08 May 2011

Who said Kiwis can’t fly?

My first view of South America
According to my itinerary I’ve flown 9401 miles in the last 2 days to travel from Auckland to begin my new life here in Cusco in Peru (via Santiago, Chile and then Lima).

My first impression is the cold!!! I snoozed away the late afternoon after I arrived here and now that the sun’s gone down, my hostel room is freezing. I was warned that it would be cold and, of course, this city’s at an altitude of 3,300 metres (that's 10,800 feet) above sea level so cool nights are to be expected, but I wasn’t expecting to be this cold. Mind you, my hostel room has wooden floors and very thin curtains, neither of which is helping with the heat. But I’m sitting in bed, with my lower body under the covers, and wearing a merino long-sleeve jumper, a t-shirt and a thick hoodie – with the hood on – and I’m still cold. However, I haven’t eaten much today so that’s probably not helping.

I don’t know what the time is. My phone can’t find a network connection and neither can my laptop. I’ll need to work it out ‘cause a taxi’s picking me up at 10 tomorrow morning to take me to join Jim, my new boss, and his family for lunch.

I liked the sign outside my hotel window – “clear” it was not!

Apart from those minor hiccups, all is well and at least I got here safely. The flight from Auckland to Santiago was LONG but I was physically exhausted from packing up my life in Auckland and emotionally exhausted from saying goodbye to so many wonderful people so I managed to get a bit of sleep. And I was lucky enough to have two seats to myself – not enough to lie down but good for stretching my legs out. I overnighted at the Holiday Inn, literally a two-minute walk from Santiago airport. It was foggy when I arrived and still foggy when I flew out again the next morning so I still have no idea what Santiago is like.

From Lima to Cusco, and the view out my window

It was four hours to Lima, then an hour to clear my bags through Customs and check back in again, by which time the plane was boarding for Cusco. The flight here was, not unexpectedly, over mountainous terrain with a steep final drop down into the valley where the city lies. I haven’t seen much yet, just a quick ride through the city to my hostel and the view out the window.

But now it’s time to snuggle down under the covers and catch up on some more shut-eye.