Trip Start Sep 03, 2011
54Trip End Jun 04, 2012
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It was a loooonnnnng and uncomfortable ride that had a promising start until we realised that only some of the movies would have English subtitles, dinner service was a packet of Ritz crackers, a questionable muffin and a peach juice popper and that the reclining chairs were incapable of being COMFORTABLE.
Upside: I didn't get motion sickness, though Andrew had to pop an anti-emetic tablet, (a tummy full of processed sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil). Once we got down out of the Andes and closer to the coast the hills were huge sandy dune hills. It was dry and dusty and did I mention it was long? But once again the scenery was pretty incredible
We arrived back in Lima at about 2pm Wednesday and headed to the Inka Lodge hostel in Miraflores. Miraflores in Lima is the tourist/gringo area only blocks away from the beaches and it was good to be close to amenities again, like the supermarket, banks and post office even though I couldn't find one to buy stamps and try and send some of our excess stuff home. I don't know whether the Postal services here in South America is not as big an agency as in Australia or if they are just elusive and hiding from me because I can never find them easily (actually I also had trouble locating them in the US and China too!). It makes me appreciate Australia Post and how recognizable and accessible it is, I love you and miss you Australia Post!!!
The next day we checked out the archeological site up the road from where we were staying, Parque Tahuantinsuyo Huaca Juliana, an adobe pyramid of the Lima culture from 400AD. They are still excavating/digging, but alot of it is is visible from the road. It is enclosed with 6 foot cement posts and is in the middle of the suburbs surrounded by apartment blocks and commercial buildings
Forty kilometres in the north of Lima we found a bungalow with ocean views for a reasonable price. So last Thursday 6th Jan, we set off in 2 taxis from Miraflores towards Ancon, starting along the coastline then back on the dry dusty Pan American highway. I love the the way locals drive in developing nations along their highways
1. when there is a holdup in the traffic, dirt shoulder roads are for creating three extra lanes of traffic to bypass the hold up
2. When returning back to the main road after the holdup just edge as close as you can to the vehicles beside and in front of you and fold in your side mirrors if you can and push your way through, because waiting is over-rated!
3: the horn can be an offensive as well as defensive weapon
It was a real treat like something out of "Canonball Run".
We arrived at our accomodation to find this cute bungalow circa 1960s/70s with a view out to the water and big sandy hills behind us. We are staying up on the esplanade in the hills above the water and the town, Ancon is a short 20 min. walk either along the Ramblas or the esplanade. The Ramblas is lined with apartments, private beaches, pool areas and a yacht club for the Peruvian middle and upper classes who maintain these accomodations for their weekend getaway/holiday homes
We have spent the last week walking, swimming, sunning, shopping down at the local mercado and bakeries. We have also been riding the motor taxis and tri-shaws with our shopping and supplies. We are now a bit darker and trimmer and the local Peruvians keep thinking I am Peruvian. Out of the South American countries we have been to I think that the indigenous Peruvians look the most Polynesian
The one thing we haven't been able to find is a laundromat here in Ancon or Lima. In Lima I only found a laundry service which I should have just used as the price was reasonable but here in Ancon there is nothing but a service that charges per item. I did try and get my family to wash and rinse by hand their own clothes but they seemed unmotivated by the prospect of no clean clothes. Our accomodation owner Carolina offered to get her maid to pick it up but then put us onto the apartment handyman Mr Jose's daughter, but after a mix up she turned up and she ended up washing them by hand for 50 soles, I felt terrible that she had to wash them by hand but the 50 soles seemed to be a fair trade. I should have made friends with a middle class Peruvian so I could have used their washing machine!
Making friends at the local markets and supermarkets has always been a bonus wherever we have gone. Ancon has been no different. We have had plenty of fruit and veges at great prices. As to be expected we searched for and asked for a supermarket on arrival only to be taken to the local market area under one roof with small stall/shop owners. Our first day on asking at this market if there was a supermarket the ladies burst into a giggles and I imagined they said that "this was the supermercado" of Ancon as their hands gestured that this was the spot
This morning we were picked up by our prearranged taxi driver Juan and his punk rock music selection of "the exploits" and the specials at 6am. We are now awaiting our flight to La Paz, Bolivia. New place, new adventure. We leave though knowing we are to return back to Lima in 3 weeks, so we will finish exploring Lima then.