That wonderful feeling of someone rummaging within the room when you’re trying to sleep is further enhanced by small whispers in a foreign language. None other than the smoothest to the ear, like a broken chainsaw - German.
As my eyes were pried open, I uttered a somewhat able ‘hola’ to the newly found adjacent bunk-bed companions. To which one of them nicely reciprocated - “You look damaged”. Now that’s how you say “hello”!
All started with having nearly missed the flight in Buenos Aires, it was a pleasure to embark on a long-ish flight to Lima. The service was superb, food enticing, and surprising of all - metal cutlery. It also helps when the flight crew is pleasant to look at. Arrival at the hostel was post the mandatory airport-taxi haggling. Another pleasant surprise awaited; the Kokopelli hostel is situated in the Miraflores district, which for the un-initiated is one of the largest tourist traps and entertainment areas within Lima or as I refer to as cleaner version of “Sydney’s ‘Cross”. The whole place was alive with music and energy as a result of a few thousand back-packers; with fitting entertainment within an area not larger than a square kilometre.
The first stop was a pizza-sponsored dinner. Upon walking through the little street of restaurants and clubs, the abundant maître d’s from each establishment do their best to hustle you inside. Having had the pleasure of enjoying a so-called ‘pizza’ in Buenos Aires, I was hesitant to subject myself to it again, to be fair, if you want 3cm of nothing but a cheese with an oil volcano on the plate, then Argentina has the best pizza in the world. Fortunately Peru didn’t miss the memo on the preparation, and appropriate calorie level of this fine culinary specimen, and delivered on a somewhat passable pizza.
Following destination was a salsa club, about 5 doors down. Here I witnessed feats of impressive flexibility and gracefulness of middle-aged men dancing with such zeal, that it was simply a pleasure to watch. Some time has passed, during which further blood dilution occurred, which had a direct correlation with my self-confidence, and supposed ability to perform same moves. The locals were very helpful in instructing a gringo in the art of the Salsa for the duration of the stay. The bed-crash at the hostel occurred at an estimated 5am.
Meet Christoph, the transport economist and Nora, the dental explorer. Once Chris explained to me what he does, whereby he deals with a branch of economics with a mixture of civil and economy-incentive engineering, I simply wished our own CityRail employed these ‘German Efficiency Engineers’. Chris, how about you come to work in Oz? Our government needs you.
Nora on the other hand, spent the morning picking the most minute flaws in my teeth. It was a great way to incentivise me not to open my mouth for the rest of the day.
Once the ritual of breakfast was concluded, we all banded together to have lunch; so we headed into the city. Being easily impressed, I was delighted that the bus into town, didn’t have to share the same road as the rest of the horn-loving, lane-ignorant road citizens of Peru. The bus got its own, dedicated lane, separated by median strips; a simple way of guaranteeing QoS. For lunch, we had the famous raw-fish Ceviche, some ill-hydrated urine looking warm beverage that was quite sweet, and surprisingly tasty. Whilst everyone went for the safe bet, chicken + rice, I ended up having some what I later discovered not overly well cooked local octopus.
Now that we had some sustenance to go on, we proceeded to walk about town. Having decided to spend a small fortune of Peru Sol’s on some tramp stamps also known as material country flags for being vagrants in other lands, we then had a democratic discussion as to the location of each flag upon our bags, especially the USA one, perhaps I can stitch it out of sight, to the bottom.
We witnessed a holy day celebration of Our Lady of Mercy outside the local church, and officially marked it a success and concluded the day with a 1 Sol wine tasting session amidst some underwear displays.