Back to School

Trip Start Jan 24, 2009
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Trip End Dec 08, 2009


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Where I stayed
Hostel Eiffel
Opheliaīs Home Stay

Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We flew into Lima airport around 1am in the morning, expecting to be collected by the owner of the hostel which weīd booked. Unfortunately, after scanning the hundreds of name boards three times over, our lift clearly wasnīt there. We therefore decided to ring before jumping in a cab and were told that the room had been given away. Although we were a day late into Lima, we had emailed explaining the details of the hold-up at Easter Island but apparently they donīt read emails in South America; actually, thatīs not strictly true as we received a snotty reply off them 10 days later!

So, our nightmare scenario of landing in South America in the middle of the night, not being able to speak the lingo and having nowhere to stay was starting to pan out. Clearly, our run of bad luck regarding accommodation was continuing.

Eventually we got chatting to a taxi driver, who said he could recommend a hostel. Once we had convinced ourselves that we could "take him" if he tried any funny business, we agreed to go with him. Luckily, Carlos was a genuine bloke and took us to hostel not far from where we should have been staying. We would like to add that the yellow 1970īs bedding was thrown in by the hostel as a freebee.

The next day, after a lie-in, we took the plunge and enrolled into our chosen Spanish School. We both enlisted private tutors, one-on-one for 4 hours a day over the next five days. On Sunday they allowed us time off for our homework! The school also arranged for us to leave the 1970īs yellow bedspreads behind and move to a homestay where we could practice our Spanish. Far more comfortable surroundings although Iīm not sure it benefited our Spanish very much considering that 2 other English students and an American couple were also staying there.

One of us was far more advanced with the local language than the other and was already able to order peanuts with her beer. The next four days were incredibly hard work as our tutors, Luis and Lucho, tormented our lack of foreign language skills. Lucho insisted on teaching us the various aspects of grammar that neither of us could remember from school, whilst Luis peppered us with enough vocabulary and Spanish verbs to make our heads spin backwards.

It was very strange going back to school, looking at a blackboard and having someone mark your homework but actually well worth the effort and money. By the time we left, Senora Sheerin was chatting away exchanging recipes for tortillas, whilst her husband was not!
 
We stayed in a suburb of Lima down by the beach called Miraflores which is widely regarded as being the best part of the city. The city centre was about 10km away and to be honest was a mixed bag of interesting old colonial buildings linked by numerous plazas. However, most of the city was pretty run down and not so enticing. We reached the city centre by joining the locals and jumping on one of the myriad of small private minibuses which is probably the closest that a human being can come to the experience of being packed into a can of sardines. Mind you, the one hour journey only cost 15p for the two of us.

We visited the Franciscan catacoombs found under one of the main churches in the city. Literally, thousands of skeletons are all neatly stacked and on show to the general public. At the start of the visit, they very politely asked our group not to take photos as a mark of respect and for security reasons. The American on our tour refused to accept that he wasnīt allowed to take photos stating "whatīs to respect, itīs just a pile of old bones!" Clearly one of the less cultured individuals to leave those shores across the pond. To be quite honest, his behaviour was almost as embarrassing as his synthetic "Tom Jones-style" hair weave.

On Sunday, after we had finished our homework of course, we caught a cab across town to go and watch a game of football at the Estadio Municipal. A huge stadium built in an incredibly dusty environment where no form of vegetation known to man was present. Universitario, the Mnachester United of Peru, were stuffed 2-0 at home. Nobby Solano, who played in England for years, was playing for the home team and it was clear that he had come back home for one final pay day as his legs had clearly gone. The locals could not get over the fact that he was being paid $45,000 a month. We decided not to tell them what he would have been paid whilst playing in England!

Many people had said to us to get out of Lima as fast as possible. In total, we spent 6 days here, not the prettiest place in the world though not half as bad as others made it out to be.

Sadly, only one photo - long story - one for another day perhaps!
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