A Day in Lima
How different two days can be. I arrived in Lima at 6pm and had to assemble my bike and cycle into the city to find my hostal. The darkness quickly fell as we are way closer to the equator than Nelson NZ is. I found myself cycling through a foreign city in the dark during rush hour traffic on a Friday night. The roads were sealed one minute and gravel and rock the next. Traffic was chaotic with 3 wheelers motorbikes, old trucks, buses and wild taxis vans full of people and blasting their horns. I think I was the only small vehicle with lights on but think I was the only vehicle not knowing where I was going!
I eventually found the correct street for the hostal but alas no hostal. At 9pm and desperate I gave up and after a couple of tries booked into a hostal not, and I will say definitely not in the best part of town. Nobody around here talks English. But they do have a smile and a room. That was good enough for me. So not even knowing the exchange rate I took the room for two nights at 50 Sole a night. I was sure I had been ripped off but it was better than bedding down on the street with my hand on my bike all night.
I woke up in the morning a tad depressed and vulnerable so stayed in bed until I could pluck up the courage to go out and find out where in Lima I had turned up. I soon found out I’d need the Mercian to get to the tourist side of town. After riding through not the best side for about 6kms I saw my first couple of tourists and from then on things got more up market. It wasn’t long before I was among flagged tourist Hotels and hip bagged, white legged gringos.
McDonalds popped up on the horizon and so depressed was I about not being able to contact anyone on my cell phone or computer that I made a bee line for it. Thank you McDonalds for being there in a moment of need. Over some standard crap food (but familiar) I managed to send word out that I was ok and to receive some emails and encouragement from people when I really needed it.
|Some Things are Strange But I Recognise a Coke when I See One.|
Much happier I walked around the Mira Flores area where the views are pleasant and I could bath in the sight of other non-Latino people. From there feeling better I managed to go from strength to strength making small gains such as talk to locals using signs and occasional Spanish words and achieving basic needs.
My major accomplishments included;
-finding out the approx. Exchange rate from a money lender. (My room only cost $30NZ per night for a double).
-getting various provisions including altitude pills (that took some miming).
-Buying an ice cream and having a chin wag in Spanish. The ice cream will probably give me the runs but what the heck.
-And my biggest accomplishment today, getting spaghetti bolognaise for dinner from a small family restaurant. With a Cola it only cost $7 NZ. The pizza that I got from the super mercardo the night I arrived cost $10NZ and I had to eat it uncooked!
Today I started cycling down the coast South of Lima. All went well surprisingly. I say surprisingly because the terrain is so different to anything in New Zealand and to be quite honest the town are pretty shanty town-ish. Having said that, the longer you are out cycling through them the more you get used to it. What also takes a lot of getting used to is the shear desert that surrounds these towns. Just the sea on one side, hills of sand on the other, and concrete huts with the roughest of roofs between the two. Once again I managed to by good food from these family shops for a budget price. Just when I thought I would be well under my daily budget in Peru I get a surprise. Tonight I’m staying in a hotel South of Peru that is costing me twice what I paid in Lima? How does that work?
On scouting around while looking for cheap grub I checked out the price of a dumpy hostal thinking that my hotel was ripping me off. But no, this place was virtually the same price. So I don’t know. Time will tell. But my hotel either has free Wi Fi or I’m stealing some-ones signal.