The flight last night was a long but entertaining one thanks to my neighbor, i.e. person sitting next to me in the flight. A herbologist (I never met one before) from BC, she was hilarious and kept me and everyone around us entertained, but I think others didn’t appreciate it much because they chose to sleep instead. It was interesting to note that she traveled from Vancouver to Toronto to Lima (almost double time) just because she wanted to avoid the ‘evil’ (quoting her) US customs. On a previous occasion, the US customs had opened her personal journal and started questioning her opinions on world matters. She swore never to travel there again.
The flight landed in Lima around midnight and as I stepped outside the plane, there was this whiff of stale salty humid air, something that you feel when you go to coastal cities. Being very different from the air in Toronto, I was excited at the very first moment. For some reason the noise, smells and crowds reminded me of Mumbai. “Welcome to Peru”, the signboard said. Indeed 🙂
One of the few wise things I did before coming here was to book a taxi from airport to my hostel – Home Peru. I did not want to be stranded at the airport in a risky city just after midnight, trying to navigate my way through non-English speaking public. But what compelled me to pre-book the taxi was the terrible nightmare I had 3 days back: I landed in Lima, went out on my own at 2 am, got mugged and attacked, and was left helpless. The first thing I did next morning even before brushing my teeth was to ask the hostel to send a taxi. Phew! It was a nice feeling to see someone holding a plaque with my name – I felt important 😉
The taxi driver was a young guy and rattled something in Spanish, which was mostly “Welcome to Peru.” Then he asked me –
“Español (एस्पँन्योल i.e. Spanish)?”
“No”, I said… “English?” I asked him back.
So we spent the next 30 minutes driving through Lima (लीमा), Miraflores (मीराफ्लोरेस) and other neighborhoods, but not talking to each other!
I was ushered into my hostel, shown my bed, and after wishing ‘buenos notches’ (ब्वीनोस नोचेस – Good night) to my hosts I snuggled up inside the sheets at 2 am to sweet dreams and anticipation.