poniedziałek, 12 marca 2007
We left the plain the 9.30 local time. The flight was quite pleasant. At the customs we had to hand in some forms stating our personal data, the purpose of the journey, occupation etc. All the formalities fulfilled we got stamps in our passports. WE'RE IN PERU!
The taxi that took as to the hotel from the airport cost us 40 PEN (1 PEN is the equivalent of 1 PLN)! Of course – we overpaid. But these were our first minutes in the country. Through the plane window I admired Lima. Everything was so different, so new. We didn't spend much time in the hotel. We went to the city immediately. Miraflores turned out to be a very safe district. It was full of security guards and you could go for a walk even at night. And so we did. A pub and another one. We were walking bank to the hotel (around 3 a. m.) when we heard the sound of Cuban music. I knew we had to go there, Karolina agreed and the others had no choice...
Following the sound we got to a very nice place called Cubata. On entering we were greeted by Kelly's kisses (the Peruvian hospitality...). Karolina made a deal. We got cheaper bear (I think it was 6 PEN / 0.33 l) and I was supposed to dance with a girl who greeted us very kindly. I didn't even think of saying no. Obviously, Andrea was way better at dancing. It pleased the eye.
Everyone had a great time and we made friends with everybody pretty soon. Marcelo taught Karolina how to dance and later they exchanged shirts! I was delight with the pretty girls, cold beer and the cigar what Andrew treated me to. He was an America I met. We talked about politics a bit. And with Karolina we danced on a car, on a roof and with a flag. It was great!
It was after 6 when we were going back to the hotel but we hadn't got enough. We went on top of the hotel and danced on the roof. This the view of Lima from the Olimpus hotel roof at 6.30 a. m. (A room for 4 cost us 50 PEN a night). Goodnight.
We didn't sleep long. We had no choice. The breakfast was served at 9. Tehn we went to drop an eye on the city in daylight. And on the ocean of course.
After breakfast we all went to the center (bus fare – 1 PEN). On the way we admired the local habits. It's incredible how many cars and busses can find place on their streets, it's amazing that we saw no accidents nad that on many crossings there are no traffic lights – just small and funny booths in on the middle of the crossings. Sometimes with and sometimes without a policewoman inside. And there is no such thing as right of way. When you get close to the crossroads you need to honk to let others know that you're coming. You can imagine the noise:). And the busses don't stop at the busstops – a guy stands in the open door shouting the direction of the bus. If anyone's interested the driver stops by him! Of course there are no timetables:).
Getting into the city centre and especially the experiences on the way made us tired. Therefore we directed our first steps to a charming pub to drink mate de coca. Fuelled up we went to Plaza de Armas – the main square. Almost every main square in Peru is called Plaza de Armas. I don't know why but if you're lost you can always ast Dodne esta Plaza De Armas. As long as you're not in the desert you'll get some instructions...
Lima may not be as rich as Barcelona but it has a charm of its own, many interesting colonial tenement houses with beautiful oriels and picturesque courtyards. The construction workers work on a new pavement.
It's sad to see children selling everything on the streets. And not only children. You can by everything on the streets, from mineral water to dried fruit and irons.
We get to the main square. It really is impressive. All the most important buildings are here, including Palacio de Gobierno (Vice king palace), Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop palace) and a cathedral that experienced numerous damages caused by earthquakes. The oldest sight at the square is a bronze fountain build in 1650. The weather is fine and the square is crowded. Families with children walk or rest on benches.
The people are very kind and friendly. Timidly I started to take pictures of children playing. I was not sure what the reaction could be. But I shouldn't have worried. In the end the whole family posed for me! It was the first time I truly regretted not knowing Spanish.
We went into the cathedral to see it from the inside and than we saw the change of the guards (cambio de guardia) in front of the Palacio de Gobierno. Then we met some more friendly Peruvians. They were our Lima guides until the day was done.
The dentists in my company had to find a way to conduct their wicked and sadistic activities even in Lima. Fortunately there were no volunteers so we went to dance and eat something. If my comprehension of what Maritza said was right the police do not work at night in Lima. Therefore it gets dangerous and it's safer not to wander. We got a cab and went to Miraflores. To Cubata of course.
At the crossroads we met Marcelo. We was delighted to see us. The guard was not so pleased. He said that dancing and whatever on the roof was strictly banned!
Quotation of the day:
We fix it!
In the morning we ate a standard continental breakfast. Two buns with a little butter and jam with mate de coca. The personnel is strangely cold. Maybe their angry that we came back at dawn and woke them up? I don't know. Nevertheless we're heading south today.
But before leaving Lima we went shopping. We wanted to buy cartouches which we couldn't take on board of the plane. On the way we visited the Love Park (El Parque del Amor) and we went to say hello to the Pacific, to touch the water with our feet. Miraflores is a district overcrowded with tourists . I wonder what do other people feel when they pass the buildings surrounded with barbed or electric wire!
By chance we found a great restaurant. We ate raw fish! Believe me or not, it was a revelation! And the staff was very kind. It seems that we were kind too because we got a free round of pisco (Peruvian vodka). Wherever we said we were from Poland (sommos polacos) we were greeted very kindly. 5 pieces of fish, mate de coca and coke's and a delicious I-can't-remember juice cost us just 137 PEN. If you're ever in Miraflores I recommend: CORTEZ, Jr. San Samrtin 465. Greetings for the lady at the picture!:)
The cartouches cost 25 PEN. On the contrary to what we've heard one can boy everything in Peru. Taking everything from Poland doesn't make any sense. Instead of taking a cap from Poland it's better to buy one in Peru and take it home as a keepsake. Instead of taking 10 shirts it's better to take 2 and buy the rest in Peru.
We went back to the hotel to collect our backpacks and then to the bus terminal. A ticket to Ica costs 26 PEN. Students (us!) pay only 23 PEN. On the bus you can watch movies, but I found the views outside the window far more interesting. The sunset, the Martian landscape. Lima has 8 million inhabitants. May of those people live in the slums on the outskirts. The beauty of the ocean and the unfinished “houses” make a queer contrast.
The road is wide, well kept. Better than in Poland! Another interesting thing is the advertising along the road. Every roadside ad is different, inventive, it pleases the eye.
After 4 hours we got to Ica. This terminal didn't look that refined. We took a cab tu the hotel. We went to the dark, we started thinking that the driver was taking us to the forest. Was he going to rob or kill us? Bad luck. To die at the beginning of the journey? But, astonished enough, we got to the hotel. The taxi cost us 6 PEN, the hotel 15 PEN per person per night in a 4 bedded room with no bathroom. But the conditions were ok. To finish the day we drank some beer (6 PEN/l). Robak got an aviator1 as change. Now that's luck! We went to sleep.
A 10 PEN banknote depicting a Peruvian national hero – an aviator ho died during the war. It was Robak's favourite banknote. Paying with it was always the cause of inexpressible grief. And getting it caused immediate smiles!