Getting out of Bolivia was a swine. I waited, waited, and then waited some more for the border to open before eventually deciding to simply fly out. Turns out even flying out was a nightmare as the LAN.com website refused to work for me refusing to dispense a ticket but happily charging me three times. In the end I went with TACA shelling out £237 for the privilege. It’s yet another thing that is destroying any form of budget I had but I needed to move on and couldn’t face the 3 day bus route through Chile.
Arriving in Lima by plane was brilliant and the startling difference to Bolivia was immediately transparent. Everything was big, wide and modern. Advertising hording lined the streets. Cars weren’t decrepit old bangers and weren’t falling apart. Huge sales depots were everywhere. Brands such as McDonalds and Burger King fought for real estate everywhere… It couldn’t have been different to La Paz – I mean, I could even breathe there!
I arrived at the hostel I’d found in Miraflores (the Pirwa) got myself settled and was looking into “what to do” when Jean arrived in the dorm. Turns out she was a bit lost too as she was meant to be meeting people before travelling out to Cusco for an internship – we headed out for lunch and started wandering around town. The magic water park was an amazing spectacle and I really enjoyed spending a couple of hours wandering around, but the best bit was the conversation I had with the Taxi driver on the way there – it was in terrible Spanish but it was fun to try!
I managed to get my camera repaired (the sensor was covered in dust) in the service centre in Lima (more terrible Spanish needed) but since it took a couple of days, it meant that for the majority of Lima I was camera less. After dropping the camera off we wandered off to town, got interviewed by Uni students, visited the catacombs (and hit my head way too many times to be healthy) and then walked back to the hostel. The most surreal experience came after pizza where we stopped for a beer at a Canadian bar. I’m still not sure what on earth the bar actually was, but there was a number of women in skimpy clothes dancing with men, two price lists (a bottle of whisky for the lady was S/400 or something). It appears to have been some sort of brothel, or at least something of ill-repute and Jean took great amusement in my naivety as I refused to believe it!
We also visited the Pachacamac ruins – the journey there was more fun than the ruins! We decided to get local buses across and ended up going the wrong way, getting one bus having to transfer to another… My Spanglish was seriously tested! Still, we made it, had a tour guide take us around and explain the site before enjoying buses and taxis back! In the evening Jean went to a new hostel to meet her friends and I went out for a burger where I met a gent called Henry. Turns out Henry used to teach at my school in the UK so after many beers (and effeminate cocktails!) we ended the evening extraordinarily drunk and needing an entire day of bed rest!
My last day in Lima involved heading to local ruins for a tour, a trip to see Transformers 3 at the cinema and a mad dash to my hostel and bus station (along with an argument with the taxi driver due to my Spanglish failing badly!). Still, I made the night bus in plenty of time!
Lima is a lovely place and I don’t understand why it has the reputation of been scary or boring – its definitely worth a few days!
Click here to load a map showing you the location of this post and images from the digitallery taken nearby.