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A Light in a Darkened World

Bienvenidos a Perú!

UNITED KINGDOM | Tuesday, 31 January 2012 | Views [550]



PERU 2012
After a few hours shy of 48 hours in transit, one plane delay due to a failed engine, and one missed bus due to said plane delay - I got here absolutely shattered!!
The lovely Trisha and Lucy dropped me off at Heathrow for 4.30am, to catch my flight at 6.20am to Madrid. That flight was pretty dull as we flew over the sea for most of it and I was stuck in an aisle seat, so not much to say about that!!
The connecting flight in Madrid was on time, we all piled into the aeroplane. The engines roared, we taxied up to the runway, when the captain announced that we had to go back due to a fault with the plane!!!
Soooo, during the hour we were stationary, I attempted to have a chat in Spanish with the Peruvian gentleman sitting next to me. He was really difficult to understand, but soon figured out we had a mutual love for Sudoku, so I lent him my puzzle book for a while, to keep him occupied!!
Once we were in the air, the flight was decent enough and made a difference having a day flight instead of a night flight like I usually had to get to Uruguay! There wasn't too much turbulence, but I suppose I'm a seasoned flier now, and it doesn't bother me quite as much as it used to...however, after hours of seeing only cloud and sea, I saw some cloud forest of Venezuela, and before it got dark, got a glimpse of Brazil, the Andes, and Lake Titicaca. Perfect!
I did note a weird thing I saw when flying via Vene/Brazil, there were red lines on the odd occasion in the middle of nowhere - could it have been lava or something? Or maybe they were road markings...odd! I also remember seeing a big swamp! At the time, I thought I was in Brazil, but it must have been Vene...the swamps of the Barracas!! I remembered the Black Books quote as I went past, and I wondered if it was that at the time...how funny!
Anyway, I touched down in Lima at 8pm, an hour late. My bus was scheduled for 9pm from Av Javier Prado, which is in the city - about 40 mins from the airport :(
So, after going through customs, etc. I made it out around 9pm, then had to wait for the shuttle bus to leave at 9.40pm. Any chance of getting another bus was now out of the window!
Luckily, the bus driver (Carlos) and the other passenger (Tomas) were really helpful and made sure I had somewhere to stay, and got my a taxi for 6am so that I could get the next Cruz del Sur bus out to Arequipa. Bless Tomas, he gave me 20 soles because I only had dollars on me, and the taxis don't take them!! On the way to the hotel, they showed me the sights so that I could say I'd seen some of Lima, at least! The drivers are crazy...reminds me of somewhere like India. Everyone narrow missing everyone else...definitely could get a licence from the back of a cornflake packet here! Ha.
Anyway, I spent the night in Miraflores - the tourist district - which was interesting. The room was decent enough, and I had a double bed to myself, TV, and bathroom with a decent shower. I didn't spend too long sleeping because I knew I had to be up early. I was so friggin' tired!!! Didn't help that the doorbell kept going off every few minutes because someone needed letting in to stay for the night. Crazy!
So, the morning came...woke up around 4.30am and rang Dad (as we're 5 hours behind). After that, I got up and waited for someone to turn up. A guy appeared at 6am who I thought was the cab driver...turned out he lived there, so he offered to call me a cab just then. Lucky! Anyway, the cab turned up and off I went to Av Javier Prado, to catch my bus. I managed to get there 10 mins before it was leaving, and hopped on. Phew.
The seats were reclining and massive, with a blanket and pillow. Really nice. The showed lots of movies on the way, I watched a few but was too intrigued by the landscape. As we came out of Lima, you could see some of the poorer people, especially when we joke about 'living in a cardboard box', some of these people literally were...a small habitat made from sticks and bits of wood or cloth, etc. But they still looked happy, there was a communal market and other things. Crazy, but so interesting. It's quite humbling.
The journey was amazing, we ran parallel to mountains and sea for most of the journey; some parts looked like Thailand or something, and others were just desolate sand dunes and mountains stretching for miles. Nothing around at all.
I was hoping to see more at Nazca, but I could only see the mountains and not so much of the patterns in them. There were one or two lines I could see, which looked cool, but nothing obvious. Up until now, I had been by myself in my row, which was fab. Once we got to Nazca, a guy (cute!), a girl, and an older lady boarded together...his seat was right next to mine. Was a bit weird to start with, but he was a really nice guy, travelling with his sister and mum, and spoke English very well. His name was Carlos Araujo, told me to add him on FB but I can't find him...too many of them, lol! Had a lot in common, and I quite liked him, but he did sound a bit too much like Michael Jackson when using his American accent. He was good company for the rest of the journey. Except for at the end when he kept stroking me nearer Arequipa...hmm, bit too friendly methinks!!
Anyway, I eventually made it to Arequipa at midnight on Saturday, technically Sunday, and was met by Theresa (American English teacher that I'm living with) and José, both of whom were really fun. Got back to the flat and met Grace (the owner) and a few of their friends who could speak some English. It was helping with my Spanish though, so I definitely won't complain!
had a few drinks and then I had to pass out as I'd only had about 5 hours sleep between Thurs and Sat. Spent most of Sunday sorting out my stuff.
Once I'd done that, Grace, Theresa and I went out for lunch. Had Ceviche - the Peruvian traditional dish, along with fried seafood, washed down with Pilsen :) Absolutely amazing!!! I've never had raw fish like this before...gorgeous! It was served in cocktail-style glasses with 4 different sauces and seaweed seasoning. The fried seafood was just as amazing, and I was eating stuff I would never have dreamed of! I ate octopus...argh! Haha.
Anyway, that was great. Afterwards, we took a walk to the supermarket so I could get some food, etc. Looks just like Tienda Inglesa, pretty easy to understand! Got a cab back to the house for 4 soles (equivalent of £1, it was about a 5-10 min cab ride). Chilled out for a bit, and now just been sitting in my room, sorting some bits and pieces out.
Really loving it so far.
Hopefully off to see the school today, to have a look, and go to the local market to see what's there!

Tags: arequipa, ceviche, lima, peru

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