Nos vemos

Lima, Peru

The bus ride from Cusco was 27 hours, mostly comfortable, but uneventful. ¬†We reached the Pacific Ocean again, my first time since my transfer in Antofagasta ages ago! ¬†Seeing the Pacific always brings me a flood of feelings – a few thousand more kilometres up the coast, and it’s home. ¬†Only having two weeks left in the trip…that makes home seem a lot closer.

Silvia and √ďscar have been planning to head up through South and Central America to Mexico, and I seriously thought about joining them to Colombia, at least. ¬†I’ve had such a pleasant few days with them (and Marlies and Flo) that I really wanted to just keep going with them! ¬†(Marlies and Flo ended their trip in Lima.) ¬†Knowing that Lima would be my final two days with them, after almost six weeks- half my trip!- of intermittent contact, made me quite depressed. ¬†So I spent the bus doing some Colombia research, resolving to change my flights and work some magic…

We arrived in Lima, where we were promptly ripped off by a driver who charged us S/. 15 ($5) just to take us around the corner from the bus station to our hostel. ¬†Should’ve cost S/. 4 or so. ¬†Ugh. ¬†Reminder to always check where things are beforehand…

Hungry for lunch (it was 4 pm after we checked in and cleaned up after that long ride), we needed some food. ¬†Lima is known as the gastronomical capital of South America, so we headed…straight to the food court! ¬†Fast food. ¬†Heh. ¬†The good meals can wait. ¬†It’s almost amazing, all the familiar creature comforts we saw – churros, Subway, even bubble tea! ¬†(Yes, I got some.)

I hadn’t heard many good things about Lima from other travelers, but the other four certainly did – and whoever informed them was right! ¬†Lima is beautiful. ¬†We passed by some plazas and pedestrian shopping streets, where we ran into Damien, a friend of the other four who was the fifth and final tourist on their nightmare bus to Rurre. ¬†Small world!

By the time we kept going, it was getting dark – we passed through the Plaza de Armas all lit up and photogenic, some random public displays, Chinatown (my first in South America – Peru has a TON of Chinese people, and many Peruvians have Chinese blood), and of course, I grabbed a chocolate-filled churro. ¬†Mmmmm. ¬†Flo and Marlies opted to skip dinner; √ďscar, Silvia, and I grabbed some seafood – all fried, with ceviche as a dip. ¬†Good, but almost too heavy!


And the last day as a group of five came around… ūüôĀ

I tried to call Delta and change my flight, hoping to change my departure city from Quito to Bogot√°, and add an extra week. ¬†They charge a penalty of $250 plus the flight price difference…and no option was less than $370, even just changing the departure date without changing the city from Quito! ¬†That’s far too much for a week (and Delta, you suck). ¬†In effect, it brought my new plans to a complete halt, but because I was thinking about it so much already, it just made my original trip end date seem as though I had to cut my trip short! ¬†Silvia decided to do some research on Ecuador though, a country they were originally planning simply to bus straight through…maybe we’ll meet there! ¬†That certainly made the pain a little easier to swallow.

After all that business, we headed to Lima’s other tourist-friendly district, Miraflores. ¬†It’s full of restaurants and nightlife, and it’s also where the beach is. ¬†Unfortunately, when we got there, all we got was fog – couldn’t even see the ocean! ¬†Knowing that it would clear, we walked around and window-shopped for a few hours before returning. ¬†It’s pretty, but that beach is really quite dirty… ¬†And despite all the good restaurants around, we had no clue where to go and wanted to be cheap, so we settled for a cheap men√ļ del d√≠a (S/. 7) instead. ¬†Eh well.

Dinner was our final final time together, and being the first to leave, I got dibs on deciding what to go for. ¬†Originally, I wanted to try cuy (guinea pig), a meal that √ďscar was extremely apprehensive about but willing to go for. ¬†Fortunately for him…despite its abundance on the menus of Arequipa and Cusco, it’s rare in Lima. ¬†Our hostel receptionist called every restaurant he found on Google that served cuy, and they were all only open for lunch. ¬†So! ¬†Fancy meal instead!

And oh wow…best and most expensive meal in quite some time. ¬†On the recommendation of the hostel receptionist, we headed to the Plaza de Armas, where he pinpointed out one of his favourites that served good Peruvian food. ¬†I had an absolutely luxurious pumpkin risotto with chicken, onions, mushrooms, cheese, and some other amazing stuff… ¬†Everything we ordered blew us away. ¬†The atmosphere was a little funny though, for such a fancy meal – cheap napkin holder on the table, TV on the futb√≥l match…and the meal with drinks cost us about S/. 50 each (less than $20). ¬†But Lima is indeed a foody city, and I’ll need to come back someday and be more spendy.

We took a speedy taxi ride back to our hostel, where I picked up my things and had a very emotional goodbye and a sea of hugs. ¬†I’ll hopefully be seeing Marlies and Flo when I head to Europe this summer, and Silvia and √ďscar…really could be anywhere! ¬†I never expected to bond so much with anyone while traveling, and I find it such a great thing how close we’ve become. ¬†Going back to solo travel will be hard.

And as for Lima? ¬†I’ll be back in five days. ¬†It’ll be a quick hello, less than a day, but still a friendly one nonetheless.

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