Ahh, Peru. We have strongly mixed feeling about Peru. We had a fantastic time at Machu Picchu and in the Sacred Valley, Saben learned how to surf, we viewed some of the most stunning scenery from our first class bus seats, and played video games like 10 year olds at the Larcomar. Read the rest of this entry »
Day 117: Lima, Peru
Today we savoured and celebrated our very last day in the Americas. While we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Central and South America, we are ready to try our hand in some entirely and truly foreign (to us, that is) cultures. Yes, we will be stopping off in both Spain and Greece for 2 weeks of actual vacation time but right after that we fly straight into land of adventure, chaos, and sand: Egypt. Being in the States, we are pretty familiar with Latino culture but we have had limited exposure to others such as Arabic or Islamic culture. We are looking forward to the experiences which lie ahead of us with excitement and uncertainty. We realize it will definitely be a kick in the face but otherwise we have no expectations or notions of what it will entail. So tonight we celebrate and bid farewell to the Americas with a feast and one final Pisco Sour toast!
Day 116: Lima, Peru
I’ve never met a surfer who was stressed out about anything. Carlos, a lawyer turned surf instructor, was certainly no different. We made our way down to the beach from town to a small tent right on the beach which serves as the Pukana Surfer School (http://www.pukanasurferschool.com). Standing around 5 feet tall with abs of steel and a big smile that never left his lips, Carlos went from being a serious teacher to a fun surfer buddy as he taught Saben the essentials of surfing. Although lessons are an hour($16 including wet suit and board), the first 15 minutes is serious on-land warm-up / practice. Then you get your magnormous long board especially for first timers and it’s time to get wet. Having absolutely no interest in surfing herself, Lin was enlisted as photographer for the day, chronicling Saben’s attempts at surfing.
Day 115: Lima, Peru
Today we did nothing but wander the streets of Lima. We picked up some supplies and snacks at the huge Metro supermarket. It was the nicest, cleanest grocery store we’ve ever seen but the shoppers were even more angry and snatch-and-grab than Wal-mart. It was like a shopping cart derby and we were all gladiators fighting for the last box of cornflakes.
After escaping the lion pit, we stowed our goods back in the hostel and headed for the beach. It was foggy but it was still fun to watch the surfers of all ages and sizes try their hand (feet?) at surfing. ”Tomorrow,” Saben decided boldly, ”I will surf.”
Day 114: Lima, Peru
After a delightful spot of luxury (as delightful as any 18 hour bus ride can be, 1st class or not!), we arrived early in Lima and struggled to find a place to stay. Luckily, we found a taxi driver who knew a bit about some hostels and dropped us in the lovely Miraflores district. We discovered Che Lagar, a new hostel only open 3-4 months just a few blocks from the better known Loki hostel. It’s immaculately clean, very modern and a bit funky with its classy black and lime interior.
We spent the day wandering around Miraflores, enjoying the delights of the Larcomar (the massive shopping and entertainment center down by the beach–you can’t miss it!), and revisiting our old friend Bembo’s for dinner after we had exhausted ourselves playing arcades games meant for 10 year olds!
Day 113: Machu Picchu, Peru
Tiny wild strawberries and tomatillos, big bright pink orchids, thick misty clouds rolling in and out obscuring the view of Wayna Picchu. This is Machu Picchu. It’s easy to understand why the Incas chose such an unlikely place to build the most important city in ancient Peru. (To learn more about the history of Machu Picchu, click the wiki link here). It’s also equally understandable why the Spanish never discovered such a magnificent, hidden place. Read the rest of this entry »
Day 112: Aguas Calientes, Peru
After a breakfast that can be called no less than utterly insipid, we checked out of the drafty (understatement!) hostel. Passing police in full riot gear and shields ready for some wicked deflecting action, we made our way to the bus station.
Day 111: Cusco, Peru
“Tewnty-five dollars?!” We squinted at the sign posted behind the reception desk to be certain that we had read it correctly. The manager came out and confirmed the price, we thanked him for his time and high-tailed it out of there!
Bummer! Cusco was freezing (and we along with it) and it was 7:30AM. We didn’t know where else to go and had no city map. We knew it would have to be the old walk about to find another cheaper hostel as we shrank deeper into our thin jackets. Just second after we had left, the manager came hurrying back outside and said, ”OK, OK. I suppose…I will give the room to you for…for 25 Soles.” Read the rest of this entry »
Day 110: Arequipa, Peru
Finally, after much uncertainty and many different answers, bus travel is no longer suspended for Cusco. Woohoo! Apparently, the protests going on are not so violent as we were originally led to believe and are supposed to end today. So we are heading out of Arequipa on a night bus and, having by now thoroughly exhausted the sightseeing opportunities here, we are spending the day holed up in an internet cafe trying desperately to get caught up on the website!
Day 109: Arequipa, Peru
Since Lin is feeling well enough to travel today we planned to hop on a night bus to Cusco tonight. Unfortunately, all bus travel in and out of Cusco has been suspended for 2 days due to large scale protests there. No one knows when buses will be allowed in because that depends on the protesters and whether things turn violent.
Anyway, we are stuck in Arequipa yet another night. In order to deal with such a terrible position, the only way we could possibly cope was, of course, to go to the movies! ”Slumdog Millionaire” is one of the greatest movies of all time. Honest, sad, and funny, reflecting all too real conditions and trials for the people of India, it was heart rending and reminded us of all the things we normally take for granted.