Peru 15: Day 1 – Arriving at the hostel

Man, I was feeling so groggy when we arrived at the airport in Lima, and I could see that Cara was too. It was 5:30am when we landed and we needed to figure out what to do. We needed to know whether the hostel in Miraflores would allow us to leave our luggage there while we waited until 1pm for the check in.

So, we tried using the airport wifi to research things, like which taxi to take and how much it should cost. Stupidly though, the airport only provides 10 minutes of free wifi, PLUS you have to sign up and activate your account in your email. I never actually got to activate my account because I couldn’t do it without connecting to the Internet first, and I couldn’t do that because I hadn’t activated my account in my email. Ridiculous. Somehow, the wifi worked anyway so I didn’t complain too much.
According to our research, the company Taxi Green is an officially licensed taxi company so we decided to look for them. There are a lot of unofficial taxi drivers, although their prices may be cheaper, the safety of these taxis can and should be questioned.
In a foreign land where you don’t speak the language, it can be quite difficult to get around. Cara needed money from the ATM machines but the instructions were all in Spanish and we didn’t want to risk having a huge fee to draw out money, so I went to good ol’ McDonald’s to buy some OJ with US dollars so that I could receive some change in Peruvian soles.
As we walked around wondering where to go and what to do, a man approached us, claiming to be an official driver from Taxi Green. He probably was since his car was inside the airport, but it didn’t stop him from being a dick. I remember him saying that it would be about 45 something to get to Miraflores but I wasn’t really listening because I needed time to figure things out. Cara wanted to just accept his offer though, telling me that we’re not gonna have a better deal. After some intense staring at each other, I just said whatever and agreed to have him be our driver. I was annoyed, not gonna lie. We hadn’t even planned where to go yet but honestly I was too tired to argue to I just went along with it. The driver tried to make small talk with us, which I ignored mostly and let Cara do all the talking.
We eventually got outside the airport and into a taxi that was just waiting in the middle of the road. He introduced someone who he claimed to be his son and then opened the doors for us to get in, not until after I put my suitcase in the trunk. First thing I noticed was that I didn’t have the female part of the seatbelt, the part with the release mechanism. Cara had both parts to the seatbelt so I asked her why she wasn’t putting her’s on and she mouthed ‘it doesn’t work’ so I was like what the heck.
The driver drove us out of the airport and once he got stuck in traffic, he told us about the prices and asked for 130 soles. That pissed me off because I knew then that we got scammed. He showed us his little card thing that said $45. I should have listened to make sure so it was my fault, but Cara thought he meant 45 soles which would be the average price for a taxi ride to Miraflores. I could see that she felt bad though so I told her it wasn’t her fault, and it wasn’t. I was more experienced in this kinda stuff (happens all the time in China) so I should have seen it coming. I should have used more effort to decline his offers back in the airport, but in the end, we managed to haggle the cost down to 70 soles, which is around $21 or £14.
We got to Condor’s at around 6:30am I reckon. It was cold and I felt like shit but we rang the doorbell and a nice Peruvian lady let us in. We asked if check in was too early (it’s supposed to be at 1pm) and she said yeah, so I asked if we could just leave our stuff here and she was more than happy to make some space for us to do that.
After leaving our stuff there, Cara and I decided to check out the surrounding area but it was quite chilly and we weren’t really in the mood for anything. We found a bench and sat down. Cara seemed kinda down. I hadn’t seen her smile in a while so I tried to comfort her by telling her that I’d look after her but I don’t know if that worked. I figured she was out of the country for the first time and in a sort of rough place and was feeling a bit anxious.
We eventually went back to the hostel and just chilled on the couch. I was so tired, I accidentally fell asleep. When I awoke, I thought it’d be interesting to socialise with other guests at the hostel. I walked into the garden and there was a guy playing the guitar so I chatted to him. He’s a Colombian man called Camillo and he didn’t speak much English so we had to converse through Google translate. Cara joined us after a bit. Then this German guy called Nico sat nearby and joined us too. He was an interesting character. He’d been travelling the world, doing odd jobs to get money to survive and he had many interesting stories to share.
I think it was around then that the reception lady told us that our beds were ready and that we could check in. My memory is a little hazy as I’m writing this two days after this has happened, but I think we went to look for a bank afterwards so that Cara could draw out some money. I’d asked a guy (who I have never seen since actually) which bank he used to draw out money and he said Scotiabank and gave me directions. We found the bank and attempted to use the ATM, but for some reason it kept rejecting Cara’s card so we had to go inside to talk to a person. The queue was impossible to figure out. There was seemingly no order to anything but we eventually got to talk to the lady who checked over everything and told us to wait for 5 minutes. So we waited. And waited. And waited. During this time, a Peruvian lady who sat next to Cara asked her about the numbers on the tickets. The tickets are needed to speak to someone. When the lady, called Claudia, realised we couldn’t speak Spanish, she started talking in English and we struck up a good conversation, not that I remember any of it though. Blame my rubbish memory. When Cara finally got called up again, I continued chatting with Claudia. She asked for my name again and opened up a new contact page on her phone and I realised she was asking for my phone number, so I gave it to her. Then she asked for my Facebook and Cara’s one so I helped her add those too. Ah, also, she asked about two times what our plans were for lunch so I’m pretty are she wanted to eat with us but I was really tired so nothing came out of that.
We said goodbye to Claudia once Cara had gotten her money. We were going to go to the supermarket to exchange some money but Cara seemed really tired so I told her to go back first but she insisted on coming with me. I said it was okay but she suggested that we can go together after we rest so I was like alrighty then. I ended up sleeping for 5 hours straight. Not long after, Aaron arrived at the hostel. It was around half 7 then. It was really good to see him since the last time we saw each other was months ago. I showed him his bed, and while doing that, I ran into a new roomie, Hana. She was so friendly and chilled. We got talking I found out she’d done some ayahuasca ceremonies. She talked about her experiences and what she learnt and I found it all so interesting. Little did I know, she’d eventually play a large role in my outlook of life.
After, we all (Cara, Aaron and I) headed out to get some food.
We walked towards a beach where we found a small cafe with an observatory platform on the roof. I ordered a beef burger and it tasted amazing! It was so good. The view was quite brilliant too. Apart from the huge waves, I enjoyed the scenery.
After dinner, we went back to the hostel, planned out next day and went to bed. I slept a lot that day.
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