Entry into Peru - and I'm not throwing used toilet paper in the garbage!

Lima Travel Blog

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My first Peruvian meal - sandwich and tres leches. They sell tres leches everywhere in this country!

So, here we are. A new month, a new trip!

This is also a very special blog for me as this was my first trip to South America. It was one of those trips where I didn't really have a comparison point as I didn't know what to expect, and, as everyone else who's visited Peru, I kept focusing more on my pre-trip training for Machu Pichu than anything else about the country. What added a rather unfavourable twist to the whole thing was that my passport, sent for renewal didn't show up till 2 days before the trip, so I wasn't even sure if I'd be going or not.

Anyway fast forward to Friday, 22nd November. Our American Airlines flight from Portland to DFW took off on time, and after a 3 hour transit time (thankfully didn't realise time fly because of the slow and sh*t service at the fancy pizza bistro in International Terminal D), we were on our AA flight to Lima at 5pm.

The international arrivals' lounge
The flight was mostly uneventful. Crowded, poor choice of movies and by and large stable. The flight landed on time.

Jorge Chávez International Airport was easy to navigate, but they took forever to grant us the entry permit - cheap old software that kept reloading and exception'ing out (move to Windows 8 guys! XP is so over!) that we took 15 minutes to get our permits to the country! Picked up baggage and went over to the domestic section. As I was travelling Star Peru, a low cost carrier, their counters weren't open and so the wait began. It was around 2am, filled my stomach up with a cheese sarnie and tres leches and continued to wait. There isn't enough seating area here, and is generally quite a noisy airport (aka, reminds me of Bengaluru) so I couldn't sleep much.

Spending nearly 6 hours in the night wasn't my idea of fun.

One of the many stores selling local specialities for the tourists at the airport
It was not only tiring, but without being able to check in it was awfully noisy and uncontrolled in the "main" checkin area. The Star Peru counter eventually opened around 330am - I would know as I never could get consistent sleep. And after making us wait in the queue for over 30 minutes, they finally checked us in. I liked Star Peru's system - their boarding cards look like FedEx shipping labels and not the traditional boarding pass. They also measure the total weight of the bags you're checking in, not individually. As expected, a majority of folks travelling to Cusco were tourists from the US.

The top floor of the airport was a lot more commercial and "international" - coffee shops, spacious food courts, pizza chains (yes, people ordering family size cheese pizzas at 4am!) and the standard clothes and luggage stores.

The Nativity scene - this was way too popular as I realised in the course of my trip
I did start to notice a few distinct things  about this country which I'd realise even more as the trip went along - their love and pride for alpaca wool and the Nativity scene. It was the flagship of every store, the prices seemed obscenely high but as I found out later, justified by the demand.

Sadly, another "myth" was also true - the whole tissue paper thing. Yes, you don't flush your tissue paper but you throw it in the garbage can next to the toilet! I have to admit, it really did seem disgusting to me (not to mention unhygenic seeing as it's lying there in the can until someone cleans it out).

The domestic terminal is a little too busy and 'overwhelmed' by the traffic for the kind of infrastructure it's good.

Alpaca wool
Loads of low cost private carriers have emerged the last few years causing the gates to explode with people waiting for their flights. This really didn't sit in my favour too as well after the long sleepless night.

The Star Peru flight was thankfully on time (although at that point, it really did seem long enough). I was straddling between cold, tired, bored and sleepless. "Hungry" thankfully wasn't one of them as I helped myself to scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast (with a paltry supply of tissue paper). I spent the rest of the morning taking pictures of the tiny aircraft landing on the tarmac (the airport really is tiny and very barebones) waiting for our boarding call. We had to board a bus to the incredibly tiny critter that would fly us to Cusco. I was told by most travel books to pick a window seat on the left side of the plane. Thank God I did! Around 90 people spread around 15 rows, and a nice mealbox provided by Star Peru, and we were on our way.

Goodbye Lima. Cusco, here we come!

amudha_colaco says:
and so it looks like "flushing it down the toilet" has a whole another meaning in Peru!!!
Posted on: May 07, 2016
mountaingirl says:
A great blog ... although I have not finished reading yet :) I am interested to visit Peru but not keen to join the crowd at Macchu Pichu!
Posted on: Jan 19, 2016
anupa_rk says:
Oh wow!! You made it to South America! Awesome :) I have to bookmark this blog for sometime when I will finally get to visit Peru. I see that I missed your day on the front page, so belated congratulations!
Look forward to reading the rest of this.
Hope all's well with you. Have fun!
Posted on: Jan 23, 2014
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My first Peruvian meal - sandwich …
My first Peruvian meal - sandwich…
The international arrivals lounge
The international arrivals' lounge
One of the many stores selling loc…
One of the many stores selling lo…
The Nativity scene - this was way …
The Nativity scene - this was way…
Alpaca wool
Alpaca wool
A rather plush coffee shop before …
A rather plush coffee shop before…
Magnets and tin/bottle openers...w…
Magnets and tin/bottle openers...…
LANs domestic operations
LAN's domestic operations
Tons of low cost carriers have tak…
Tons of low cost carriers have ta…
Our Star Peru flight to Cusco
Our Star Peru flight to Cusco
The take-off. Pretty quiet (read, …
The take-off. Pretty quiet (read,…
Lima International airport - home …
Lima International airport - home…
Goodbye Lima (for now)
Goodbye Lima (for now)
photo by: rsvpme