Sunday, 4 March 2012

Are we still in Peru? Life in Lima...

While we waited for our room to be ready at our hostel (Kusillus) we wandered to the waterfront (in truth, we'd actually intended to head the other direction in search of a much needed laundry mat, apparently our sense of direction hasn't improved as much as we thought it had...)  Anyway it was a very nice mistake as it was great to see and smell the ocean again, it had been a long time! We visited the ritzy shopping centre on the waterfront and had proper coffee at a seaside cafe while watching the locals surf.  We seemed miles away from the Peru that we'd been experiencing for the last week.  So far away in fact that there was toilet paper in the public bathroom... and we could actually flush it!

Christmas decorations in the nave of the Palace
We caught a taxi into the centre of town, as we wanted to see the famous changing of the gaurd at the Palace, but they were setting up Christmas decorations.  We were informed by some very heavily armed guards that it was cancelled for the next couple of days and that we should move on.  

We thought that since it was nearing Christmas the free walking tour that we wanted to do would be cancelled as well.  Unfortunately it wasn't.  It was actually the worst one we've been on, and we've done at least ten of them.  We would've snuck off early except there was only us and one other couple from Holland so it made disappearing a little unsubtle.  At least we learnt two interesting facts from the ordeal: 1) The Spanish essentially conquered the Incan civilisation with only 40 men; 2) We can thank Pizarro for the saying 'To draw a line in the sand' (he said this to his men when they landed in South America as so many had already died getting there - only those who wanted to continue in his conquest should cross the line he drew on the beach with his sword).
Christmas tree set up in the main square

We decided to brave a collectivo to get back to our hotel - which turned out to be easy and much cheaper than a taxi.  We followed our Swiss roots and tried a 'Mr Bircher' restaurant for dinner (he's the father of birchermueli which originated in Zurich).  Let's just say it was a healthy, vegetarian, overpriced, under-flavoured meal... 

From there it was back to the bus station for an overnight bus to Trujillo.  We'd seriously managed to book the last two seats on any bus leaving Lima, since we'd forgotten it would be getting busy nearing Christmas Day.  Unfortunately, this meant that our seats weren't together, and true to local fashion neither of our neighbours would switch seats so we could be together.  We're not sure why but Peruvians are really, really pedantic about seating in their allocated seat.  At any rate it was another uncomfy, sleepless bus ride, but at least we made it through to Trujillo.

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