Anthony on the Gringo Trail 2005 travel blog

Seafront in Miraflores, Lovers Park in background

Miraflores Pier

Statues in Lovers' Park, Miraflores

Peruvian surfers, Miraflores

Another Terry Pratchett joke, as this is the fourth time I have been to Lima, and I can't say my opinion has improved that much. It is still permanently covered in a grey depressing mist. I had also forgotten about the security and guns everywhere, they don't really have that in Argentina. Mind you, they don't have cheap and readily available freshly squeezed juice and milkshakes either, like they do here, and a particularly nice fruit called something like Lucarna, very sweet and almost like caramel, makes a gorgeous milkshake.

I didn't actually fly straight here as it might suggest on the map, but rather South to Cordoba again for some reason, and then back north again to Santa Cruz in Bolivia, where I spent too long hanging out in the airport. That might be OK at Heathrow, but not in these provincial airports. It was also jungley hot and humid, I had forgotten what that was like. Bad news was that the flight to Lima was delayed for some reason, so I didn't get into Lima until after midnight, tired and hungry.

I am staying in central Miraflores again - might as well - but it seemed a hell of a lot livelier than last time, not least that there was a loud crowded bar right opposite my room. I guess it was Saturday night, and late enough for Latin Americans to consider it worth going out, but the whole area was jumping, and lots of loud latin music - some live - which suprisingly perhaps is not something I have heard much in South America. I had to have a look - criminal not to - and it was worth it. I saw a bit of live music, and a lot of people dancing far better than I could ever hope to. There was one guy who was particularly good, who I heard in all seriousness telling these women that he had a gift from God to dance fantastically and turn women on. Made my day, that did. I hadn't been out long though, when to my suprise about 2 it all wrapped, presumably so people could get on to the nightclubbing stage, a step too far for someone who was in his third country that day.

27th: A disturbed nights sleep with all the partying outside, but I still woke up quite excited to think that I am going home tomorrow. Wandered down to the seafront to watch the surfers (not good surf though) and paragliders and do windowshopping. Saw a little exhibition there about the Peruvian Amazon and particularly about where we were in the Tambopata Reserve and even the place we stayed, brought back lots of nice memories, seems like such a long time ago. And basically just wandering and trying to shop. For bizarre reasons, but probably partly to do with thinking Peruvian food is a bit crap, I chose to spend my last night in South America in a so-called English pub. It was going to be an Irish pub, but I never got past the early evening drink in the English one. I wasn't sorry though to miss the crappy happy hour from 4pm to 6, where you could get three drinks for the price of two. Not much of a pull that. I still think nothing beats the all you can drink for a dollar happy twenty minutes in this bar I frequented in Jerusalem. I could have my fourth pint started by the time the twenty minutes were up. And so an early night.

28th: My last day! I went down the seafront to watch the surfers again and take some pics for this page. While at the Larco Mar Centre there, I did a questionnaire for this airline. There were a series of questions about what was most important in an air hostess, only one option was to do with how well they did their job, and another one was "good body!" I ticked the former in case there were any Northern Europeans around. And then spent a relaxing day hanging out and Xmas shopping, includign a trip to a bad part of town to get stuff for Marc. And then off to the airport to start the journey home. I made the mistake of telling the taxi driver what I did for a job and getting into a conversation about drugs, and beofre I knew it and without being asked he took me to have a look at Lima's Front Line, which I have to say I dind't think looked as rpough as ours. And then an exhausting flight home, 3 hours to Bonaire, stop to refuel, 9 hours to Masterdam, 4 hours wait, 1 hour home, and got to see the rubbish Fantastic Four twice. Bloody cold back home, but warm Erica to meet me at the airport and back to her warm house!

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