A bus delay whilst traveling over the Andes isn't really something one would want to do twice. My bus (P$171/€45) left Cusco at 6pm, right on time on the 7th of March. Lots of ipod listening, looking out the window and snoozing until at about 1am in the pitch black of the mountains, the bus engine is turned off. As I'm pretty sleepy I ignore it and try and sleep some more, but awake when it's just daylight and we're still sitting there. The bus attendant explains to someone behind me that its 'Foz Rock'. I later learn she ment rockfalls, as at about 7am we finally move again, past lots of construction workers who've been up all night moving giant boulders and tonnes of stone off the road to let a huge contingent of cars pass. So don't arrive into the capital until 9pm. Get a friendly taxi driver from the bus station, through the madness of Lima traffic to my circus themed hostel in the suburban part of Miraflores.
With no real plans, on a Wednesday morning I walk along the stunning coast road into the centre of Miraflores. The contrast between here and Cusco is immense. This seems to be a modern, well off capital city, in this part of town at least. Loads of people running, playing tennis, volleyball, Skateboarding & BMXing, in the giant green flower filled park that runs along the coast. I'm hunting for a Bembos by lunchtime, a Peruvian burger chain but after much looking I do the terrible touristy crime of visiting a Burger King, only to discover Bembos a few shops down the street, when I leave there. Back in the hostel I catch up on lots of emails & try and do some band planning for teh coming days. That evening is spent on the hostels rooftop bar, with lots of the hostel staff, their friends and a few of the guests. Rose and Amy are two Aussies who are full of stories from their previous 5 months of traveling who are the life and soul of the rooftop party.
On Thursday I'm up pretty early for a 'Bike Tour of Lima' which is a 4 hour slow bike ride around the bay. I do it with a guy from New York City, William, who works in a lawyers office and a doctor, a hand surgeon from Indonesia, Troy, (who lived in Norway for 35 years) who now lives in Australia. Interesting people to spend several hours with. It demonstrates beautifully how travel makes you meet people you'd never ordinarily get to talk to. For lunch I finally get a Bembos burger and oh would I love this burger chain to spread itself, golden arch style around the world. Well worth a visit if you're looking for fast food in Lima.
Back in the hostel I relax before going out to shoot some rock music, but not before I head out with the Aussies and Chino, one of the staff, to the Magic Water Fountain Park, to watch some huge fountains, lit up at night, including a laser light/projection show. It makes me feel like I'm in a 1980's nightclub/video game.
From there it's off to a venue (called Help) packed with over 1000 people in the Baranco district. The band who take to the stage at about 1am are Los Yucks, a ska/latin/pop/rock style group of guys who are the perfect party band. Lots of stage diving, dancing, singing is done by the rather excitable crowd. Chat to the guys from Peruvian band, Emergency Blanket about teh lack of any music industry in Peru and how they are trying to slowly cange it and make a name for themselves outside the country. We're both off to Texas the next day. So I have an early night (around 3am) and grab a cab back to Miraflores. So many warnings about taxi drivers in South America and so far, all have been nothing but helpful and friendly and haven't ripped me off or overcharged me. One on the way to the club had a big conversation in Spanish with me which really stretched my spanish speaking abilities, but I did learn a few local phrases which will probably never come in handy.
So I am now writing this from my hostel bed, my last day in South America before flying to Houston Texas (via Mexico City) tonight. South America has been amazing,not at all what I imagined and there's so much more to discover and see in this part of the world.