To say that Lima wasn't the greatest city that we'd been to would be an understatement. It's a dirty polluted place and not somewhere that we wanted to stay in for very long. We were staying in Miraflores (south of the centre) which is the nicer end of town, but it still wasn't that crackin'. However, Lima is the capital of Peru and it's a big place (contains nearly eight million people...to give you some idea of its size, in comparison La Paz officially contains only 1.5 million), so it's a major transport hub for Peru and beyond. We took an internal flight from here to Puerto Maldonado (internal flights are cheap, it's when you cross borders that things become expensive) for a few days in the jungle (see next update). It was also here where Shaun arrived after his epic journey back home and to Istanbul to watch Liverpool, and it was good to see him again.
For us Lima was the last point on our 30 day tour through Peru and Bolivia. Most of the people with us were finishing travelling or going back to jobs. Reality! We've certainly met some people that we'll keep in contact with though.
When we returned to Lima on June 7th after the jungle it was time for me to leave Shaun and Phil who I'd been travelling with for over four months. They were due to fly out of Quito in Ecuador on June 13th and needed to get moving north. I am leaving from Santiago and needed to head south from Lima. It was great to travel with both of them, and having not really known Phil at all before he arrived at the airport in Rio de Janeiro, I would certainly class him as an extremely good friend now. When you are with somebody all day and then sleeping in the same room at night I guess it's inevitable that you will either be friends or enemies after that length of time! I look forward to seeing them again when I get back to England. Shaun starts his law conversion in September in Nottingham and Phil is now back in England applying for maths teaching jobs in secondary schools.
From Lima it was an eighteen hour bus journey south to Tacna on the border with Chile. As I explained on the homepage, Bolivia was out of the question due to riots, protests and road blocks, so I cut my losses and changed my Bolivian cash back at an appalling exchange rate in Lima. There was talk of a military coup and I feared my Bolivianos might devalue further or worst still they might change the currency. After crossing into Chile I stayed in Arica, the most northern ciy in Chile. I was in a room with an Irish lad from Belfast called John who I'd met on the bus, he'd got the bus all the way down from Ecuador. He'd spent the previous four nights on buses! After another compulsory stop off in Calama, a desert town in northern Chile, I managed to get a ticket for a bus east, back into good old Argentina. I was fortunate to get a seat on the bus because this route was very busy due to everybody avoiding Bolivia. I left Lima on Wednesday 8th June and after several bus rides and necessary stop offs I arrived in Salta, northern Argentina, in the early hours of Monday 13th of June. A long journey, but it's good to be back in Arg!