Trip Start Sep 22, 2012
12Trip End Oct 21, 2012
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Where I stayed
At the airport, LAN has a staff travel counter (which also doubles as a group booking counter), meaning we only had to queue behind the Venezuelan football team before boarding. We looked around for somewhere to eat breakfast but the only place open was (you guessed it), and even though I asked for a bagel and jam, ended up getting a cheese and ham bagel. Ted and I have been craving more fruit and vegetables and less, well, ham and cheese since arriving in Argentina, but we don't seem to be having much luck there
We blew our remaining Argentinian pesos on chocolate and water before boarding. So far, LAN is one of my favorite airlines, with great staff and nice aeroplanes. Then breakfast was served so Ted and I were hanging for something healthier, only to peel back the foil and find...another ham and cheese bagel. Ugh! Even though we try to eat everything when flying to avoid having to buy food later, we couldn't force that one down. One good thing was that the crew recognized us as being in the industry, and brought us some gifts from business class.
Well that excitement died a few minutes later when we opened the bag, expecting there to be a bottle of champagne or free entry into the LAN first class lounge. Well no, it was a comfort pack, a chocolate muffin and - I'm not kidding here - another ham and cheese bagel. Are ham and cheese Argentina's biggest exports or something??
The flight actually went really well, except for the attractive man behind me who kept doing that disgusting noise when you inhale through your noise quickly. Eeew! After disembarking, Ted and I went towards immigration and, for the first time in history, we were the first people through in any foreign country we've been to
When we walked into the arrivals hall, we looked for our transfer driver and tried not to look too inquisitive, because any dazed glance can immediately attract over a thousand crazed drivers yelling "taxi, taxi"! When we couldn't find him, we wondered whether to take a cab or call the accommodation, before realizing we were half an hour early (so rare in the airline industry). Suddenly, a frantic, middle aged man came running into the terminal holding my name scrawled on a piece of A4 so we knew he was our man!
The drive to our hotel was interesting, particularly since the driver locked the doors as soon as we left the airport. When we flew in, we saw what appeared to be a lot of slums surrounding the airport. When we were driving around, we were treated with a panoramic view that included chaotic traffic, old looking shops, billboards and bank queues.
Lima was actually the part of the holiday I was looking forward to the least, so I picked a bed and breakfast in Barranco, near Miraflores, which is the rich area. Smart move. The area is along the waterfront, which appears to be going through an extensive beautification process
Our accommodation is amazing, the best we've had so far since arriving in South America. It's a really chic bed and breakfast in a nice neighbourhood, with good owners and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Such a change from Buenos Aires! The owner gave us a good overview of the nearby area, and mentioned how we could catch a bus into the centre of the city to see the sights. To be honest, we've heard about Lima's dodgy reputation, so decided that catching a crowded, uncomfortable bus for half an hour to see a handful of churches and city plazas wasn't really worth it.
Before heading out, the owner offered to arrange an early breakfast as we're leaving at around 6 tomorrow. She said "If you like I can arrange for you to take a ham and cheese bagel with you". Seriously, what?!? Are these two food items haunting us or something? We decided to walk around the local area and were really surprised. This place is beautiful! Unfortunately though, it reminds me of Sandton in Johannesburg - a rich and safe area where all the tourists go to avoid the reality of an intimidating city. The apartment blocks and houses around here are charming but unfortunately, the electric fences on top of the walls surrounding them aren't
We went to a nearby shopping centre, which is actually built into the side of a cliff, overlooking the ocean. That was interesting - basically, every American franchise you could think of had muscled into this tiny block, whether it was Starbucks to Pizza Hut to TGIF's to KFC. Ted and I were outraged! Unfortunately though, our hunger was much stronger than our rage, so we went into Tony Roma's for a nice lunch.
We then looked around Barranco too which is less rich but more traditional. Even with the chaotic traffic and feeling of disorganization, we both got a great feeling for Peru so far. Very similar to towns in Mexico, like Puebla or Oaxaca. This is definitely not what we were expecting. We are still craving fruit and vegetables so we made a trip to the local supermarket to get both for a simple dinner tonight.
We have an early pick up tomorrow for our flight to Cusco, so it was early to sleep tonight, after sitting up in bed, watching TV and enjoying a bowl of raw broccoli for dinner. Tastes like crap, but so good for you! :-)