Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ancient History, Volume X

Way back in 2007, Ness and I were emailing each other at work multiple times a day very occasionally because we're both total professionals. And whenever one of us was having a bad day, it was invariably followed by "Ugh, I should just quit my job and run away to South America!". And then one day, we decided that maybe our jokey statement wasn't such a terrible idea after all. (Except that Ness failed to follow through on the quitting her job part... Hmmmmm...) Which is how we ended up at the travel agent in 2008, forking over a bazillionty dollars with every visit. Ness left a month before I did to see Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. I was then to meet her in Peru for a nine week trip through South and Central America, culminating with four days in Las Vegas. These - to paraphrase Law & Order - are those stories.

Flying from Melbourne to Lima is...complicated. And more than a little time consuming. (I'm just going to assume it's the same now as it was in 2008)
I'm pretty sure the flight path to Chile wasn't that wonky at the end. I just can't draw straight lines.

First, I flew to Sydney at stupid o'clock in the morning. Then boarded a plane to Auckland. Arrival in Auckland introduced me to a truly amazing New Zealand quarantine video. I've tried very hard to find a copy of it over several years (read: I occasionally search Youtube for it), without success. Basically, it's talking about the quarantine procedures, and features a woman having her hand luggage inspected. From her hand luggage, she pulls an entire salami, a wheel of cheese, and A PINEAPPLE WITH THE TOP STILL ON IT. I have no explanation for this video, but it was astonishingly brilliant.

Anyway, I eventually made it to Santiago, where I was to meet Ness. By that time, I was jetlagged, starving (and had no local currency), and attempting to work out what the little old Chilean lady next to me was saying when she periodically tried to engage me in small talk. Eight hour layovers in these circumstances = no bueno. Eventually Ness turned up, and spent the last of her Chilean currency shoving a hamburger into me so that I didn't pass out (although I *did* nearly fall asleep at the table!) before we had to board our flight to Lima.

Arrival in Lima brought us to one of the world's longest Immigration queues. Four international flights had landed at once, and there were six queues waiting to get INTO the queue for Immigration. It was insane. And took over an hour to get through. But eventually, we got through Immigration and the bizarre Customs system of "push a button and if the light goes red, put your bag through an x-ray machine that no one's manning", and to our hotel.

The following day taught us that "el pan tostado con mantequilla y mermelada" sounds FAR more exotic than it actually is (toast with butter and jam), and that supermarkets in Peru sell shrinkwrapped suckling pig. Also that people like to parasail off cliffs in Lima.

The day after that taught us that museum signs that have been translated using Babelfish are HILARIOUS, and that downtown Lima is pretty:


And that taxi drivers in Lima are FUCKING INSANE. The trip from downtown Lima to our hotel in Miraflores took place at speeds between 80km/h and 120km/h (I know, because I could see the speedometer!), with no seatbelts, and periodic almost-side-swiping-nearby-vehicles. There was much screaming.

The day after that taught us that papaya juice smells like vomit, that Inca Kola is the nectar of the gods, that I can't eat a chicken drumstick (Ness found this hysterical. I still don't know how to eat a drumstick. Her description got as far as "slide your knife between the tendon and the bone" and I started gagging...), and that catacombs in monasteries are cool.
While the catacombs were cool, the number of pigeons here
freaked me the hell out. (I have bird phobia.)

And the day after THAT taught us that you shouldn't get your legs waxed at a Peruvian beauty parlour on a whim, because you'll be there for 45 minutes while the wax is melted in a saucepan on a hot plate. And you'll spend the next 24 hours picking wax off your legs (ahem, VANESSA). Also, that if there's an archaeological site within spitting distance, I'll want to go there:
Huaca Pucllana, for anyone who cares.

Oh, and we also left Lima with our tour group, via the first of our many MANY bus rides. This one was to Pisco. We also discovered that pisco (the drink, not the city) tastes like lighter fluid. Mmmm, lighter fluid...

Next up, Peru's answer to the Galapagos, dune buggying, mummies, and the tiniest aeroplane of ever.

K xx

20 comments:

  1. I also have a bird thing. Been to Venice?
    I haven't been to Peru yet. One day.
    LOVE your blog background by the way.

