Approaching Lima it occurs to me that my friend & host Mev has all my travel arrangements for the next week, including the reservation for tonight's hotel. All I have is a name; I have no idea where it is. Mev offered to have me at her house, but as we're flying out again early for Cuzco and it'll be 3am Paris time by the time I get through customs and all, I figured all I'd want to do is crash anyway. I'm not very sociable when I'm that tired.
My bag is among the last to appear on the carrousel, and when I finally - nearly 2 hours after deplaning - get to the main hall, the others in our group have all been herded together by Mev and her mom. I didn"t know we would be so many! There aren't many flights from western Europe, so it makes sense the seven of us were all on the same one. All the others are staying at the apparently gigantic Dominguez house and now I fell awkward not to do the same.
I regret the choice even more when I see my sad hotel, but it's too late now. It's a little place in a poor-ish neighborhood just next to the airport. For $60 I expected more, like a shower I'd be happy to shower in, and fewer holes in the tiles or gaps in the paint on the walls. Still, it's fairly clean (just old & rundown), reasonably safe and the bed is perfectly comfortable and that's what matters most.
|The view from my room.|
In the morning I have time to walk around the park across the street before Michel comes for me at 7:30. Everything reminds me of Algeria and Marrakech, from the tile & linoleum in the rooms to the unfinished upper floors of the buildings, the flat roofs with laundry strung out to dry, the debris in the streets, to the stray (but not threatening) dogs wandering about. Just change the minarets for churches and take out 90% of the satellite dishes, and you have Lima.
|The park across the street|
Michel is late, and Oscar the hotelman takes an interest in me. At first it's nice to chat - as we can with my nonexistent Spanish and his lack of English - and it's friendly of him to offer to arrange my transportation to the airport. But with time he to starts seriously hit on me: how beautiful I am, my lovely eyes, how long am I staying in Lima, can he see me... He loves me so, I may stay for free here if I would just come back! When I pretend to have a boyfriend he backs off a little and it's a relief to see Michel's car turn the corner.