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.