Managed to sleep until 7.30, so showered and headed to the correct restaurant for breakfast. There was a few of our group in there so this time I knew I was in the right place. I had to deal with a few "well you made it then"s and "didn't you fancy guinea pig today?" jokes but it was all in good spirits.
The restaurant was a Beatles tribute cafe bar. The walls were adorned with black and white photos and memorabilia. For breakfast I had a scrambled egg and bacon sandwich with pineapple juice, a coffee and some bread and jam. It was just enough and a lot nicer than guinea pig. After breakfast we packed and left for the airport.
I sat in the front of the people carrier with Steve and we chatted about the difficulties of trying to find a nice girl when you have a job that takes you all over the place. On arriving at the airport we checked in.
The airport felt like a regular international airport except it was only for domestic flights. We all sat in the departure lounge drinking coffee and waiting for our flight. The plane set off on time which is more than can be said for the British Airways flight that took me to Miami and the American Airlines flight that took me to Lima. The journey was uneventful, just chatted to Steve and Floriee sitting with side of me.
As soon as the plane doors opened I started to feel a bit funny, off balance and a little bit sick. Transfer was 30 minutes to the hotel. The guide talked about the history of the city during the journey. The weather was warm and sunny which made a real change from Lima which was quite cold.
We arrived at the hotel which uses to be owned by the local archbishop. It is a beautiful building with pastel coloured walls. Each room is a separate self contained unit with ensuite. There is a lovely well kept garden with some of the units opening on to it. We unpacked and met at reception for a little walk into the main square.
The square had buskers and street performers doing their things. I got my photo taken with 2 women in traditional Peruvian dress while I was holding a baby larma. I felt like a real tourist but then I am! It was really warm and the sun reflected off the volcano stone pavement straight under the brim of my hat making me wish I had my sunglasses with me. I saw one of the group with an ice cream. We pooh-poohed her for getting it from McDonald's then we all queued up to get one too.
I had set a pin on Google maps to mark the hotel so we just wandered up the street, in no particular direction just letting our feet decide were to go. The shops were clean and modern and it felt like Madrid. As we got further up we could tell we had left the nice tourist part and were entering the cheaper area. More locals, more car parks and cheaper shops selling mobile phone SIM cards and tat. We decided to head back to the hotel a different way.
That took most of the afternoon but we still had an hour before dinner so I watched a bit of the Olympic weight lifting on the telly and got ready for the evening. I was still feeling a bit off but I wasn't going to let it ruin my evening. I had been told the altitude sickness was indiscriminate; it doesn't matter if you are young, old, fit or not, it just gets some people. While I was walking around my room my balance completely went so I had to sit on the bed for a bit and wait for it to pass.
Steve knew I loved my steak so he had enlisted a convent tour guide friend of his to help us get a table at Zigzag's, a premier restaurant aimed at tourist who could afford something a bit more highbrow.
The only local people in there were the staff and of course Steve's friend. She was wearing a beautiful white lace design dress with a Chinese collar.
By Peruvian prices it was quite expensive but by western prices it was dirt cheap! This was fine dining. I was still feeling a bit odd so decided to take it easy. We had been told not to drink too much because of the altitude, apparently hangovers are ten times worse. I shared a bottle of cabernet sauvignon with 2 other people and drank plenty of water. Starter was asparagus and salmon followed by alpaca steak and chips. It was delicious. During the meal Andy was struck by altitude sickness, he completely changed colour and said afterwards that the room started to spin. By the sounds of things a similar experience to me only much worse.
My meal with the bottle of wine and water came to 147sol (£33) and it was worth every penny. I was quite taken with Steve's friend so I made her an origami swan from my receipt to go with her white dress. It wasn't much but I could let she liked it even though she was a little embarrassed.
The evening has come to an end so we headed back it the hotel for an early night. I'm feeling a bit better, I just hope I acclimatise soon as I want to do the cycling down the volcano excursion the day after tomorrow!
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