Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A trip to darkest Peru - Part 3

Still with me? Good for you! Not long to go now.

So, from Puerto Maldonado we flew back to Lima for our final day and a half. For our first night we had planned to go out and see something of the town, then eat out at some nice restaurant - possibly overlooking the sea, or something exciting like that. Instead, we stayed in, had lovely hot showers, spread out all our clothes, still damp and dirty from our jungle adventures, in the vain hope they might actually be dry before we had to pack up to come home, then decided to stay and eat at the hotel as we realised we really couldn't be bothered to do anything else. And then a nice early night and a wonderfully long lie-in...

James woke me up at 3:30 to tell me he had a "crushing feeling" in his chest and it hurt when he tried to take a full breath. The only time it didn't hurt was when he was drinking, but by this point he'd already finished all our water. So I clambered out of bed, asked him as many relevant questions as I could think of and after deciding there was not a lot we could do about it and the best thing to do was just to go back to bad, I went back to bed.

David woke me at 6:30 to tell me he had diarrhoea. Again, there was not a lot I could do about it except flush the toilet for him (not really his fault, the button was hard to push and was hidden away around the side of the bowl for some reason), and then send him back to bed without a drink because James had drunk all the water.

At 7:30 I gave up and got up. David happily informed me he'd been to the toilet five times during the night. He then threw up twice during breakfast (fortunately not in the breakfast room itself, unfortunately not in the bathroom either, but let's not go into details).

So our one full day in Lima had not got off to a great start, but we persevered. After breakfast we took a cab to the old town, to admire some of the old buildings like the cathedral, and the Church of San Francisco. But wait, now would be a good time to remember that it was Good Friday and Peru is a very religious country. The place was heaving. The taxi couldn't get any closer than four blocks away from the cathedral because the roads had been closed to allow the hordes of palm-bearing pedestrians unrestricted access to their churches.

It was baking hot. It was busy. It was noisy (thanks to the loudspeakers which were blaring out something in Spanish - presumably a sermon). David was ill, James needed the toilet and we were starting to get hungry, so we decided to grab a taxi back to Miraflores (the posh part of town) and find somewhere to sit and eat lunch.

At this point let me tell you a bit about taxi drivers in Lima. They have a reputation for being a complete bunch of crooks. And on the evidence of our one day in Lima, I see no reason to contradict this opinion. The taxis don't have metres in them, so either you negotiate a price beforehand, or else you pay whatever exorbitant fee you're charged at the end of your journey. Here's what happened to us...

We asked the driver how much to Miraflores. He said 30 Soles. This was already a lot - it should have been no more than 20 really, but we reluctantly agreed. On the way he chatted to us, heard that we were looking for somewhere to have lunch and suggested a nice place down on the coast. We agreed and so he took us there instead, then charged us another 10 Soles once we arrived, claiming it was a lot further, which it really wasn't. Then, when I paid with a 100 Soles note, he gave me 10 Soles change and was all set to head off and only reluctantly gave me the other 50 Soles when I pointed out his mathematical miscalculation.

The restaurant then turned out to be too expensive, the bar next door wouldn't allow children in, there was nowhere else to go along the seafront, the walk back up to cliffs to Miraflores was long and hot and along the side of a busy road. The decision to abandon the day and just walk back to the hotel was unanimous.

Fortunately there was a very nice supermarket just down the road from the hotel so I went out and bought us a perfectly nice dinner of cheese and buns and apples and juice and chocolate, all at a fraction of the price of the nice restaurant down by the sea.

And that was the end of our disappointing day in Lima - except for when the hotel tried to charge us a ludicrous amount for a taxi to the airport. But by this time Helen had had enough and she simply refused to accept it until they dropped the price by almost half. Which they did.

Both boys fell fast asleep in the taxi. And in the airport. And on the plane. James at least woke up once we were back in Brazil, but David continued his marathon snooze, right through arrivals and immigration, right through the taxi ride and then finally woke up just as we arrived at our front door, remembering nothing whatsoever from the entire nine hour journey. I, on the other hand, remembered every single sleepless and uncomfortable minute of it.

So the last day was a bit of a disappointment, but it hasn't spoiled the holiday one little bit. We had a fabulous time and did some truly wonderful and memorable things. The kids were brilliant, and David is already saying he'll be going back to Machu Picchu in twenty years time!

And because there weren't many photos from Lima, here are a few that didn't make it into the rest of the blog...
Here I am with my head in the clouds as usual.
James savouring yet another delicacy. His diet on this trip included alpaca burgers and roast guinea pig.
"Pretty please, with a cherry on top!"
Nearly there...
"Take that, jungle!"
"That is so interesting!"

And the final verdict on the holiday...


At 4 June 2013 at 23:53 , Blogger Luizze Oliveira said...

This article make me excited to visit this darkest Peru. Actually, I was looking for the best place to visit with family, so I think this could be one of the best option.

Costão do Santinho


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