peru trip: take two

Lima, Cusco and The Inca Trail, 2004

Lima:  (5/17-19/04)

We arrived at the airport in Lima around 10:15 pm. Our driver was waiting for us in the designated area with his little sign with our names on it.  It could be dangerous if you didn’t use the official taxis or hotel transports. All the ‘pick-ups’ lined up outside a gate with their signs.  It was a good system.

We stayed at a nice hotel called ‘El Patio’ in Miraflores, a lovely barrio of Lima right on the Pacific coast, although we never did get to the ocean.  We only caught a glimpse of it from our cab on the way from the airport to El Patio.  It was very foggy so we couldn’t see much.   Winter in Lima meant that along the coast everything was constantly engulfed in an unrelenting grey mist.  It reminded me of London.  Nonetheless, I was looking forward to our stay at El Patio.  I had stayed there in 1999 with my husband, Andy.  It was a popular place.

What I loved about El Patio was the entrance.  It consisted of a narrow corridor lined with plants, open to the sky.  I had the feeling that I was walking into someone’s private city garden.  The rooms were simple with private baño (bathroom), and cable TV.  Breakfast was included.  A typical breakfast in Peru consisted of pan (bread, usually in the form of a light bun), butter, juice and coffee.  They were not big on eggs and cereal and all the varieties of breakfasts to which we’re accustomed in the States.  You could find them in the tourist restaurants, but it was usually listed as Desayuno Americana.  (American Breakfast; ham, eggs, juice, coffee and toast.)

The temperature in Lima was in the upper 60’s – 70’s during the day, getting down in the 50’s at night.  There is no such thing as central heating in Peru.  What you got was more blankets.  At the fancier hotels there might be heat in the form of heaters in your room that you could plug in, but I rarely stayed at high-end places.  I usually chose mid-range hotels.  I grew accustomed to the lack of heat.  As long as there was hot water for the shower in the cooler locations, I was okay.

Lima was a whirlwind of errands and last minute details before we flew to Cusco where the real trip began.  I did have an interesting conversation over breakfast with . . .

(to be continued)