We begin our month in Peru where many travelers do–in Lima. We spend our first full day in Peru exploring the areas of Lima around the Miraflores neighborhood before taking a 16-hour overnight bus over the Andes to Arequipa.
We will be flying from San Francisco to Lima, Peru tomorrow (July 1st). We will spend about 4 weeks in Peru and about 2 weeks in Ecuador before flying from Quito to San Francisco on August 11th. We will spend our first full day in Peru exploring Lima (esp. the Miraflores neighborhood) before taking a 16-hour overnight bus to Arequipa (Peru’s 2nd largest city).
My sister and brother-in-law drove us from Monterey to San Francisco (at 4:30 am!) to catch our morning flight to Lima, Peru…with a quick layover in Houston, TX. We flew Continental and were quite pleased to get to watch free movies on the 6 hour international leg of our flight and get 3 free meals!
No hitches in immigration and customs either, although we would have preferred to have more legible stamps in our passports 🙂
Our driver from our hostel (Flying Dog) was there waiting for us in the lobby. I liked seeing the Pacific Ocean on the taxi ride and kept thinking how neat it was that earlier that day we had been a few thousand miles up the coast in California. We slept quite well after our long travel day (despite the endless honking and street noise) and were happy to have internet and breakfast included with our room.
Location: LIMA, PERU Date: 1-2 July 2010 Elevation: 354 ft. Temperature: 78° F
We began our first full day in Peru with eggs, queso, and coffee at El Parquetito Cafe near Plaza de Kennedy (they are seemingly big JFK fans in the area, who knew?!). Then we went on a long walk through Lima´s Miraflores neighborhood where we were staying; highlights include a gas station located smack in the middle of a wide avenue to allow for literal drive-thru refueling (sucks if you have a passenger side gas tank like I do), and many, many (too many) American fast-food transplants including Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, Starbucks, etc, AND DUNKIN DONUTS on almost every corner! (it´s hard enough to find one in the States these days!)
We then went on a tour through the pre-Incan Huaca Pucllana ruins (an interesting old pyramid structure) with a very international group and learned about this ancient adobe village now located right in the middle of a metropolitan neighborhood. The government is fighting to preserve the area from further development.
I thought it would be cool to live across the street from an ancient pyramid, but didn´t fancy the thought of sleeping on top of a human sacrifice burial ground which is what most of the site was built for.
Afterwards, we headed to a small bar underneath our hostel for our first Peruvian beer (Pilsen Callao), where we managed to catch the last few minutes of the Uruguay-Ghana game. After trying to activate David´s cell phone from Mozambique we caught a taxi to the bus station for our 16 hour ride to Arequipa, southeast of Lima.
After some research, David had learned that this particular stretch was quite treacherous, so we opted for a high-class busline, Cruz del Sur…we even got the luxury seats on the bottom level of the double decker bus (VIP class as they called it, $10 extra) that reclined to 160 degrees! I thought that was pretty cool and had no problems sleeping after my yummy Peruvian dinner (including Inca Kola…a popular bubble gum flavored pop…mmmmm, very sweet!).
David had more difficulties sleeping on the windy, and often gravel or dirt roads, so we’ll probably keep our overnight bus trips to a minimum. I even rode my seat belt the whole time and, to my surprise, so did the Peruvians around me! Oh yes, and I must mention, we even got to play “bingo” on the bus…David almost got a blackout! A good, rapid review of Spanish numbers!