The following is the first of a series of posts chronicling a trip to Peru in 2008 with my husband and son. We went with an excellent travel company, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) and were in a tour group of about 14 people.
June 24, 2008
We arrived at 1 am local time in Lima after what seemed like an interminable flight. I think I was very restless due to anticipation, exhaustion, and not knowing exactly what time it was. It turns out that Peru is on Eastern STANDARD time, which is the same time as Central Daylight time. It is winter here so if they do observe daylight savings time, it would be during their summer (our winter).
At the airport, we were met by our OAT guide, Boris, who comes from Cusco and speaks English, Spanish and Quechua – possibly other languages, too – I don’t know. He has worked for OAT for four years. He gave us some information on the 1/2 hour minibus ride to our hotel. The weather in Lima, on the coast, is moderated by the Humboldt Current, a cold current from the Arctic. Therefore, it is cool but not cold and there is not a lot of rainfall although it is currently raining. I would say it’s about 60 degrees F right now, perhaps slightly cooler. This is normal for Lima winter.
Our hotel is the Antigua Miraflores Lima, which appears to be a converted mansion with interior courtyards, decorative pots, plants & fountain in the center, and a vague smell of oldness. It is very charming and accommodating. Dale and I have our own room with a queen sized bed. Jayme is rooming with an older man from Tennessee named Charlie.
There’s a safe in our room in a large wooden armoire that creaks when you open it. There’s a TV also, but I haven’t turned it on yet. (Later: Dale turned on the TV and found CNN in English! While he took a shower, I watched a program in Spanish which was an interview with the new president of Chile, talking about education and the economy – what I understood of it was very interesting, but it was hard to concentrate. The Chileans talk very fast!)
In our room, there’s a vague smell of urine, or perhaps just dampness. We cannot throw toilet paper into the toilet anywhere and have to use the wastebasket. This is hard to remember but I’ll get used to it – I did this for two years when I lived in Northeastern Brazil!
More interior views at the hotel:
The dampness is due to the fog rolling in off the ocean. The Humboldt Current has a moderating effect on Lima’s temperature. However, Lima doesn’t really get much rain. Although it rained this morning, more often there’s only drizzle. Charlie likened it to San Francisco’s weather, but here it’s drier – only 4” of rainfall a year in Lima! Water is therefore a problem and many people have water tanks on top of their houses to supplement their water supply.
I slept well and the nighttime temperature was quite cool – good sleeping weather to be under the covers!!
We cannot drink the tap water, although the locals can, but bottled water is provided to us, a good thing because I need to drink lots of water!
For breakfast, we can order from a menu of items – eggs, tamales, etc. I had the tamal this morning and it was OK, not great. However, also served was warm bread with homemade jam – excellent, a plate of fruit, and juice, also great. Oh yes, and coffee. The coffee was served in small open pitchers and I soon discovered why – imagine Starbucks espresso times two! They also serve a large pitcher of hot water for tea, so what I did was dilute the coffee with half water. THEN it tasted normal – and those who know my coffee habit know that I enjoy strong coffee!! Anyway, it’s better this way since I have cut way back on caffeinated coffee, doctor’s orders.
Money- a money exchanger offering a better than anywhere else rate came this morning, and I exchanged $200. The official exchange rate is 2.75 soles to the US dollar.
Next: Lima City Tour