Yes. I’m in Lima, Peru.
And I am knackered! My Fitbit lied. I could not have had 6 hours sleep. More like an hour sleep and 5 of being very rested.
Miraflores, a suburb of Lima
Coming in from the airport, the taxi driver was very chatty. A common failing all over the world. I did learn though which two museums I should visit here. We also passed the amazing coastline. Imagine: beach (not much chop where I am), big road and behind it cliffs made of a composite, looking almost like badlands. The coast is called the Costa Verde, the green coast and, where there is vegetation, it’s obvious why. I will have to walk along it to really see both the badlands and the vegetation. Lifesaving pedestrian overpasses mean it’s possible. Otherwise it’s like certain other places, pedestrian crossings congregate us for unpleasant drivers to threaten, harass or run us over. Horns toot and it’s a big city.
By the time I got to my room, changed out of big old heavy duty walking boots into trail shoes, darkness had fallen. True: bang. Light then dark. So I had either to watch tv while doing without coffee and dinner or, go walking. What would you do? Walk, of course. And yes, I wear boots while travelling because they are too big to pack. Comfortable to wear so no hassle. Looks odd but….
Miraflores is a safe area: subtext, lots of tourists, big hotels and hence people wandering the streets. Not well lit but the carefully hidden holes and drops in the pavement and streets aren’t as big or life threatening as in Oaxaca or Sydney!
So, a walk and dinner and then drop off. Pass out, not drop off – I was having excessively vivid day dreams on the plane from Santiago to Lima, between moments of brief unconsciousness. Trust me, start 12 hour flights at night so sleep comes easily. Don’t leave at lunchtime and stop at midnight to change planes, and countries like I did.
Ok. Down the street, turn left, then left again along a major street heading towards a trendy (remember it’s touristy) shopping centre. Doesn’t matter where in the world you live, you’d know most of the shops. Sigh.
Except for one item, a tableau played out in an open court. Surreal. Alice having a picnic, drinking a cup of something, sitting on the floor surrounded by blown up plastic flamingos. Yup.
Anyhow, by this stage I was desperate enough for coffee that I ‘ drum roll’ shock horror!! found myself operating under the usual false name in ‘a well known purveyor of so-called coffee’. Shame on me. It is large cup (mid sized in their schema) and cost S/12.50. Did you guess?
With the local currency, Nuevos Soles, I have to divide by 3 and pretend USA and AUD are of equal value 😗 I wish. Too hard to divide by 1.7 for AUD equivalence. So I lie (to myself) and it’s only taken an hour, one coffee and one take away, to realise the costs in Miraflores are much the same as any big city. Suspect it might be very different a mere few blocks away from here.
If this commentary all seems a bit odd remember, ignore my Fitbit’s view. It got confused by the dateline and manufactured hours of sleeping. So what it says are great lies.
In truth, I am not fit to make any decisions more complex than select the settings for my camera to capture the great view from above the big shopping centre. It overlooks the ocean and a large promontory that fills the southern section of this large curved beach (cove) with a very big, lit, cross that reflects for a long distance back towards the city.
Or is it like this?Heading back from that I bought take away: mixed cerviche and some steamed rice. The restaurant people were aghast at the rice but I said it was separate. No, Ajr, no cerviche has ever tasted as good as by the lake that day in the Yucatan but I will keep looking and hoping. The extent of Japanese input into the local cuisine is already apparent, certainly near here. Great!
Two experiences with Peruvian bureaucracy today. The first was Movistar, to get a prepaid SIM card. Line up to get a ticket. Then wait for your number to be called and shown on an electronic notice board which counter you go to. I had ticket A94 and it was at A89 when I arrived. So, you watch the board constantly and listen closely.
Mixed with Js, Es, Ms etc the ticket calls continued. A92, A 93, A95, A96. Yes. A94 was missed. Options: line up again to get another number, find someone to tell A94 was missed or, take it as a sign of… Yeah, I left looking with mixed feelings given the length of the next line, for the cashier. Wifi seems to be ok and, if not, I’ll try again in Cusco.
Second was changing $USD to Nuevos Soles. Bank has a ticket machine and you type in your name or ID and choose how it will contact you. A text to my phone was not possible. Ahhh, Movistar, I tried. Oh well.
The bank sorts you into 3 categories (of descending interest to them): preferential, clients or other and lists you on an electronic board and you are called in order of their preference. The exchange rate was considerably better than in the airport: S/3.2 versus S/3.0 per USD. Sounds trivial but when you’ve already changed from AUD to $USD it’s change on change, so it’s not.
Thankfully my Spanish is enough to get me through. However, I’m having trouble with the local accent and notice they are with mine too. ☺️ Plus they have some very interesting Spanglish I bet would not be acceptable to purists in Castille-Leon.
Some walking and sort out transport for the day after. Yes, Cusco, I fly there on Wednesday.