[Wednesday 11 February 2015]
20:05[i]–06:05 (08:05UTC) Heathrow-São Paulo (12 hours) (JJ8085)
At São Paulo, there was a security check, then we found ourselves at the boarding gate.
Janet went and got drinks from a counter, paying with her debit card. Neither of us was feeling 100% well —
Janet was still getting over her faint, and I still had the hacking cough — so conversation with the garrulous little man born in Burma and latterly residing in St. Annes was not exactly a welcome diversion. Hearing me cough repeatedly, he insisted that I was a smoker, and nothing that we said could dissuade him from this view. “Oh, bugger off, you stupid, fatuous little bastard!” I thought. When we boarded, we were either side of the right aisle; I was in the right seat of three, and
Janet was in the left seat of two. The Tarjeta Andina de Migración was handed out, for which I was prepared, having a specimen form already completed; and another form, completely in Spanish, for which I was unprepared. When I heard the older, white-haired Welsh lady to my left mispronounce “Casa Andina” as “Casa Andrina” to someone in the seat behind her, I guessed that she was also in the
Mercury Holidays party. I was able to help her complete the Tarjeta. The other form, which appeared to be about what valuables if any we were bringing into Perú, needed advice from one of the cabin crew for me to complete it.
Looking at the map on the screen in front of me, I saw that we entered
Peruvian airspace over Lake Titicaca ca.9.10am local time. On arrival at Lima Airport, we went first to Immigration, where the clerk tore off and kept the top part of the
Tarjeta, and stamped the “Sello de Entrada” box on the bottom part and the passport, and returned them to me. She asked me where I was planning to visit in Perú, and I had the impression that she was just making conversation, not gathering required information. She didn’t want the second form; that was apparently for Customs. Thence to Baggage Claim; then all the luggage had to be scanned at the Customs location, where also the second form was taken off me. A tall guy called Andreas was there to meet us in the entrance hall. He spoke good English, and when I hesitated whether to say “toilet” or “bathroom” he finished the sentence for me with the British word “loo”. When we were all gathered he led us a fair distance to the parking lot where the coach was waiting. It was very warm outside — most welcome! The journey to the hotel in the district of Miraflores took some 45 minutes, during which we got our first sight of the Pacific Ocean (perhaps not the first, because I seem to remember seeing it from the aircraft), as we went along the coast road with bare cliffs to our left. After the cliff turned more green (“Costa Verde”) we went up to the level of the city and passed tall, modern buildings till we arrived at the hotel. This wasn’t the “Casa Andina Classic Centro”; it was the “Allpa Hotel”. That didn’t surprise me: when I’d looked up “Casa Andina Classic Centro” a few days ago on the internet, I’d found that booking was unavailable due to refurbishment. After the formalities of handing over passports and signing a registration form were completed, we were issued with a little paper wallet containing our room key-card, and were waiting in turn for the lift. “We went to our room,”
Janet wrote, “then crashed on the bed for just over an hour. [John’s] cough just will not go and he wasn’t feeling very well either. After that we roused ourselves and went to a local supermarket.” It seemed a long walk — five blocks, in fact — to the very comprehensively stocked
Vivanda supermarket, where we bought food and drink items to consume back at the hotel.
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