Lima, Lima, and more Lima

Trip Start Jul 03, 2007
Trip End Jul 25, 2007

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, July 15, 2007

Last Thursday our travel plans were altered and weīve been in Lima, the capital of Peru, ever since waiting to fly out. Prior to arriving in Lima, we only completed about one third of our trip but had no other choice as the demonstrations continue throughout the country.  Itīs definitely been a learning experience in flexibility. 

We are staying in a suburb south of Lima, Miraflores, which is not far from the coastline. Since weīve been in Lima we havenīt done much. Yep, itīs been pretty boring. We were advised by the tourist information office to stay in the area of Miraflores as demonstrations and such have been occurring all over town and itīs the safest place to be.  Imagine being in your little neighborhood and not allowed to leave.  Iīm sure many of us do that on a regular basis but when youīre not given much of a choice in the matter, it really is no fun.

There have been some highlights during our four days in Lima.  Lima has several casinos and most are located within Miraflores.  Itīs their own little Vegas!  We ventured into the casinos on Friday night and were able to spend $4 for a half hour of gambling entertainment.  Granted, we played the cheap slots but is was fun.  Actually, it was more fun to watch the locals just stare at us.  Or actually, I think they were staring at Annie.  I donīt think there are many 6 foot tall Peruvians around here.  

We also attended a parade, changed hotel rooms 3 times (I just canīt stress the importance of hot water enough!),  ate lunch at a Central Market like grocery store 3 days in a row, spent lots of time at the Internet cafe, watched episode after episode of Friends, and waited patiently on hold with our respective airlines to make alternate flight plans. Fun, huh?  I attempted to go paragliding three days in a row but the cloudy conditions prevented it.  Not seeing where youīre flying or where to land is a problem.  Maybe next time.

Isabel was able to book a flight out yesterday and I am heading out tonight with Annie following on Tuesday.  With many flights to the USA being overbooked, this was the best scenario for all of us.  Therefore, this is my final entry from Peru.  No, I did not get to visit the Uros Islands, Copacabana, Bolivia, see the Nazca lines, or go sand boarding or paragliding, but I had a good time laughing with my friends, experiencing a new culture, and appreciating how truly blessed I am. 

Things Iīve learned/observed while in Peru

1. Almost every bathroom weīve visited in Peru has the same toilet paper. It is a puppy dog print and there must be some kind of monopoly with that company.  I know many of you are wondering how or why I would even be aware of the print on the toilet paper but when youīre expecting the worst out of bathrooms (i.e. no toilet paper) then a familiar print becomes comforting.

2. While in Cusco, there was an accident that involved an ambulance and a person being taken the hospital.  We did not see the accident occur, however, it was impossible not to notice the huge swarm of people around the scene.  What was even more disconcerting were the people who had pulled out their video cameras and were video taping all that was occurring. 

3. When using the Peruvian currency (soles) you have to have clean, crisp bills.  If your bill is too crumpled or even torn a little then it will not be accepted.  This is even the case for the banks.  Many times crumpled or worn bills would be handed off to us because we werenīt aware of the future implications.

4. Altitude sickness is real and sucks.  My doctorīs choice to not prescribe altitude sickness medication because, in his mind, the best advice is to just go back down.  Well, when youīre hiking the Inca trail that isnīt always an option.  That was an expensive lesson to learn!

5. Camping isnīt always like Girl Scout Camp.  I spent years at Girl Scout camp and had a great time.  With songs, campfires, and sīmores how could you go wrong.  Well, real camping isnīt like that.  No one sings songs and when you have to explain what sīmores are then they lose their appeal.  (How can anyone not appreciate the goodness of a sīmore???) More importantly, I always went camping in the summer and sweat through the night instead of froze.  Iīve determined which is better. 

The one thing about camping that hasnīt changed is still my desire to have a bathroom buddy at night.  We always had to have buddies at Girl Scout camp and I think itīs still a good idea as an adult.  See, it gets really dark and ítīs scary even if you have a flashlight so the company of  friend is always appreciated. (Thanks Annie.)

6. Coke Zero and Diet Coke are NOT the same!!!!!  The Coca Cola Corporation did quite a marketing job on the country of Peru. Coke Zero is everywhere but good luck finding Diet Coke. Iīve had countless conversations with waiters/waitresses explaining that I wanted a Diet Coke and not a Coke Zero even though they kept telling me they were the same.  For those of you who might be confused, let me explain.  Coke Zero is a relatively new product that has the same taste as Coca Cola but with no calories.  Diet Coke has no calories but has its own distinct taste. 

I even ran into a restaurant that charged me more for a Coke Zero than a regular Coke because it had less calories.  What???????

7. I find it completely unfair that guys can go the bathroom anywhere while girls have to search for a restroom and usually they are pretty gross.  There seems to be a lack of modesty about guys going to the restroom in public too.  Basically, Iīve had to quickly look away a couple of times. 

8. The kids that shine shoes here are really hardworking. Now I wore hiking shoes the whole time that were not really supposed to be shined but I did  my part to help the local economy.  Because two boys were fighting over who would shine my shoes, I gave them each a foot. I have two so really it wasnīt a problem.  Even funnier, was their ability to name facts about the USA, the president, capital, etc.

9. Fresh fruit juice rocks!!!  Tropicana has got nothing on the fruit juice vendors here.

10. Whether we were walking down the street, hiking in the mountains, or walking in the jungles, we were pretty much always looking down watching for that next step.  Unfortunately, this doesnīt allow you to see what beautiful scenery is truly around you.  In the haste of getting to the next stop you miss what is all around you.  Itīs kind of like life.  It has reminded me to take a second to look up and see what is going on around me a little more often.

11. There are several companies that manufacture some of their clothing here in Peru (ex. Gap, American Eagle Outfitters, Old Navy, etc.)  You know when  you find that sticker on your clothes that has inspected by and the number, well they must really inspect them because we found the stores that sell the rejects.  There are these stores with bins piled high with shirts, socks, underwear, bras, etc. that have been rejected by the company for some reason.  For a very low price you can go through the bins and find an acceptable article for purchase.  It was quite an overwhelming experience.

Until the next adventure . . .
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amyincorinth on

Even through all your trials, I still wish that I could have been there. It sounds like you had a fun and interesting journey. I can't wait to see you back at home.

Love ya,

marcello75 on

Too bad...
I'm sorry to read that the strikes spoiled quite some of your holiday. It is definately a warning to me, since I am going to Peru later this year. (ok, and some other countries, like Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia)

Too bad for you, eventhough I hope you enjoyed your stay...

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