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Added: July 14, 2010

Tags: Peru RTW SouthAmerica info
I don't have any photos from Lima, because everybody said Lima is unsafe and it is better not to attract attention. I decided that 1.5kg camera setup might attract some attention of potential muggers so I left everything packed. Zuzka took some photos, but she is not here right now. Next week, when she returns, I might add one or two just to provide thumbnail for this post.

Leaving Cuzco

We are getting up early on 17th of February. At 4:00. Our taxi to airport is scheduled at 4:50. It cost 15 Sol, while one we used 2 days ago (slightly shorter distance) was only 3 Sol. That might be difference between legal and no-so-much-legal taxi or it was due to early hour.

Airport was still sleeping, it seemed there were only 2 or 3 employees in whole building. We needed to wait about one hour until our flight started to be processed. And we came "standard" 2 hours ahead...

Flight to Lima was really quick. Only about 1 hour. Comparing that with 24h bus ride is seems it was too short. I was looking forward for wonderful scenery below us, unfortunately everything was below thick layer of clouds and only occasional summit of Andean mountain peeked through them. Still it was nice view...

Getting money in Lima

Due to security issues with Lima we decided to spend there less than one day. Just quick trip from airport to centre and then back to airport before getting dark. We are flying to Buenos Aires shortly after midnight.

We stashed all luggage in left luggage at the airport and I took only my credit card well hidden in pocket and remaining money we had. Somehow we missed opportunity to use ATM at arrival and we could not return due to security.

Our first stop was at museum Larco. It was very nice, showing artefacts from ancient Peru.

Taxi and entry fee drained all our remaining cash, we were left only with enough to buy something to drink. We had to walk to find some ATM, but it was not as easy as we thought. The first one was at nice market, but it did not work with my card. Pity, I wanted to buy some fruit, they had very good selection. Also following ATM was not useful. Only later we found working one. But it was too far from that market to return there. So we went ahead and we found a supermarket. It was more than 2km from the museum. We ate something and mostly cooled down in its air conditioning before we continued to centre.

Fellowship of dumb

We decided to continue walking. We were not so far from centre, we thought. And we misread a printed map from google - we though Lima has a subway. We came to Estacion Espana just to learn there is no subway there. But the guy we asked which way to go pointed to other one and we somehow understood he is going to centre.

He decided to go with us. Our Spanish did not help us to understand what he really was up to, but he seemed quite friendly. We went with him, not being sure he is really going to walk with us nearly 1.5km for free or we missed a point and he is some kind of guide. But we went in general direction I would go without being led, so I felt quite sure we are going to centre.

He talked a lot. Not in a way a guide would, I was sure about, but just like he was hoping we understand him. Then he started to ask questions. That was really funny part. He asked something and we started to process incoming sound. After a short while we replied, satisfied how well we coped, but a confusion from our faces just transfered to his face :-) Oh, oh, that apparently was not an answer to his question. Let's try to analyse it a bit more. With his help we always got to understand his question and with more effort he understood our answer.

After some time I started to hatch a plan regarding how we are going to get rid of him. We should be rather close to Plaza San Martin and we could ask somebody else, somebody "without history". But it was not necessary. He suddenly stopped, told us this was Plaza San Martin, this street is X and that one leads to Y. We walked 200m more than he shook our hands and left. Thank you again I am sorry I don't know your name and I am sorry for doubting you.

Centre of Lima

So we are in centre, now just blend in and don't look rich. The former was pretty hard, but the latter much easier. Any time Zuzka pulled her point&shoot camera from its hiding place - a role of toilet paper - I just watched surroundings and tried to detect any potential muggers. I must have done that in scary way, because nobody have tried to attack us :-)

After some confusion why my printed map and compass don't match with actual street names we got oriented and could start looking around centre. There are nice churches nearly everywhere. We also visited Museo Banco Central de Reserva del PerĂº to see some golden artefacts.

Zuzka took some photos of presidential palace (waste of electrons with light we got IMHO). Then we visited Convento de San Francisco and its catacombs. It was very interesting also the church was very nice, but a guide was the worst I have ever been with. He spoke slowly and moved lazily, he even told us: "go look there and return back".

View of Lima from Zuzka.

Back to airport

It was evening, we decided it is time to go back to airport. Surprisingly many cab drivers we stopped refused to go to airport. They either did not want to pay some tax or they were just afraid of traffic jam we hit. It took us probably twice as much time to get to airport than it took us in morning.

I always wanted to provide practical information in this blog and I failed many times. But I have something now. At most South American airports they collect departure tax. We did not pay anywhere apart from small fee in Cuzco and $31 in Lima. It seems all other airports were handled by our Round the World ticket from oneworld alliance.