South America diary
I’m writing this diary as a way to remember my time out here as well as a nice way to reflect while actually on the trip too, it also means I need to fill it it’s something other than drinking and watching sunsets(which is great too.) The planned length of the trip is 3 months starting in Lima, Peru and ending in rio de jainero, Brazil. During which we’ll travel through big cities, desolate desert, humid jungle and the second highest mountain range in the world. Saying that the majority will be in transition on buses and from hostel to slightly grottier hostel, both of which are worth suffering (relative term) through to get to the places worth visiting. A lot of these places as yet we don’t have planned to a tee, but hope to stumble on during the way, there’s a vague idea of doing the “gringo trail.” Gringo is the south American name for a foreigner and the fact they have a name for that, means I’m definitely not the first to want to wander around a strangle, exotic place looking for cheap (always) thrills. Anyway enough of guessing what may happen and start describing what did.
Day 1-5 Lima, Peru
We landed at 6am after a 12 hour flight from Madrid. Slept on and off for most of it and seemed quicker than flights I’d been on before. Was hoping to see some of the amazon but from above but it was pitch black. Anyway landed at the airport, in the passport queue met a journalist going to puerto moldanaldo in the Peruvian amazon. He basically goes round the world (Madagascar, Cambodia) giving Ecocamps publicity, he has one of the best jobs in the world, I’m jealous and kind of hope he gets malaria. In the baggage claim, run into an older English lady who had helped us with the transfer from London to Madrid. We get chatting while waiting jet lagged, and she offers us a cab she’s booked to miraflores, the main tourist area and where our hostel is. Her husband is a teacher in a school here and she’s really helpful with advice etc. Lima near the airport ain’t pretty, pastel colored half finished houses with rebar coming out the walls, and what can only be described as a 20 lane free for all, honking, Spanish shouting and general chaos follow until we get onto a motorway that runs along the coast. The road runs continuously from Alaska to chile and has some pretty amazing views, lima is basically built on a worrying looking cliff by the pacific. It (Lima) is also massive 9 million people and reminds me of America, roadside cheesy ads, American brands and cars, and generally looking really new or pretty rundown. We get to the hostel pariwana at like 8 and shower, we’ve got a few hours to kill before we checkin at 1 so leave the bags and wander out into city centre Lima.
A huge mcdonalds across the road as well as KFC and burger king, mean we’re not too much out of our comfort zone and that lima is really modern. We walk to the sea where there’s a 5 star Marriott and a posh looking mall. The view is amazing other than these buildings, we decide to go to Barranco where the bars and uni is and get horrifically lost and end up walking next to a dusty motorway for an hour. After 5 hours of nice suburbs and run down garages etc we got to barranco which was nice as you could see the sea, and a long strip of bars, but wasn’t really worth the huge journey. Still we got to get an idea of the city. We returned to the hostel and rested before heading to the bar, as well as wandering around lima’s equivalent of covent garden which was mentally busy.
After getting horrifically lost getting to Barranco, we decided to stay closer to home for the next few days in Miraflores and the hostel. We went to the central square one day, Plaza de Armas, and had a look round at all the colonial buildings and large town square. It was also good Friday so the streets were PACKED and we hardly saw another Gringo, which was quite nice as miraflores and the rest of Lima was quite western. Wandered down to the seafront every evening to check out the sunset and then just stayed in the hostel drinking with Events managers (these guys essentially get paid to make sure people staying have a good time and buy plentry of drinks for free room and board, we have a good time.) As well as other travellers, which was good but taxing. We went out to a club called Help the last night in Lima which a german girl who had studied in Lima took us too, it was probably 1,000 people all mostly peruvians and was awesome. However after 3 days Jonny was looking worst for wear and we were leaving for Paracas national park the next day, a 5 hour coach trip away.
Daily budget $40 or over