I had quite a hard time telling everyone I’m going to Peru. My parents were freaking out that it was dangerous and everyone got either jealous or really worried about me. I did not pay any attention to them and proceeded planning my trips. It was my first trip to South America and when they were all so concerned, I have to admit it got me a little worried too…
Well, the important thing is that I have a Peruvian friend who lives in Spain but went to Peru for Christmas. We were planning our trip from the time I was leaving Spain. Our goodbye was ‘See you in Perú’ so I had nothing to worry about because I was staying at her parent’s house in Lima.
Arriving to the Airport
It was one in the morning local time when I finally arrived to Lima International Airport. After 6 hours spent on a flight from Atlanta and about 14 hours on previous flights and airports I was quite exhausted as I had 7AM my time. I went through the immigration process which was surprisingly quick and I picked up my bag and waited for custom control. I was surprised about a pile of sneakers there – apparently, you can only bring one pair of sports shoes to Peru. Lucky for me, I had just one pair.
There was a free Wi-Fi there but just for ten minutes, still, it was enough time to let my friend know that I already landed and there was a really long line at customs. After twenty minutes or so I was finally free to go. My friend Rocio and her brother, cousin and brother in law were waiting to pick me up.
The outside temperature was very nice 20 degrees Celsius (around 70 Fahrenheit) and it felt soo good compared to my country, where there was winter.
The Way to Their House
Usually, travelers take a taxi all the way to Miraflores or Barranco which are known as touristic and safe districts. We were heading to a district called Lince. It has a perfect location as it is between the center of Lima and the two touristic districts. We took a main road to get there and it was dark and unfriendly, there were no people in the streets, and not all the street lights were working.
After 20-30 minutes, when we got to their street, everything was completely dark, the street light and, in fact, the whole block of my friend’s house was cut off electricity. So my arrival was very dark, and, it got me a little worried… what if everyone was right!
Well, they got me my own candle and a torch, I had my headlight so me, and my friend had a nice romantic light in the room where there were our beds ready to just pass out in them. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like sleeping, neither did my friend so we stayed up for another hour or so, chatting as we didn’t see each other for at least half a year. Rocio’s brother brought us a glass of ‘chicha morada’ which is a traditional non-alcoholic drink made of corn. It is sweet and although it is not made of fruit it seems fruity and fresh. Well, after such a long trip, I was in the mood for something ‘spicier’. I was thirsty, but being early morning hours, nothing was open. Then it hit me, we’re in Peru, they sure have a bottle of pisco! We mixed pisco with chicha and made a delicious drink that was exactly what we needed to fall asleep.
This day I had the pleasure of meeting Rocio’s whole family living in the apartment. Her brother, brother in law and cousin, who I met previous night, her sister, her baby nephew and her parents. They were all really nice to me! They welcomed me to the family and they took such a good care of me. Her dad was always such a gentleman and her sister and the little nephew, they were so cute and happy. Her mother made us breakfast, some fruits with yoghurt. She was always concerned if we ate something and if we’re not hungry. A good breakfast and some coca tea was needed – we had a long day ahead of us.
We started planning our trip around Peru so we had to book a few bus tickets, Machu Picchu entrance tickets and make hostel reservations. It took some time, some declined card operations, some mistakes and a little bit of our sanity but at the end our reservations were almost ready. We only had to go to the bank and pay it (which I haven’t done for quite a long time) and it was my first time walking in the streets.
With the sun up, everything looked so much better, lighter and friendlier than the day before. There was a lot of people in the streets, we were passing by stands selling all kinds of food and refreshments and everything looked and smelled so delicious. First thing I noticed were ‘anticuchos’ – slices of beef heart in a special chili marinade put on a stick. My friend told me it was not too safe to eat in the streets because it is not clean and you could get sick. I didn’t want to take that risk (especially with all that traveling ahead of us) so I had to wait a couple days to fully enjoy this tasty treat.
The trip to the bank was quite a walk, we took a really long loop and walked in big circles around some areas. I am used to finding the way on google maps and then just go, but here you have to be familiar with the neighborhood to know where NOT to go. It takes some time, but you get used to it.
Just remember that in Lima, you find your way on google maps, then you ask someone if the neighborhood is safe… and then you take a taxi.