Peru Expedition 2009 Part Ten: Lima then Home-Bound!
[It only seemed befitting to round this series off with a round number]
25th August 2009 - Transport
12:06am: the energy has died down and people are starting to fall asleep! Weaklings! ;)
In the end, only Marshall, Jo, Kagg and I were awake - and saw the all-nighter through. Jo and Kagg went off to play 'Sardines' around the hostel, Marshall paced around and I sat up against a wall to finish updating my diary. I was behind by about a week at this point.
Then, for about an hour, I sat signing Inca Kola tshirts and team sarongs (that Kagg had printed before we left), and trying to get the marker pens to work. I started Paul's one with "Hey Cuy Boy!" ("Cuy" means guinea-pig in one of the Peruvian languages (I think Quechua).
Funnily enough, I finished the last sarong on the stroke of 3a, when alarms went off - Jo failed to put a full moustache on Sophie's face - and people began to stir.
By the time taxis arrived it was half 3 in the morning and it was a fairly quick journey to the aeropuerto de Arequipa. All bags were checked in - mine was 14.6kg when we flew out, and I flew back with 14.8kg! Louise had about 4kg difference! :P
We then mooched on through security to the waiting room for the plane. A woman came round giving us gate sides to go through. Gate 3 went first (rows 1-15) and then Gate 4 went second (rows 16-30). I was row 16... damn!
The sleep then hit me as we took off and I was pretty much out as soon as we'd lift off from the runway.
We arrived in Lima, grabbed our luggage and found a spot for the group to wait while Maggie and Mr O took Ellen and Morton to the Iberia desk. Apparently Mr O had accidentally checked everyone but Ellen on to the Lima to Madrid flight and instead of checking Morton in, had checked in his sister (in Team 2) instead. In the end the two were put together a couple of rows in front of the rest of the group, who were also all checked in in seats together too!
We then went off to the Plaza Mayor of Lima. All the way there I couldn't stop nodding off and instantly snapping awake again. Sleep was basically impossible.
As we came across the bridge to the Plaza Central, we looked to our right and saw a hill with brightly coloured houses all the way up. At the Plaza, we went for breakfast to wake ourselves up.
The guide then took us off the Plaza and round the passed the Palacio del Gobierno (where the Prime Minister/President lives), to the cathedral.
The paintings, tapestries and statues were amazing but like the Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa, the art had quite a scar feel to it. Strict and formal.
We went into the crypt too where many bones had been dug up and put into different 'grave' cases according to different categories. Seeing skulls in real life was freaky.
The door came up to my midriff...! This was considered tall! You had to duck a fair amount while walking around the underground chamber. Where there spaces, excavators had refilled them with skulls in circles.
We also saw an old-fashioned library with two floors circling the edges of the room with large texts in Latin and old hymn books. I loved it!
Just before the exit there was a room with an amazing domed ceiling with criss-crossing stars patterns. It was beautiful!
Outside we got lots of stares and catcalls from some local teenage boys lining up to go in - remember we were dressed in Inca Kola shirts, stripy trousers and walking boots. :P
While some stayed to shop, a few of us went back to the Plaza to chill out. We then came across Team 3! What a coincidence! One of the teacher leaders had a fuzzy beard: hilarious!
We also watched the daily musical parade which consisted of a large marching band performing pieces while the guards did a march-march-kick (toe pointing out) routine from round the back of the building to the entrance of the Palacio, swapped over and went back. Paul wasn't pleased by their sloppiness.
Then we were taken to Miraflores for lunch where Maggie reached the end of the line with me. I didn't mind translating for the team, but Maggie wouldn't even try! I remember trying to teach her how to say the number "17" and she gave up after one attempt and made me ask for the bus tickets back in about week two. She'd said originally that she wouldn't "use me for my Spanish" and then completely ate her words!! In the leader spec it had said that the leader should have a grasp of Spanish... I would love to know what she would have done with students who hadn't learned Spanish beforehand... Incase you hadn't figured, I was so mad! I think a mixture of tiredness and sheer exhaustion had a hand in it.
We had to be back at the airport at 4:30pm so the guide took us quickly to the Parque de los Amores ("The Lover's Park) which as you may have guessed had a large statue of a couple very passionately engaging with each other. [Oh 16 year old self! xD ] We took our last group photo, watched hand gliders fly low over us, and then made our way back - stopping to pick the bags up again.
On the bus ride back to the airport, Jo managed to draw a full moustache on a sleeping Sophie. No one slept...
Without noticing, Sophie then walked into Lima airport with the moustache on. Only after the security guard had given her a funny look and she'd seen her reflection did she realise, gasp and rush into the loos, hand clenched tightly round my wrist. We arrived back just in time for us to check-in, before moving to the waiting area.
After security, we met up with the other teams and waited out the time for us to board. Team 4 had apparently got drunk the night before and were doing shots before getting on the plane...! The team leader had bought cheap vodka, whisky and aftershave in Lima that then got confiscated in Madrid haha :P
The plane was delayed by forty minutes which gave us time for one last reminiscing session, an attempt at the Hannah Montana dance one last time - to which Libby heavily objected - before boarding the plane. I slept through most of the flight and missed all three movies. Kagg couldn't sleep for the coffee she'd had with her dinner. :P
In Madrid, by the time we'd got through security, passport control etc, we had to be on the plane. I was in Spain at the same time as my sister too, who'd gone to see friends in Málaga.
We were all sat together on the last flight so we all pretended we were on a roller coaster taking off and landing.
Flying in, England looked kind of dull in comparison with Peru, but it was welcoming at the same time for sure! At passport control everyone almost said gracias.
The only problem after that was that one of the luggage cages (half the luggage of the group) had been left in Madrid! I was one of the lucky ones, but it did mean we still had to sit for two hours while the others reclaimed their luggage. The woman at the desk was apparently V.E.R.Y S.L.O.W! Sadly some people didn't even get their luggage back or, got their bag back but no contents...
[I've avoided flying with Iberia since]
I rode out on mine and Imogen's bags and we all waved regally to the people waiting on the other side.
It felt great to be back in a place where driving safety mattered...!
40 minutes later: we said some emotional goodbyes to our teams and hello to our families! I was kind of disorientated for a couple of days after - I almost missed picking up my GCSE results. But waking up at midday back home was the equivalent of waking up at 6am in my mind on the first day back...
I walked in the door and thought "urgh! What is that smell!?" *Sniffs self* "Oh! It's me!" xD
First meal back: a roast dinner! Boo ya!
It has been an amazing trip!
The experience has definitely
taught me a lot and I feel like
I've come back a different person!
Will miss you team!!! xxx
By Hannah Star