Sydney to Auckland to Santiago de Chile
No one I know tries to catch an earlier flight by just lining up for it. I inadvertently did, trying to leave Santiago de Chile early, thinking time had passed quickly. It hadn’t!
And once in the air again, you get a challenging customs form for Peru. For example the green bit both allows and disallows two phones per person aged over 7. Thank heavens my large phone is really a photo phone 😇, not a phone. I thought the oddity was just spanglish. No, the woman next to me had the Spanish version and she also found it unduly complex 🤔. Not to worry as I didn’t see anyone checked for their green form entries. Lots of drug dogs in the crowds and on the luggage but you get to keep your completed customs form. 🤗
The line to passport control coming into Perú started for me at 22:40. Snaked around and around, well out beyond the many roped barriers. No visible controllers just hundreds of people, hundreds. All behaving very nicely though. Ah yes, as the locals tell you, it’s Peru! And how long did it take to get through? Ages. Forgot to check.
And then an airport hotel in Lima, an impersonal place, functional and convenient until a late morning flight to Cusco the next day.
Taxi to airbnb apartment. Always a bit nerve racking as photos never capture the liveability of an apartment you’ve seen only in a few pictures. My landlady eventually opened the small inner entrance door (not made for una australiana alta). She had sent a taxi for me but hadn’t said so I guess it had a long wait as I caught one anyhow.
The apartment generally looks like the photos but doesn’t show it’s the underneath house filled in: cold and with unusable high windows but with a saving grace. The entrance is a double door that opens to the courtyard, sunny and warm in the afternoon. And with a resident dog. He threatened to bite me when I was alone but has since decided I live here too now.
Another saving grace is the landlady, Erika, and her mother and brother. She took me to get SIM cards yesterday, a noble action as it’s not easy, then to a money changer with better rates and a different supermarket.
Ah yes, SIM cards here: go to a shop selling SIM cards. They sent us to the main office as they can’t serve a gringa, a foreigner. Ok. Once at the main shop, state your need, get a ticket. Wait with the many others. When called, restate your need to the counter person and hand over your passport. Take the ticket to the payment person and restate your need. Go back to last counter as something not validated. Then back to payments.
Then back to the counter person. She eventually got the sims and activated both. However, while Erika and I were at the paying counter she did nothing, awaiting our return. So you can see why there are usually many people waiting at the places selling communication plans and sims. Not just here, same in Lima last year where I eventually gave up.
Back to Erika: without her I’d have had to give up. Another good thing is she doesn’t speak english! Her mother, Estella is delightful. A few things were missing from the kitchen and she got them for me in minutes.
Her brother, Juan Carlos, I met when trying to get the shower to work. I didn’t realise the electric shower heater requires a careful balance between water pressure and temperature. Lots of water = cold only. Yes, a likely outcome for a natural grub living in a cold apartment with a shower like that is obvious. Weekends away!
I feel like hell today. Woke to a hangover type headache and to having to decide whether to vomit or not. Back to sleep and eventually opened email to the news a never previously failed bit of plumbing at home wants fixing and my Spanish school in Cusco wanted confirmation and money for next week.
I live at ~5m height above sea. My map app tells me here is 3,415m above sea level. Still, I don’t feel as bad this time as when I was last here, a year ago. And I should be right tomorrow.
Saw my first inti rami parade for this year today. The cutest little kids, all in their respective costumes, dancing and acting their way around two sides of the central plaza. Or niggling each other as they waited for their time in the limelight.