understand at first. Then another passenger tried to explain but again we didn't know what they were saying. Eventually we figured that she wanted us to get off the bus! She gave us some money back and kicked us off the bus! We thought maybe it didn't go right up to the hostel but the bus seemed to be heading that way so we are not sure why we had to get off!

In the evening we headed to a fountain/laser show with a few people from the hostel. We had heard that it was pretty good so we bought a bottle of beer each and headed the two blocks up to the park. After smuggling in our beer (you can get arrested for drinking on the streets unless it's in a brown paper bag!?!) we caught the last five minutes of the show which was pretty impressive and was a bit like the Bellagio water fountains. What was more impressive though was when someone exclaimed 'oh my god there is a caterpillar in your beard' at which we all rushed over to AK to investigate and there it was, a real live caterpillar battling its way through the thick mass that is AK's facial hair.

SJ being SJ she promptly rescued the poor little thing that was clearly worn out and very relieved to be free of what must have seemed like a very dense jungle, and placed him on a tree trunk.

The third impressive thing we witnessed that night was the cork from a bottle of wine being removed with nothing but a shoe and a brick wall....yes it really can be done!

As we missed most of the first show we stayed for the second show and then headed back towards the hostel and the supermarket to get dinner. Also, AK had decide that seeing as it was our last night in Lima he was going to purchase and drink a pint bottle of the local rum which you can buy for about £4.50!

Back at the hostel SJ stayed up until about 1.30am buy decided to call it a night as we had to be up early for our flight to Cusco in the morning. When SJ left AK he was half way through his bottle of Rum and was starting to take on the glossy eyed look that SJ knows so well. He was having a great time though so SJ said goodnight and reminded AK to set his alarm when he came to bed (SJ can't hear it through her ear plugs).......

AK woke SJ up about 8.15 which was about 45 minutes later than planned. AK was very hung over and had forgotten to set the alarm. After hastily packing our bags, showering and shovelling down breakfast we said goodbye to everyone and ran out onto the street to get a taxi to the airport.

We were told that it was easy to just stop a taxi right outside the hostel so we tried to stop a few but they didn't seem to want to take us! We started to panic a bit and started to walk down the road and around the corner. Again every taxi we stopped said no when we told them we wanted to go to the airport. Some didn't even bother to say 'no' and just drove off!

Eventually one agreed to take us but by this time we had about 25 minutes to get to the airport and get to check in before it closed. It was at least a 20 minute drive so AK and SJ were very nervous (although AK probably less so as he was still a bit drunk from the night before!) after battling traffic we pulled up at the airport with about 1 minute to spare so we hastily paid the taxi and literally ran as fast as we could with our 15kg backpacks up the airport check in desks until we found the LAN one! The very friendly check in staff (we are not used that back home!) checked us in even though we think it was past the check in time! On that note we have found the South American airline Taca/LAN to be very modern, efficient and reliable with great on board facilities and the staff very friendly! This is not what we expected and very different to some of the western operated airlines we have used!

So we boarded yet another flight, in the nick of time, and got settled for the short flight up to Cusco flying over the beautiful Andes. SJ didn't have time to get nervous although if she knew what that short flight was going to be like she might not have even got on the plane!

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kiwihayley on

Living vicariously through your travels for now!!

Sounds like you guys have encountered some serious hostel weirdos... well agros!! Geez what's wrong with people!

And cracking up that there was actually something living in Al's beard!!!!!!

susan williams on

hiya sarah and Alan you both look realy well and i am enjoying looking at all your photos and reading what you both are up to.I loved the photo of footprints sarah im sure your dad is watching over you both and smiling lots.we are all fine here suzanne is getting realy big not to long now and you will be an aunty and uncle again. take care of one another lots of love sue xx

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