Central Aust '09
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By the time we'd landed in Lima and made our way through customs, it was about 23:30. First thing we did was to get some cash, and then we went to find the guy with our names on a sign. The man we found was was not the 'Santos' that Hostal de Las Artes had promised, but it turns out that he often works with Santos and he quickly rang for Santos to come pick us up. We were a little skeptical about the whole setup as we'd heard about the dodgy taxis in Lima, but Santos seemed genuine and didn't seem concerned when we asked for his ID number, and all was well from there.
The drive to the hotel was intersting. It was quite late and therefore dark, but we could see there were plenty of people out, there were plenty of roadside shops selling snacks, and the most prominent thing we could see was garbage - it was everywhere. It was both in loose piles and in bags, both in the middle of the road and on the kerbs. This whole scene paints quite a drab picture of a city we were already frightened of ...
Hostal de las Artes was quite nice, the price was good, the room comfortable and clean, and there wasn't really any noise to be concerned with. we went straight to bed, and slept right until 10am the next morning. So that kind of ruined our plans for Lima cathedral, however we were feeling so tired the nigt before that we knew the cathedral was not going to happen anyway.
The next morning after a very welcome hot shower, we checked out of Hostal de las Artes. We paid the bill, which was S/. 92 (92 Nuevos Soles) including Santos' taxi from the airport, and were somewhat surprised that the hotel could not change a S/. 100 note! Since we had also booked Santos to take us to the bus station today, we offered to pay all at once and eventually the bill was settled
Then, we went off in search of food. First stop was a small shop and we bought some potato crisps plus some juice. Around the corner we found another shop that sold "Gloria" breakfast packs - basically a tub of yoghurt with a tub of corn flakes. You open both, tip the corn flakes into the yoghurt and you have an instant breakfast. These packs cost S/. 3 each, and were pretty good!
To kill some time, we went for a short walk one block around Jiron Chota (the street where the hotel is). It was reassuring that nobody was really staring at us, or making any type of gesture or remark. Not that we'd expected them to, but then again we relly didn't know what to expect.
I also commented to Briony, that the traffic reminded me of Cairo (Egypt) - crazy, no rules, lots of noise. We saw heaps of those "colectivo" buses in the street, which had someone standing in the doorway yelling out where they were going, hoping to fill as many seats as possible.
Anyway our time in Lima was up. At 12pm Santos came to pick us up at the Hostal and took us to Cruz Del Sur bus station on Javier Prado (S/. 25). We checked in, and also went through the fairly painful process of changing our second ticket to the correct destintion. The Cruz Del Sur website isn't the best site in the world, and it does not give a lot of detail about the journey - it only gives the departure and arrival time of the start and end of the route, not the major stops in between. During the booking process for Paracas-Nasca, I accidently booked Lima-Nasca, so just for the simple change to tell them we were getting on the bus at Paracas, not Lima, was more painful that it needed to be.
We hung around the station for a bit, and grabbed some supplies - 2 x Inka Kola, 2 x Water and 2 x D'Onofrio Chocolate (S/. 11) - and hopped on the the bus to Paracas. It was interesting that security on Cruz Del Sur buses is quite strict - they inspected our bags and checked our passports before boarding, and then when the bus was full they got a camcorder and took 2 seconds video of everyone's faces.
Here's some scenery along the bus ride to Paracas
Next: Paracas, Peru
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