I thought I would add my two penneths worth as lady luck was certainly shining on us after our very early start and uneventful flight to Madrid. We joined the chaotic scrum cheerfully described as a queue at the gate for our 12 hour flight to Lima and as Mike and I passed through different desks both our borading passes were rejected at the same time. Fearing the worst, that somehow this was the wrong flight/date/gate etc we waited with baited breath as the ladies at boarding frantically typed into their computers and double checked our tickets. Finally both scribbled out the seat given to us at check in and nonchanently announced we had been upgraded to Business Class! In case there had been some mistake we left very quickly!
Our large leather seats in the centre of the plane adjusted to our every need, reclining to a flat bed for the ultimate in flying luxury. Not daring to believe our luck we were careful to conceal our shock and sheer pleasure from the other full fare paying passengers as we sipped champagne at take off!
After 12 hours of luxury we landed in Lima to a very pleasant 23 degrees but our relaxed states of mind did not last long. Pushed, rammed and generally man handled at the baggage belt we were painfully reminded that we were no longer in Blighty. High speed driving and a reliance on the horn to announce your presence to other road users and pedestrians alike seemed to be the only way to drive in Lima as we tore through what can only be described as the less salubrious areas of the city towards the cliff top haven of Miraflores.
Our hostel, Miraflores House, run by the fountain of knowledge that is Francis is great. A trightly wound maze of around 4 floors each squeezing as many roms as possible, it seems to go on forever, and all is painted varying shades of olive green - a cheap job lot of paint or a higher significance we are yet to find out. Francis overloaded us with information on where to go, where not to go, what to do along with numerous recommendations for local dishes that are "too good to miss" and testiment to his expanding waistline we presume! Armed with a small map and these gems of wisdom we ventureed into the city for the first time.
Hot, dirty, smelly, noisy and totally random are the first words that spring to mind to describe my first impressions . Cars with no emissions controls and drivers leaning permanently on their horns make for an assault on the senses immediately. Affluence and poverty sit side by side in the manner we've experienced before in other cities in developing countries; old and new provide a striking contrast from small corner stands selling groceries to the large, cliff hugging mall on the seafront offering souvenirs, clothes and the ever present KFC and Burger King to the descerning shoppers.
We had a lovely day, easing ourselves into the culture and ways of this new city and we think we have built up enough courage to venture out of the back packer haven of Miraflores and e xplore down town Lima today.