Angela's Andean Adventures.
Peru and Bolivia 2001 - Part 16.
Lima then Home.
I was really tired when the alarm went off but had to get up as I still had packing to finish and I was supposed to be at the airport by 7 am. Alfredo was downstairs cooking Adobe de Chancho for breakfast, but I wasnt very hungry and could only manage a very small portion. I had already carried the flight bags etc down and he helped me with the two big cases - we had such a struggle getting one of them down that he jokingly asked if I had half the stones from Sacsaywaman in it! Even with two of us we couldnt manage everything in one go to the road to get the taxi. Alfredo hailed one and the driver helped us get the things to his car. Only one case would fit in the boot and we had to get the rest in the car. We made it to the airport by 7 am though, Alfredo anxious to get me checked in as he had to dash back, get Danielo up and both get ready, as they wanted to get to Sacsaywaman as early as possible to get a good spot with a good view for the days celebrations.
At the airport the taxi driver had a job getting the case out of the boot, standing in the boot and heaving away to get it out. I couldnt help laughing. He helped Alfredo get the cases in to the Lan Peru desk and I struggled with two heavy flight bags, a large handbag and also my charango in its case. We were lucky to get them checked in immediately, although my face fell when asked to pay 64 dollars excess weight fee. Luckily I was able to pay it with my Visa card, hoping that I would not have to pay the same again on the Lima to London flight next day (unfortunately it turned out I had to pay a further 98 dollars on the London flight!). We then went to pay the airport tax and then Alfredo whisked me to the departure point, which is where we had to part company as he couldnt go through as well. We gave each other a big hug and I promised to write the first chance I got. I was well laden with hand luggage - as well as the four bags, I had my CD player strapped around my waist and a mountain of clothes on that wouldnt fit in the suitcase - three sweaters, a cardigan, two jackets and a third jacket tied around my waist, plus the pockets of the jackets were filled with things. I looked about twice my normal size and could hardly move with that lot on. Also it was another hot day and swelteringly hot. I had an hour to wait in the departure lounge and then it was time to board the plane. I struggled getting my things from lounge to plane, especially as one of the bags was breaking with the strain and only just managed to get it as far as the plane before it broke. Luckily there was a spare bag inside one of them and I later transferred the things into it once we were in the air. I spent the whole flight looking for my numbered slips which are necessary to get ones luggage at the other end, without success - luckily, I found them on the floor when I got out of my seat on arrival at
Apart from this anxiety the flight was a pleasant one, again with great views across the Andes mountains at least until we got to 35,000 feet and then the view was obscured by clouds below. We were all served food and drinks and then in no time at all we were descending, outside obscured by dense mist, and this descent was the worst one yet, the pressure on ones ears being really painful this time. It was only at the very last minute that the mist cleared and one could see the ground and realise the plane would land in just a few seconds. It was a smooth landing and arrival was a much quicker process than usual with no checkpoints to go through. My luggage arrived quickly on the conveyor belt, a porter came to help and the first person I saw when I exited into the arrivals hall was Elvas sister who recognised me in the same instant. We didnt need the signs we were both carrying!
She gave me a lovely welcome, as did her daughter in law and 3-year-old grandson. She directed the porter where to go and soon we were trying to get all my things in the car and ourselves as well, her son having driven to the airport to collect me. Back home I was really glad to get off all the extra clothes, as I was so hot. When I started peeling off all the layers they were really amazed at how much there was - enough to fill two more flight
bags! They offered me the chance to have a shower and it was great as I felt so much better afterwards.
We then drove to a nearby takeaway shop, bought a load of chicharon, along with fried camote, and then a selection of different bread rolls, which we took back to the house and enjoyed as a late breakfast/early lunch. Then we switched on the TV and were able to watch the new presidents inauguration in Machu Picchu which was very interesting and the channel then switched to Sacsaywaman and I was able to see the different dances etc going on there, and the vast crowds watching (just as on day of Inti Raymi). We saw the presidents arrival at Aguas
Calientes on the train and then at 2.30 we all went out, taking a taxi to the centre of town, and went on a sightseeing walking tour of lots of places of interest. We saw the cathedral, the municipal buildings, Plaza de Armas and the palace and I took a few photos. We also went walking through various shopping arcades and ended up at Miraflores, first enjoying Picarones, a typical Limeña sweet desert, then looking at all the stalls of various artesenial items for sale. We also saw the nearby river and bridge and I took a photo there as well. We got back to the house again around 6 pm, quite exhausted from all the walking. I really enjoyed Lima in their company and didn't feel threatened like last time. Miraflores is a safer part of Lima from what Ive been told and all the shopping areas although crowded were safe enough. We finally ended up at a beautiful church and went inside, but as a mass was in progress we only stayed near the foyer looking at Monte Christi and beautiful paintings.
Outside we hailed a taxi and came home as by this time it was starting to get dark, and things get a bit dodgier after dark. Back home we enjoyed Aji de Gallina for tea and there was also a selection of different deserts for pudding but I simply had no room to try any of them. I had a frantic search for the paper with my entry to Peru date on it. After hunting through all three bags I had to open a suitcase to look for it and was so relieved when it was eventually found. Had it been lost it could have hampered my exit from Peru. We left for the airport at 4.30 as I had to be there 3 hours before the flight time. It was just as busy as last time and it took such a long time to get everything checked in and pay the 25 dollars flight tax that there was only just over an hour to wait when I said my goodbyes to them. The flight to Madrid was a pleasant one and I was lucky to have a window seat again and no one in the seat next to me so plenty of room to stretch out. Being a night flight I was able to get to sleep okay after the excellent evening meal and therefore the long flight didnt seem as long as it did on the outward journey. We were a little late arriving at Madrid so by the time I got my boarding pass and made my way to the embarkation gate there was no waiting at all before boarding the plane. That flight was a pleasant one with another meal and then we were arriving at London where I knew I was being met by my Bolivian musician friend Jacco who arrived from Texas earlier that day for a 2 week holiday in England with me. Unfortunately due to a luggage mix-up I had to wait two hours before I could get my baggage, with no way of getting a message to Jacco about the delay. In the end I persuaded someone on the Iberia desk to make an announcement.
Meeting him was great fun - after more than a year of being email penfriends - and I was glad to have his help with the entire luggage which I could never have managed alone. He was carrying yellow roses that he had brought all the way from Texas and later gave me six CDs as presents, a Latin American cookery book and some beautiful jewellery made by native American Indians in New Mexico as a late birthday gift. We got the bus home, which ended up being a long trip as we had to get the bus back into London Victoria to collect his luggage first which he had left there in order to spend the day sightseeing in London before coming to meet me. It was getting on for midnight when we got home.
His 2-week stay was great fun - the first few days in Bath then a flight to Edinburgh to enjoy the festival and we met up with some of my musician friends and did lots of sightseeing, then back to Bath for a few more days and ended up with his last weekend in London with my Peruvian friends Johnny and family. He flew home on 13th August and that was my first day back at work after nine weeks! As soon as I am on my feet again financially, I will be saving like mad to go back again next year! That excellent holiday more than lived up to my expectations and I cant wait to go back!