Travel Journal

Buenos Dias from Peru...

(Thursday 17 September 2015) by Karen O'Shea
Buenos Dias:-)

Well after 21 months of strategic planning and 11,500 kmïs later, I have finally finally arrived in South America. The flight from Dublin to Amsterdam was 1 1/2hours then a 3 hour wait and then a 12 hour flight to Lima Peru. :-)

The upside of the flight was that I flew KLM and they kept waking me up to feed and hydrate kind of people! The downside..12 hours sitting on a numb bumïhonestly thought I would get bedsoresïwas half tempted to ask the cute dutch steward to turn me every two hours.haha ;-)

By the time I arrived in Lima airport ..It was still bright and was still bloody day time, (they are six hours ahead of us). My eyes were stinging with the tiredness but at least my belly wasnït rumblingï.:-O

I was so exhausted that I had forgotten to break out in a sweat going through immigration and customs. I had a vision it would be like ïBanged up Abroadï, these Peruvian officers watching everyone suspiciously, as the sweat dripped down their faces while they chewed on match sticks!!!

Thankfully I didnït see any of this, maybe because my eyes were half glued together. In fairness it was all plain sailing through immigration, customs and baggage reclaim. The ATM even accepted my bank cardï..RESULT!!

Finally when I arrived in the arrivals hall, there was a big smiley Peruvian taxi driver waving my name in the air. Oh boy I greeted him like an old friend, at last I could relax and let someone else take the lead. His wife also came for the Sunday driveïhaha.:-)

I had forgotten how crazy traffic could be. There were 4 lanes which sometimes turned into 5 or 6, not because thatïs the way it was laid out. It was because of impatient crazy drivers. My god everybody HONKS, hoots and toots!! It must be part of the driving testï..:-?

And after sitting back in the taxi for a while I learned not everyone honks for the same reasonï.
Honk A from a taxi.. ïDo you need a lift?ï
Honk B from a car up your rear ïGet a move onï
Honk C from the cops.. ïPull overï
Honk D from a bus ïthis could mean anythingï.
Its just insane.:-?

Itïs a free for all. I could never drive here. Even the traffic police blow whistles all day long! Itïs no problem for an artic truck going the opposite way to make a U turn on the road and block up all the traffic,...hell I wanted to hoot and toot as well..(see I am getting like the locals).

As I write this I am on a flight from Lima to Cuzco. I am high over the Andes and all I can think about is that film ïAliveïïï Enough said on that, but if you read this blog then everything went well.;-)

On Monday I just strolled around Lima. Saw the changing of the guard at ïPlaza de Armosï. Whow it was amazing, Buckingham palace wasnït a patch on it. There were about 30 guards in a brass band playing and marching for about 30 mins. Then they were joined by another lot. It was full on. So much so I almost didnït notice the guards actually changing! They did it in style alright!

There is such a big police/army presence in Peru. They are everywhere, and all armed. Even on our hotel door there are security guards. Armed guards on bank doors. They even have a reserve police force that patrols the city but they are not armed. It can be a little intimidating at first but I guess I rather them on the street then not.

Lima itself has about 8 million in population. It got overcrowded a number of years back. The country side was dangerous because of a terrorist group on the rise, so a lot of the country folk moved into Lima, this in turn made the rich folk leave their houses and move to the beach side as it was safer. Because of the amount of folk that fled into the city, the crime rate also sky rocketed!!

There is the world of cathedrals here as the country is 90% catholic. A lot of the buildings here have been hit by earthquakes so when they were rebuilt they have become modernïnot very modern though.
In fact a lot of the beautiful Spanish buildings are not what they seem. For example there is a huge stone building owned by the bank, but the bank only have one outlet in it and rent out the rest. AlsoïI love this oneïthere is a convent a block long joined to the cathedral. The whole bottom level is rented out to retailersï.including a lingerie shop. And the nuns live upstairs. To give the nuns their due they also run a soup kitchen/restaurant for the homeless, they earn money to do this by going out singing..I think thatïs cool, they are not expecting handouts for nothing. :-)

There are no 5 star hotels here in Limaï..but they got McDonalds, starbucks and KFC!! :-?

Even if you go in through ïa door wayï on the street there could be a court yard of stalls and restaurants, or 30 families living in apartments, you just stumble by so much.

As I write this we are about to land in Cuzco about an hour east of lima, it will be our base for a couple of days. Just flew over the ANDIESïïïsorry going to repeat myselfïïJUST FLEW OVER THE ANDIES! And momma bear they are no longer at the end of my sleevies!!!!!!:-):-)

The photos mind me hit and miss because it takes ages to upload them, anyway hope this blog keeps ye going for a while.:-)

Adios until the next time and up CLONDEGADï:-):-)ï

Karen x

  • X by mandy
  • Wow by Noreen
  • Glad you got over the Andies!! by gearoidin
  • Great blog - keep writing by Judith

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