|Cusco's symbol, on a wall at Cusco airport|
The flight from Cusco to
Lima went smoothly. I saw more
snow-capped mountains than on my previous flights, presumably due to the time
of year. It is rugged landscape – these are the Andes, after all!
– and, with the rainy season just about to start, it was brown, brown, brown.
The roads are interesting when viewed from on high – they curl back and forth,
winding back on themselves in order to negotiate the steep terrain, the lines
scarring the landscape to create Nazca-like designs. I’m sure I saw the head of
a duck, a very stylised condor, the legs of a deer. Would aliens think the
roads were offerings to some sky-living gods, I wonder?
Sorry, I have no photos from the flight. The windows of the Peruvian Airlines plane were too scuffed and dirty to make photography possible.
airport, we caught a taxi across town to the Cruz del Sur bus station. It always feels a bit odd being back in a big city after living in Cusco.
Busy motorways, skyscrapers, huge electronic billboards all seem a little strange
at first. The drivers are even more crazy than in Cusco,
missing other cars by mere inches as if they have an in-built proximity alert
Cruz del Sur is probably the best bus company in
motto, El placer de viajar en bus
(the pleasure of travelling by bus), is accurate and well-founded. There are
two options on their buses, which are almost all double-deckers. You can choose
the cheaper, semi-reclining seats upstairs, or the almost fully reclining,
plush seats downstairs. For the 12-hour overnight journey to Chiclayo, we chose downstairs and it was
definitely worth it. You also get a hot meal (or box lunch or breakfast,
depending on what time of day you travel), pillow and blanket, and there is a
bus attendant to cater to your needs. There is also video entertainment –
tourist videos, followed by movies, but you can easily switch those off and
just snooze away the miles.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. As it was only 3pm and we had 4½ hours till our departure, we checked in our bags, had some lunch at the good bus station café, then went wandering to find
la Naciόn, Peru’s
. It’s only about five blocks from
the bus station so a good solution to kill some waiting time. National Museum
It’s a huge, cavernous building, with as much empty as exhibition space and little signage to direct the visitor but, what we saw of it, was interesting. There was a photographic exhibition honouring the negro people of
remnants of the African people brought here to work in mines and plantations by
the Spanish colonials; there was an exhibition, and sale, of contemporary
crafts and furniture; and there was a fascinating display of finds from local
archaeological excavations. Then we were kicked out!
|A replica bust from the Peru archaeology exhibit|
Although the sign at the front door said the museum was supposed to be open till 6pm, the staff herded up the few visitors and kicked us all out at 4. Perhaps they’d collectively decided to have an early finish. It was disappointing, and many Peruvians were visibly annoyed and vocal about it, but that didn’t make any difference.
|A huge Japanese-style vase in the grounds of the museum|
So, we wandered back towards the bus station, stopping at a McDonalds – Sarah first-ever visit inside a golden arches establishment – for a drink. At the bus station, we killed time watching TV and people and reading and then, before we knew it, it was time to board and settle in for the journey north.