We are now in Cusco and well acclimatised to the altitude at 3300 metres above sea level. We were ready to leave Lima, there wasn’t much to hold interest. On the final night we got a bit more adventurous taking a local bus to the magic fountains.
The buses look like mini vans with wheels and the crawl along the road whilst the driver shouts the destination to attract more passengers. The buses are chaotic, 1980’s Anglo/American music competes with the drivers screams as an assistant leans out of the side door also shouting widly “Arequipa, Arequipa, Arequipa!!” . We drove out to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and back to Tiffany’s “Into the Night”. Sadly, on the way back we witnessed a purse snatch that left a sour taste in our mouths. On reflection, the criminals act was a work of art. The bus had pulled over and the side door opened, the thief got on and with some force snatched the phone of a woman sitting two rows further along. I would estimate that the snatcher’s act took no more than three seconds and then he stole off, perhaps in tribute to Tiffany, into the night. It was a sobering reminder of the need to take care over here – as I say, we were glad to leave Lima.
The next day we flew from Lima’s Jorge Chavez Airport to Cusco. On the way to the runway the pilot spoke in simple English, explaining that he had seen “a light”. We had to return to the stand confirming my worst suspicion that the light indicated a technical fault rather than an apparition. In a similar way to the phone snatching incident nobody seemed particularly bothered but I, for sure was a bit apprehensive. We were delayed an hour but I’m glad to say that eventually the plane got us to Cusco. On leaving Lima, almost straight away we could see the Andean Mountain range which accompanied us all the way. The views were spectacular, the endless baron mountain range stretching out for mile after mile, the peaks of the mountains standing proudly in the midday sun. The landing at Cusco was a roller coaster of “proper” flying. First a fly past of the airport below then a steep 180 degree bank to line up, all whilst the plane throttled and lost height.
After arriving at our hostel we met the G-Adventures team and our “family” of other other travellers. We had booked the G-Adventures Inca Discovery package which involved a three night, four day trek up the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It really was the experience of a lifetime and of course it deserves a post of its own.