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    1. I haven't been to Venice. I really want to go, but the idea of that many birds makes me want to curl up in the foetal position...

      And thank you! It's all courtesy of Kim at kiminabox.com :)

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  2. I just eat drumsticks with my hands. I'm a Neanderthal.

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    1. Haha so do I, except when I'm in a foreign country and can't guarantee my hands are clean (but the plastic-wrapped cutlery seems promising).

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    2. Hand sanitiser. I'm sure it's all that saved us from food poisoning in Thailand!

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    3. Hand sanitiser was definitely required when we ate at the Poo Restaurant in Thailand!! ;)

      I kind of wish Ness had taken a photo of the horrified/perplexed look on my face when they brought me a drumstick. It must have been priceless!

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  3. You're forgetting the bit where I horrified the guys in a tour group by then TELLING them about the wax. And also the part where the hotel was partially renovated. And... did we go to that gold museum on the boardwalk shopping centre thingie?

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    1. Yeah, I'd forgotten about the partial hotel renovations. I'm not quite sure how, considering they were relevant to stories that happened at the end of the tour... And I'd forgotten about you telling the guys about your leg wax. Good times...

      And yes, it was the gold museum at Larcomar. I'm not quite sure why I didn't take pictures of it. This makes me sad.

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  4. Stupid o clock in the morning is my new favorite thing to say.

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    1. Any time that I don't want to be awake and outside the house is deemed stupid o'clock. I'm fairly sure my flight to Sydney was at something like 7.30am. But I've also deemed having to be at work by 8.30am to be stupid o'clock. Basically, it's awesome and can apply to whatever time you want!

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  5. So, okay, I found your blog via Deidre's (our mutual internet matey!) and OMG YOU LOVE PACEY WITTER LIKE ME WE ARE SOOOO LONG-LOST BFFs SQUEEEE!

    ...ahem.

    Bahahahah.

    I, too, am a Melbourne girl. Born in a country that no longer exists (Yugoslavia). War started in 1991. Went through war. Yay. War = shitty, shitty, terrifying times. Migrated to Oz July 1994. As part of initial assimilation (::cough::) taken to the cinemas by relatives to watch the lame-ass Ted Danson/Macaulay Culkin vehicle "Hanging Even With Dad" (...good God).

    Fell in love with Joshua Jackson when I became obsessed with The Mighty Ducks movies circa 1995 (I even entertained the idea of playing ice hockey, much to my mother's horror)...back then nobody knew who the hell Josh was, so in '96 and '97, while most girls obsessed over JTT (kill me) or "Leo", I proudly shouted my Josh love from the rooftops.

    ...by which I mean the following type of exchange would happen:

    Girl: Pretzel, which actor boy do YOU love?
    Me: Oh, Joshua Jackson.
    Girl: [silence] ...um, who?
    Me: [exasperated sigh] YOU KNOW...! He's Chaaaarlie in the Mighty Ducks movies!! The Ducks' captain? GOD!
    Girl: Ohhh, of course, HIM! Yeah, he's cute.
    Me: Schyeah.

    Then 1998 rolled around and Dawson's Creek blew up, and suddenly EVERYONE loved Pacey (no-brainer) and knew who Josh was. Meanwhile, I was all kinds of sanctimonious because I LOVED HIM WHEN NO ONE KNEW WHO HE WAS, TAKE THAT BIZZOTCHES!

    Oy vey.

    All this to say, I like your blog and think you're pretty cool and fab! I obvs wouldn't have written this lengthy comment if I didn't, DUH. Heh heh. And so I think we should be bloggy friends because, hell, apparently people think I'M pretty cool too. Bwah!

    Also, I've had something of a fascination with Peru ever since doing a country project on it in sixth or seventh grade...after that project I pretty much knew everything about Peru. Then again, I was always a geography buff so learning more about yet another country was a welcome thing.

    Anyway, I do believe I've bugged you enough with this comment. (No kiddin'!) Glad I've discovered this here blog of yours...!

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    1. This comment is full of amazingness.
      1. Getting Even With Dad is a terrible film. I'm sorry.
      2. I've somehow never seen Mighty Ducks or Mighty Ducks 2. I DID see Mighty Ducks 3, and that was where my Joshua Jackson obsession started.
      3. Team Pacey 4EVA.

