Leaving Huaraz with a group of 7, we collectively decided to spring for the first class seats on our night bus. South American buses generally exceed American bus quality, but the “coach” class is typically on the second level, with first class below. First class is an experience in its own right. There are only 12 seats on that level, so you and your 6 friends can be as loud and obnoxious as you want and rest assured you’re only ruining 6 people’s journey rather than the three times that much upstairs. Moreover, the seats are literal Barcaloungers, massive leather armchairs definitely fit for this queen. They serve you food that’s completely inedible but it’s the thought that counts (and as a backpacker, being treated like a human being by anyone in the service industry in Peru is such a pleasant surprise), and the movie they blast until your ears bleed is only two and a half hours long. Overall: A+.
We had all heard horrible things about Lima from others: that there was nothing to do there, it was unsafe in certain points, it was ugly, etc, etc. Because our expectations were so low, Lima definitely exceeded them by a large margin. This made sense to me because as a teacher, I always told my students I had no expectations of their success whatsoever, so that when they didn’t fail miserably it was a win for everyone! (Joking. That was a joke. I didn’t do that. The only ones who failed my class were the ones who couldn’t pay enough).
Our hostel was in the Miraflores neighborhood in Lima, which is gorgeous. Getting out of the cab, I ran and hugged the Dunkin Donuts and Nick and our friend Dale ran and hugged the McDonalds (until a certifiably insane individual literally started to touching Nick’s toes and laughing, so they ran across the street and hugged the Burger King). Everyone was happy.
Fully caffeinated and full of fast food, we all ran some errands that we’d been meaning to cross off our list for a while. The most important was securing Peruvian soccer jerseys for everyone in anticipation of the Peru-New Zealand world cup qualifying match that evening.
Since the match offered Peru its first chance ever to head to the World Cup, the main public park right across the street from our hostel was showing the game on large screens. Watching the game that way, with thousands of Peruvians screaming for 90 minutes without taking a break to breathe, was its own highlight. The game was a 0-0 tie, but the experience was worth it.
After the match, this introvert made his way to Lima’s finest trashy gay club and danced until 5 in the morning. (Gays visiting Lima, get at me, I got recs.)
Honestly, the rest of the weekend we were in Lima was incredibly chill, full of discovering great restaurants, walking to the waterfront, and enjoying the company of our fellow travelers. Once the weekend was over, it was back to the Barcaloungers and on to Southern Peru!