Is South America meant to be freezing cold???

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 23, 2011

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Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hello from South America,

After our very nice flights from Panama and Columbia we arrived in Lima around 5pm. Millions of inhabitants crowd into Peru's frenetic capital, giving it an edge few other South America cities have. Its shanty towns look like the developing world, yet the business district and seaside suburbs are Europe away from home. Many travellers decide to move out of Lima as soon as they get here, because it has been labelled a polluted, frantic and dangerous place. Yet in no time it can transport you from crumbling pre-Inca and run down Spanish architecture of downtown Lima to glitzy, ultramodern shopping malls and hotels. Such higher desired locations are that of Miraflores, this is Lima's fashionable elegant business district, with ritzy beachfront hotels, restaurants and shops.

Lima's climate is a challenge. For most of the year (April-December) the city is blanketed in a constant coastal fog, mist and drizzle, similar to England. The city really plays with your senses as it is cold, cloudy but it never rains. Because of the confusing climate it felt like we were in London on a spring evening, everyone wrapped up in coats, hats, gloves and scarves. It however is a real shame if travellers decide not to see the capital as we thoroughly enjoyed our 3 day stay. The people were really nice and whoever we met wanted to welcome us to the country, we had never felt safer and more relaxed in a city.

We spent our days here shopping for warm clothing like the typical Peruvian woollen hats and jumpers. It was also a great place to buy souvenirs and try out the local food. Lima's speciality is seafood and ceviche (raw fish; silverback, squid, octopus, scallops, muscles, mixed with a salsa consisting of red onion, tomato, peppers, and sometimes chilli), we tested this out at a restaurant on the first night along with gas heaters to keep us warm.

On the second night we found a street which had lots of cafes and cheap hole-in-the-wall eateries running along it. Here you can find a 3 course meal including a drink for around $3.50 (2.30). We opted for one establishment with a few locals in. We ordered chicken soup and it turned out to be chicken feet soup...nice. I guess you get what you pay for. Thomas ordered steak and chips for main and the (very overcooked) piece of meat was as big as his head, and definitely looked dead! This wasn't the most successful meal we have had, but it didn't put us off as the next night we had another $3.50 meal but this time at a different place. This time it was much nicer and our soup didn't come with chicken feet, result.

From Lima we booked our coach to Paracas. When first booking our tickets we thought that the transport was a little expensive, but then again we didn't know what was in store. When we say coach journey it felt more like a Business Class flight with British Airways, maybe even better. We firstly got a very tasty 3 course meal and drinks, quilted blankets and pillows, hostess' dressed like those on a plane, books, TV, on-board WIFI, heating (not freezing air-con)086 and fully reclinable leather seats and if need be a kid's club. Impressive! The hostess even told us when we would be arriving and that she would come and wake us 15 minutes before hand. Until now every coach journey we have had to guess where we are, and on many occasions we have ended up getting off the bus at the wrong destination. Lets just say that we are looking forward to our next coach journey to Arequipa.
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