Thursday, 27 September 2012

Greetings from Peru

Buenos dias mis amigos Mexicanos y otra personas que entienden espanol. Chris y yo estamos horita en Peru , en la cuidad de Lima. Esperamos que todo es bien en SAMAO, quedemos un tiempo felix con gente amable y queremos decir "Muchas gracias a todo". Acqui es muy differente, una cuidad de 8 milliones personas, un ciel gris y poco frio. Yo espero que usteded pueden transducir mi blog porque yo utiliso un tipo differente de Ingles quando yo escrivo que quando yo hablo. Yo pienso tambien que yo escrivo muy malo!!

Vaya bien a todo!!.

We arrived in Peru in style last Wednesday. When we booked the flight it was cheaper to go business class than economy!! We checked out of the hotel and sauntered to the front of the check-in queue and then cleared security and enjoyed the VIP lounge. Lovely comfy seats, nice staff, lovely snacks , coffee and my first taste of Mexican wine.........on the last day. The seats were 2 abreast and loads of legroom and we got our food on real plates with real cutlery. All very pleasant and will balance our last flight which is with Easyjet!! 

Things have improved with Chris' mum , she is now conscious , still very weak but starting a slow road to recovery. A huge change from 2 weeks ago when we thought he would be going home for a funeral.

We landed in Lima on time and our lift to the hostel was there waiting. We stayed at the Iqueque hostel, which was plain and simple and clean, with private shower room, TV and wifi. Breakfast was just bread and jam and coffee and a bit haphazard. But it is only 70 soles a night ( about 4 to the £) so about £28. Lima is the capital but it is a grey city and cold a big shock after 5 months in Mexico. 
Traditional Peruvian dancers in main square Lima

Lovely old city centre coffee shop.......15 soles for 2 coffees!!

The virgin de la Merced , paraded round trujillo as part of the spring festival

The main Moche God .Huacha de Luna

Excavating the city at Huacha de Luna

Adobe city at Chan Chan

Our first day was just going to be  a wander around the main square so first we went to get some more soles and booked our bus tickets for Trujillo , a city 9 hours north of Lima. We tried 6 different banks and none would give us money, the staff in the banks gave various excuses and we decided to try later. By we got to the main square the traffic was awful and there were loads of police, some with riot shields.The teachers, nurses and doctors are on strike and there are daily marches causing chaos in the capital.As we arrived it was time for changing the guard at the Presidential Palace. 

We then wandered off and found a little local family run cafe for lunch. The set meal was 6 or 7 soles and had a lovely avocado and potato salad and I had chicken and rice. We then had a bit if a break and in the evening tried again to get some cash, no success so after a carb-filled cheap meal we decided to ring the Nationwide. They had stopped our cards as a security measure!! It was sorted quickly but sometimes you despair , luckily I also have my First Direct cards and was able to get some cash.

The next day was even worse, we used the local buses to go to the National Museum, which promised an overview of Peruvian history and culture etc. After 30 minutes on the bus we arrived to find it closed till mid October. 30 mins back to the centre of town and after a bit of lunch decided the next best bet was the Archaeological museum........yeh well that requires a taxi and the marching strikers had the city at gridlock again. We went in a corner bakery and had a cheap coffee. 

Our third day in Lima proved a bit more successful, we walked though town to the Plaza del Armas and then visited the church of San Fransisco and its catacombs. Fascinating guided tour, although the song "Dem bones , Dem bones" kept popping into my head!! Next a trip to Chinatown for a reasonable meal and finally the Museo de la Inquisicion.......with a few gruesome looking models in the basement............and of course the Monty Python "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" was an obvious pun!! In the evening we ate in a more expensive place ........still got carb overload. Chris had goat and beans, cabrito con frijoles a local speciality.

Sunday we set off for Trujillo, a 20 hour round trip on some very comfy long distance buses. My only other experience was in Ecuador when the long distance buses played violent films, mainly staring Claude van Damme. We had a good selection both ways ( including Glee-the tour!!) This trip was on my list because I wanted to see the ancient ruins that pre-date the Incas by thousands of years. It was well worth it , Trujillo is a beautiful colonial city, it was warm with blue sky. 

We spent a day in the centre then booked a whole day trip to see Huacha de Luna and Chan Chan. The first is a fabulous pyramid type construction and the second is a city made of adobe. You can only visit a small section of both as money for excavation mainly goes to Cuzco. Our guide was very knowledgeable and we were exhausted at the end as the tour was in Spanish!! We ended the day at Huanchaco, on the beach and had our first taste of Peruvian ceviche, which is very different to the ceviche they serve in Mexico. Ceviche is just raw fish or prawns, with onion marinated in lemon juice and chilli, which cooks the fish. It was served with yucca and sweet potato.

It is taking us a bit of time to try and get sorted with a decent diet here, everything comes with potato and rice and very little vegetables or salad. The bread is all white and refined to within an inch of its life.........but it is not expensive to eat out. In Trujillo we had freshly cooked chicken and home-made chips and I had an egg sandwich and chips and it was 8.50 soles.........just over two pounds. There is a veggie restaurant around the corner so I'm headed there for lunch. Luckily fruit is readily available and quite cheap.

Tomorrow we are flying down to Cuzco and on 1st/2nd October doing Machu Pichu...........till next time.

Norma xx


  1. Sounds like you are off to a good start although your experiences of non events in Lima are quite typical in South America. When you get to Cusco we recommend buying the city attraction ticket and also doing the sacred valley organised coach tour, jumping ship at Olyantaytambo then getting the morning train to Machu Pichu from there. Well done with your Spanish at the beginning, you sure have come on in leaps and bounds.

  2. Hi Norma & Chris,
    I have enjoyed a fortnight in Italy so am a bit late reading your blog. My holiday cannot compare to the excitement you and Chris have obviously had. I am feeling positively sedentary by comparison, though I did some swimming in an outdoor pool which was totally breathtaking (literally)- outdoor temperatures 30-ish, water temperature nearer 15. Brrrrrrrrr! Still it was invigorating. Walked up lots of steps in Monte Carlo (with not a bloody handrail in sight)- yes, I know that's in France, but we took in Santa Margherita, San Remo and Portofino too. On our journey there we went through Zeebrugge, France, Switzerland and then into northern Italy.(Diano Marina) Will start the diet tomorrow with a side dish of more exercise. Now back to earth with a bump, doing an impression of a washer woman! That's all for now, it's 1.29am. Kim x