Deepest Darkest Peru

Trip Start May 22, 2005
Trip End Jul 02, 2005

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Flag of Peru  ,
Saturday, June 4, 2005

Lima .. the city of fog and crime. Unemployment is at 47%, and visibility is at about 30 feet. Lima sprawls up the side of a large mountain which, from the centre of the city, is not even visible!

Backpacking appears to be an effective way to lose weight, because my pants no longer stay up by themselves. After checking in to the tour joining hotel, I introduced myself to Lima by running around the markets trying to buy a belt. Then it was back to the hotel to sleep until our pre-departure meeting ... remember I'd had a frantic day and overnight flight.

I am the only person in my tour! Fortunately my (uncommonly small) group is joining with a few others which travel around the same path at the same time. It's a slightly odd arrangement - like a single very long tour in which people come and go occasionally according to which parts of South America they are seeing.

My extended-tour-group consists of me and about thirty girls! I'm either about the luckiest guy alive, or way out of my depth. Or both ... ;-)

Actually, that is not quite true. For the first few days another fellow, Tim, and young couple, Nick and Claire, are in the group and have been for several weeks. After the jungle trip they go their own way though, and Mike will join us for the Inca trail. There is also a couple of about-80-year-old gentlemen who apparently ticked the wrong box on the tour form but decided to join the trekkers anyway. I'm not sure if anyone else joins us after the inca trail. It's going to be an interesting trip ...

Those of us meeting today in Lima (5 of us) took a bus up the mountain to get an overview of Lima, or at least of the fog that surrounds it. We also were taken to the catacombs under the old convent (for monks. In Peru, nuns live in the monastary instead. A classic example of how a simple typo in the instructions sent by the church in Rome can lead to centuries of confusion) and the piles of bones it still contains. There is something faintly disconcerting about the empty eye sockets of a thousand skulls staring back at you!

Early start tomorrow - we fly to Puerto Maldonaldo to meet the rest of the tour and spend three days in the Amazon jungle.

(ps: Happy Birthday Sharon!)
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