After all the travelling over the last few days I slept in this morning and didn’t rush out. I lay in bed and booked my coach seat to Piura on the internet, had a lukewarm shower and packed my bags again before heading back to the airport to try to get some money. Unfortunately getting money without the chip working is impossible in Lima airport as is ringing the customer service line, even with the help of the Tourist Information. Eventually I used the internet connection in Starbucks to find a bank on the other side of the main road from the airport, the tourist information office warned me against it and not to trust anyone on the bridge or the other side of the road. Having tried at the bank I ended up at a travel agent where they let me use the magnetic strip on the card to buy some Soles. I returned to collect my bags from the TI office and reassure them that I was still alive. I then took a taxi to Plaza Norde where the coach station is.
I checked in my bags with the coach company and walked across to the shopping centre which is next door. Surprisingly (or not) the Plaza Norde shopping centre could be anywhere in the “developed” world if you could remove the obvious signs of Peru, the people and language. It has a book shop, several mobile phone shops and stalls, a food area, clothes shops, a supermarket and a computer shop. I did several laps and found the servicios hygienicos, bought a very cheap mobile phone and a spanish/english dictionary. It would have been better if I had bought the dictionary before buying the mobile phone but the young man at the stall had the brilliant idea of using “google translate” and we managed to complete the transaction by pushing his laptop to and fro across the counter.
I ventured up to the food court and had a meal from the most Peruvian of the shops. With my vast knowledge of spanish, ordering food involved a lot of pointing, smiling and guessing what the young lady serving me was saying. I ended up with a meal of chicken, chips and rice with a purple drink that I didn’t recognise at all, but it was nice.
I headed off to the coach station with time to spare but got turned around at the security barrier leading down to the gates as I had to first go to a kiosk to pay tax on the trip of 1.5 soles about 30p. I got down to the VIP departure area with time to relax before boarding the coach according to my watch, unfortunately my watch was hour out and I had missed the bus by 10 minutes. Another journey up to the coach office and another 90 soles got me a ticket for the later bus giving me enough time to go back to the shopping centre buy some supplies in the supermarket and sit in the VIP lounge making the most of the WiFi. At 8pm I joined the queue for the coach, put my fingerprint on the boarding list and smiled at the video camera before climbing aboard and following my bags to Piura.
On the journey out of Lima I got chance to look out at the hills surrounding the city. I haven’t been in a country like this before, I have been to Vietnam which is another “developing” country but it is green and verdant (if thats the word for covered in plants), the hills outside Lima are brown and the lower slopes have mud buildings with tin roofs. The brown hills I have seen in Spain have white buildings with tiled roofs and look developed.
The coach was very comfortable and it wasnt long before I started to nod off at the end of two long days travelling.