Trip Start Sep 24, 2008
Trip End Jun 20, 2009

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Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, October 23, 2008

Today (23.10) we are starting our trip to South America. First stop, Lima, Peru. Also, Sean turned 28 today. Thanks to everybody for the texts and e-mails.

The flight was just 3 hours and we arrived in the Peruvian capital in the late afternoon. The capital is very foggy, not so much because of pollution, but because of its position near the Pacific Ocean. It also never rains here, only a few days a year. We were greeted by my parents at the airport and we all came back together to the hotel. At first Lima seemed like previous Latin American cities that we had visited, with some very modern and elegant neighbourhoods such as Miraflores and then other areas that were more worn down and poor. The hotel is great and we really appreciate the luxury (especially after the hotel that had mushrooms growing in the bathroom). It even has a hairdryer!

Later we went to see the pre-Inca ruins of  Hilaca Pucllana in the center. It´s a giant pyramid, like the Mayan ones we saw previously, except that the top has broken off and the technique used in its construction was different. The handmade bricks were laid like books on a shelf. A concert was being prepared for the following day.

Then we went for a drink and tasted the national drink, a pisco sour. Pisco is made from grapes and would be a Latin cousin of grappa. Add some lime juice, sugar, egg yolk and there you go ... we´ll probably have a good hungover tomorrow. We also tasted Inca Kola. It does not look or taste anything like Coke. It is bright yellow and tastes like bubble gum or a bit like Red Bull. It is more widespread than Coke here.

We went for a nice dinner in the evening at a restaurant that had been recommended to my parents the night before. The meal was very original and tasty, unfortunately way too long, even by French standards. We all had a great night catching up ... and we received the Biafine.
After breakfast the next day (24/10 - we enjoyed continental breakfast for a change) we went for a walk on the Malicone, the nearby cliffs. It would be the equivalent of la Croisette in Cannes. We ended up at La Parque del Amore, where boys bring their girlfriends for a bit of a kissy kissy session. It looks a bit like a smaller version of Parc Guell in Barcelona. They´ve also built a large mall into the cliffs, on 3 floors.
Later we were joined by a guide for a mini-bus tour of the city. Isabel could speak very good

English and was teaching us a lot about Lima and Peru. But suddenly, while the minibus was stopped at a set of traffic lights, we saw and heard the window next to out guide explode inwards. Then someone robbed her purse which was on her lap. The bus driver said the guy was carrying a spark plug (bougie d 'allumage) which he used to shatter the window. Everything happened so fast, and I just remember seeing the guy running away with the bag. Fortunately nobody was injured even though the guide had a lot of broken glass on her skin, but there was no blood. Everyone was quite shocked and frustrated. He robbed all her documents, including her guide card without which she cannot work and which is apparently hard to renew. She wanted to arrange another tour for us but thank you very much we´ve had enough excitement for one day. On the way back to the hotel we learned that, unfortunately, this sort of thing is not that uncommon in Lima (Bien évidemment, cette histoire  n'est à raconter sous aucun prétexte à Mamy, même après notre retour). We had an Irish whisky to calm the nerves and stayed the rest of the afternoon at the hotel. Mum was even offered a massage to relief the stress. Anyway, we had a lovely meal at la Rosa Nautica in the evening, which is a restaurant on the sea. Sean finally had his bday cake and little song
(they f&/%$ it up in the restaurant the night before). Everybody was pretty relaxed by the end of the night thanks to the Pisco sours!
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