      Delete
    2. "This comment is full of amazingness."

      Aw, duuuuuude...! You're too much! Many, many thanks. Love that I've found your blog.

      Now, you've never seen the first Ducks movie (i.e. "Champions") OR D2: The Mighty Ducks?! Quick, bring me my smelling salts! You MUST remedy this, woman!

      I've actually been meaning to do a snarky recap of D2 on my blog for a while...note to self, get on that.

      My brother and I went to see D3 at the cinemas; Highpoint, to be exact. I was beside myself with excitement and then, during the movie, thrilled that they gave Charlie a love interest (even though I wanted to be her). Remember his wounded cry of "But I'm not a Warrior, I'm a Duck!" ...? BWAHAHAHAH!

      Team Pacey 4EVA to infinity!

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  6. Drat! I meant "Getting Even With Dad", not "Hanging" (::slaps forehead::)...d'oh!

    (I blame the fact that I've spent all of this public holiday in PJs. True story. Haven't had that luxury in a while so I jumped at the chance!)

    And OMG, you're following me! Dude, you're kickass; thaaank youuuu! I, too, am now following you, obviously. As it happens I'm your 99th follower...on the cusp!

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    1. I totally would have spent the day in my PJs, except that it was my birthday so I had to actually get dressed and do things. Thank you for being my 99th follower - all I really wanted for my birthday was to not see the follower number stuck at 98 like it has been since, I don't know, FEBRUARY. So thank you for making my birthday complete!! :)

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    2. Aaaahhhh, happy biiiiirthdaaaaay! Wishing you oodles of happy, joyous things! Did you have a blast celebrating?

      And you're most welcome for the Follow and the fact that the follows ticking over to 99 have made your birthday complete (aw, shucks)...! Heh heh. Thank YOU for being my (::whispers::) very first follower. (I know, could I BE any lamer? Little Blog That Could, LITTLE BLOG THAT COUUUULD! Bahahah.) Seriously, my heartfelt thanks!!

      Also, in my comment above I mentioned how we saw D3 at the cinemas...this was in '96[!] and I can still remember it was Highpoint because when you're eleven years old and going to see your Movie Boyfriend, going to the movies is akin to an Event. Crikey.

      Delete
  7. Wow, so since I went MIA from blog-world I've missed thousands of posts from everybody and I'm trying to catch up... you've been in my city! I have no idea why any airline would like to make a direct flight from Australia to Peru !! It's freaking insane how many hours you have to spend in plains and airports to get to Lima! It hasn't changed a bit since that time ...

    Ah, my gray city with its cloudy sky. Driving is insane, no one likes it, people just don't care about traffic signs, they are there more as a reference than as a rule. It's horrible! But yet, it's one of the few places where you can bargain to your taxi driver.

    I miss Inka Kola so much, it is the drink of the gods! Some don't like it and some love it, I miss it.

    And on a completely different thing, kudos on Dawsons' Creek! I started watching them again a couple of months ago !!! Geez please Dawson, I can't deal with your emotional problems and your hair. And those clothes, seriously? But I've stopped at the end of Season 2 cause got to lazy to grab the dvd's from the library. And then got busy, and then started watching Lost. I shall continue them soon.

    Ps. Hulk! Agree on your comment, he's by far the best Hulk in movies. Finally someone nails it.

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    1. I adore Inca Kola. There was a Peruvian chicken place in Canberra that sold it along with amaaaaazing lomo saltado (sadly, no Sublimes though...), and I would drink it like it was going out of style. I've heard that there are places on Johnston Street in Melbs that sell it, but I've yet to go on an expedition to confirm!!

      Glad to see you back in the blogosphere, and agreeing with my assessment of Dawson Leery and the Hulk! :)

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  8. btw, where did you guys went to get that wax !?

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    1. I honestly have no idea. It was somewhere near our hotel in Miraflores, heading away from the ocean. It was basically a hole in the wall (which explains why it was cheap and dodgy!), and they seemed genuinely surprised to see us.

      So next time you're home, if you come across a hole-in-the-wall beauty salon in Miraflores, AVOID IT.

      Delete

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