Adventures in...

Peru: Part Five.

Coming into Lima's international airport you fly over a sprawling shanty town. There is a clear divide between the rich and poor in this country. I'll tell you it isn't the rich people sitting in those slot machine casinos I'd eventually see everywhere in Lima. Or the children who harassed us trying to sell us gum all night while we sat at the bar. It is a depressing fact you see pretty much almost everywhere across the world.

I collect my luggage and as soon as I'm through the Arrivals gate I'm surrounded by taxi drivers. It has been suggested by co-workers to take the Green Taxi's because they are the most reliable, cleanest cars, and generally honest. As I'm shown to a decent looking Merc by my driver I'm still being harassed and pulled by other drivers from other companies. I guess driving a fat white guy around is big business. The driver makes small talk and plays Spanish pop music while he fights traffic so thick and confusing it would make me crack. I reply as well as I can and just stare out the window at this alien city.

It seems like the Grand Road Works of Peru is women sweeping the sand off the roads. I first noticed it when I arrived in Iquitos in Alfred's moto-taxi and my wandering around the hotel area. It seems now that I'm in Lima these ladies get uniforms and special corn brooms unlike the seemingly isolated people of Lima.

I check into my hotel. I take a shower. I call the company's office in Lima. I meet up with another co-worker and go to the office. We small talk. I do a few things. I make my way back towards the hotel. I explore three blocks around the hotel and realize I haven't eaten since my plane ride from Toronto to Lima just drank beers, water, and Coke.

The hotel restaurant is on the floor above my room. It has a pretty decent view of this area of the city. I order a Coke, some mozzarella sticks and guacamole, and the most amazing veggie sandwich I've ever had in my life. I'm the only person in the restaurant. So I'm the only person who is forced to succumb to the eccentric staff and more terrible Spanish pop.

I explore the neighbourhood a little more but eventually come back to my room to take a nap. When I wake up I turn on the BBC because it seems to be the only channel in English. I'm not complaining it was exactly what I needed to watch. Unaware of what was going on in the world apart from the pictures in the Lima newspaper in my room. Eventually I repack my bags while watching 'Borat' which is in English and call for a taxi to the airport.

This taxi cab driver is fair bit more talkative than my last cab driver. I humour him and he plays english music from the 60's mixed with the crappy pop of the mid 90's. I finally make it to the airport after hearing his life story and him telling me I'm getting to old to be a bachelor. That I should really get married and have children. He seems displeased when I say I don't really want to do those things.

Once checked in, paying a ridiculous airport fee of $30, and going through security. I settle into a seat near my gate. Talk to some Canadian backpackers (one who will be on every one of my flights back to Victoria because she is from Nanaimo). Look at Duty Free and board the plane.

I sit in the emergency exit row back to Toronto and all the stewardesses know me from my trip down two days earlier. They are amazed at my turn around and bring me all sorts of treats throughout the flight just because.

I eventually fall asleep for about 15 minutes somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico. This is the life.