After living in rough in Pongobamba for so long, we decided to treat ourselves to the fancy seats on the trip to Lima so we’d be able to get some sleep. It was to no avail. We discovered the route from Cusco to Lima is one 21hr stretch of contiguous hairpin corners as the road winds up the mountains, and down, and up. During the daylight hours the stunning scenery was was worth the stiff neck, but it made it very hard to sleep at night. Thus we arrived in the morning quite tired, but managed to find ourselves a room to stay in downtown Lima.

The place, Hotel Espana was wacky, filled with old paintings, busts, spiral staircases, talking parrots and tortoises. We didn’t have time to relax however, as there was a lot of Lima to see and only 2 days to see it. After dumping our bags we took a taxi across town to meet up with our American friends Brett and Emily in the outlying suburb of  Barranco.

While Lima central was very hectic, Barranco was a much more relaxed neighbourhood by the coast. We spent a couple of hours walking along the coast, which was very hazy and not too appealing. At one stage we wondered into a big shopping mall which was an instant reminder of how dirty and smelly and in need of a shower we were.

Later on and the next day we did our best to explore central Lima. To be honest, I was not really looking forward to Lima, having being told it was dirty, busy, smoggy and dangerous. Though the city is under a perpetual hazy white sky, and has some of the most hectic traffic I’ve ever come across, we did not feel under threat at all, in fact the people we spoke to were some of the friendlies we’d met in Peru. One particularly funny chap, a security guard at one of the churches, was learning English and after a short chat, insisted “I want to tell you yust one yoke”. I can’t remember how the yoke went, but it was hilarious anyway. There was plenty of interesting things about to keep us busy including the churches and monasteries, shops, the huge central market, where everything and anything is available, Chinatown and of course numerous different delicious and very cheap street snacks to try.

We really enjoyed our short stay in Lima and it was all too soon that we were saying goodbye to all the delicious and cheap snack vendors of South America and catching one last insane cab ride to the airport. At the airport we marvelled not only at running taps, but automatic soap squirters! It was a small taste of the first world. Next stop, Houston Texas, followed quickly by Las Vegas Nevada.