Today is my last day in Peru. As usual I woke up early, but this time I returned to bed after having some breakfast.
I don’t get picked up to go to the airport until 1630 and while I could have used that time to have a full day tour of the city I have instead opted to lounge around watching TV and then exploring the immediate vicinity of the hotel for a few hours. There is a shopping mall that I am going to take a walk to that looks pretty good.
All over the news is the upcoming World Cup Qualifying football match between Peru and Paraguay. Remember when the FA cup coverage would start in the morning and run all day? It’s like that, but it starts even earlier – I woke up at 0530 and they already had reporters outside the ground. I think it would almost be nice if I stayed an extra night to watch it! [Incidentally, Peru won 3-0.]
After a lazy morning of watching TV and packing my bag I headed out onto the vibrant city streets of Lima to make my way to the Lacormar shopping mall which is right by the coast. I’m not sure where the time went – it took me barely 15 minutes to reach the mall and there were hardly so many shops that I would have thought I would have spent so long looking round them, but evidently I did. I had a coffee when I got there and did a bit of people watching. Then wandered round the shops. I was tempted to get another football shirt, but having already picked up a Cienciano (Cusco) Football Club shirt, it didn’t feel right buying a shirt of their rivals. But, it did make me decide to get a Peru national football shirt when I find one (the airport shops).
I bought a book that originally I thought I would read on the way home. Death In the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa; written by a Peruvian and set in Peru it sounded like it would be a good read. I was going to get the Lost City of the Inca’s by Hiram Bingham (the guy who rediscovered Machu Picchu), but I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it as much as a novel and it seemed quite expensive. I watched surfers trying to get a decent wave whilst I had some lunch at one of the restaurants with great views of the coast and also had one eye on the live Uruguay V Bolivia football match. Before I knew it, it was time for me to head back to the hotel. It was a nice relaxing day.
It took ages to get to the airport. I’m starting to think that Lima traffic is always bad, but once there it was a very quick walk to check in and through to the departure lounge where I had plenty of time to kill. I bought myself a Peru football shirt, a few gifts and some Pisco and Pisco sour mix to share with guests. Feel really happy to be going home, but can’t even think where to begin describing it to people.
It was planes, trains and automobiles once again as I got my flight back to the UK, a train to Nottingham and my girlfriend picking me up from the station in her car.
I did get stopped at customs and my bag x-rayed. I guess coming into the UK from Peru via Amsterdam may look a little suspicious! But that didn’t really slow me down.
I had a great time: a once in a lifetime experience, but I was so glad to be home with my girlfriend and the cats. I finally got my long soak in a hot bath too.
I hope anyone reading this blog has enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed experiencing it and writing about it. Who knows where my travel plans will take me next…?