Well, I made it! I arrived below the equator in one piece and minus Enrique! (more on that later..) I've finally found a few spare minutes and some energy to sit down and update the blog. The last few days have been an assault on my body and senses, and I slept like a stone last night finally.
Leaving home was harder than I thought it was going to be. I choked up when I had to say goodbye to my family, as the reality hit me that I might now see them again for a vry long time. As I drove to the airport in the dark and fog of the morning, I had some difficulty working up ANY enthusiasm about what I was doing. \\\
But that didnt last long... :-)
I slept for most of the 7 hr flight to NY, in an effort to charge the batteries for what was ahead. Getting through anything in the States is pretty effortless - everything is signposted, and people, for the most part, want to help.
Arrived at my hostel, Jazz on the Town at about 3 in the afternoon. The website described it as "cosy"...hmmm. It was very cramped, sharing a tiny room with 3 others (although I didnt mind - I met some cool ppl there). The hostel has no communal area which is a big drawback and its very very small. One thing I did like was that the rooms are ensuite. \
Anyway, headed straight out to explore mid-town, armed with Anne's subway map (THANKS ANNE! Proved to be invaluable to someone with limited time!) Managed to see Empire State, Rockerfeller Centre,m Radio city, Grand Central, Chrysler Building and Times Sq all in the first night. Popped into an IRish Bar called O'Quilligans just off Times Sq in the hope of meeting some other backpackers. Ended up chatting to the barman, who, of course, was IRish and it turned out that his Dad does business with my uncle! Small world. He couldnt do enough for me after that! A good first night in the Big Apple.
The seond day, I got up early and walked downtime. The weather was bright, sunny and COLD! As I walked along the water's edge towards battery park, I couldnt stop smiling. The realisation that I was finally "doing it" sank in! Visited Ground Zero, World Financial Centre, queued for AGES to get on a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, saw Wall St., Trinity and St. Pauls Churches, Brooklyn Bridge, Bleecker St., Washington Sq. Gdn and lots of other stuff. Spent the evening back in the mid-town area. When I got back to the hostel, some new ppl had moved into the room, so chatted to them for a bit before crashing out exhausted.
Final day in NY - I went to the Met and walked all around Central Park. Checked out the shops uptown and had to fight really hard to keep my credit card in my pocket! Later that afternoon, made my way back to JKF forthe 8 hr flight to Lima.
Was looking fwd to just getting some rest on the flight, but ended up sitting beside this overly-friendly Peruvian guy, ENRIQUE, who just wouldnt shut up. At first, I think he was just trying to be nice, but then he became a real pest, and when we landed he started following me around the terminal, and suggesting that I stay at his "friend's hotel"..where, naturally he was also staying! He even wanted toi tell the driver who was picking me up at the airport that I was going with him instead. YIKES!!! I managed to give him the slip by going to the bathroom and then legged it to the arrivals hall where,, thankfully, the driver was waiting!!
Lima is crzy! No traffic laws, by the looks of it. I'm in the Miraflores area, which seems safe enough, but have been warned by shopkeepers, etc not to venture further afield unaccompanied. I've booked a tour for today downtown, which hopefully will help me to get to know Lima a little better. The hostel isnt bad - overdescribed on the net, of course, but the staff are helpful and its relatively clean, so I'm not complaining.
Not having the langauge is a drawback but I'm getting by. Tomorrow I hope to go to Nazca where I'm going to stay in a hotel which operates flights over the Nazca lines.
So, that's about all for now. It's great having free internet here = makes a change to $1 for 10 mins in NY!