An unfamiliar place called Lima

After our short 48 hour stop in Los Angeles, we’re now 4176 miles away down in South America. This month will be full of surprises for us as we’ve neither been here before, nor done sufficient research into what we should get up to. Thankfully we have some excellent friends who are generous with their knowledge and have given us a few pointers on where to go.

We arrived into Lima on Tuesday night and for the first time we’d booked a shuttle with our hotel to save the hassle of haggling with a taxi driver. By the time we’d made the journey from the airport to Miraflores and checked in to the hotel it was after 1am and we were ready to sleep. Mark seemed particularly tired as he stayed in bed for roughly 12 hours after that, but I dragged myself out of bed in time to catch breakfast. At this point my bank account is starting to look quite empty, so skipping a free breakfast really isn’t an option unless I want to go hungry. I also managed to make sandwiches for our lunch too and smuggle some cereal and yoghurt back to our room for when Mark finally awoke.

For the rest of the day I tinkered with our website and did a bit of planning for the next few weeks. We decided to book our journey in Peru with a company called Peru Hop, which offers a hop-on hop off service similar to the Greyhound buses in Australia. The passes you buy last 12 months, which means we can stay as long as we need at each stop. We’ll also reach Cusco slowly, meaning we’re less likely to be affected by altitude sickness than if we flew in. Rather than booking the passes online we decided to walk to the Lima headquarters for the company and talk to a real person about the options. We also needed an excuse to leave the hotel.

On our way to Peru Hop we wandered into a wonderful park full of cats, which put a huge smile on my face. We came back after dinner and basically wandered around for almost half an hour just pointing out cats climbing trees, eating or sleeping. According to the boards up in the park nobody knows why the cats are living there, but there is an organisation which helps home them and look after them, getting them medical treatment and making sure they’re neutered. It’s my new favourite park.

For dinner that evening we went to a burger place (no surprise there) because it was one of the only places with tasty sounding vegetarian options. The fun part about the restaurant was the paper covering the tables and the little jar of crayons waiting to be used. We spent most of our time drawing while we waited for our burgers, which turned out to be far too big to fit in our mouths. I’d argue that when a burger can’t be eaten like a sandwich then it’s no longer a proper burger at all. They were delicious though, despite the need for cutlery and 20 napkins to clean up afterwards.

We decided that evening that because we’d needed a day to recover from so much travel, it was best to book another night in the same hotel so we could explore some of Lima and rest a bit more. The next day we woke up late again and rushed about to make sure we got breakfast and were able to cheekily make lunch for later on too. It seems strange that a hotel would provide bread, butter and a lot of sliced meats and cheese for breakfast, though I’ve definitely seen weirder things included in a breakfast buffet.

Our second day in Lima involved a lot of walking. We walked around Miraflores and tried to get a SIM card, but weren’t able to due to their systems being down at that moment. Our lack of Spanish didn’t help with that either, as the staff of the shop didn’t speak much English and these sorts of things are difficult to explain by flapping your arms about. Afterwards we headed back to the park to eat our breakfast sandwiches amongst the local cats. Later on we walked a few more kilometres to Barranco, which we’d been told was a cool arty and bohemian area with interesting street art to see. By the time we got back to Miraflores it was early evening, but despite being quite hungry by this point we couldn’t decide on where to eat. Instead we just went back to the hotel and ate random items from our bags like cereal bars and crisps.

That night we needed to pack our bags and sleep early because we were being picked up by the Peru Hop bus at 6:15am. Of course I needed to get up early and make breakfast, lunch and dinner from the buffet too.

It’s both intimidating and exciting being in Peru now, especially since we have a better idea of how the next two weeks will pan out.

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