We flew to Lima for two days. This was our last stop with Katie. After travelling in Bolivia and Peru for so long, we had forgotten what life was like in the normal world. Lima took us back to reality. I entered my first shopping mall for three months and it was heavenly. The air conditioning and flashy lights were enough to feel like I had been transported to a magical place. Lima had all the bells and whistles of a modern town, including a ridiculous number of casinos.
In Lima we stayed in the Barranco district. It was a sleepy, wealthy suburb that overlooked the beach. It didn’t take us long before we headed down to the beach to smell the fresh sea air. We had also spent the past month at altitude, so we were overcome with oxygen in our lungs. With the combination of oxygen and salty air, we practically skipped along the shoreline. It didn’t matter that the beach was full of rubbish and diseases. Even the homeless man lying on the beach eating a raw crab with his teeth didn’t faze us.
We took our last two days together fairly easy. We were all tired after the adventures of recent times and the beach encouraged us to relax. We did go over to Miraflores, the next suburb from Barranco. This was also a fairly wealthy area, but it had all the shops and restaurants. Most tourists head to Miraflores, as it is a bustling, exciting area. We walked along the streets in awe of the variety of shops and flashing lights.
One of the highlights of Lima was the food. We ate a lot in our two days there and it was all delicious. As Lima was on the coast, we were able to eat seafood again. On the first night we went to Magma, a seafood restaurant. We had the most amazing sashimi and sushi, washed down with sake. The next morning we went out for breakfast at a trendy cafe. The cafe was of Mao Bar standards in Palmerston North (the best cafe there was). That day was our last together, so we had a celebration of food that lasted the whole day. For lunch we went to another seafood restaurant (El Muelle) that was famous for its ceviche. Ceviche is similar to the Pacific Island’s raw fish dish, where the fish is left to soak in lemon juice and onions which breaks down the proteins and essentially cooks the fish.
For the last supper we went wild. We went to Astrid y Gaston, currently rated as the 14th best restaurant in the world. You have to make bookings weeks in advance to go there, but if you are early you can eat in the bar area instead. We arrived at 7pm on the dot (opening time) in the most beat-up taxi you have ever seen. Despite this, the doorman opened the door for us and we began to be treated like kings. We got a nice table in the bar area (one of only three tables), which was just as nice as a table anywhere else. We went all out, ordering a three course meal each. The meals were all superb and classily prepared. Dessert was my highlight, which consisted of a chocolate sphere with a creme brulee foam in the middle. Katie had a delicious scallop dish entree and Ben had a mouthwatering steak for a main. We were all full to the brim when they brought us out a truffle each to finish off. It was almost too much and we were dangerously close to exploding and pouring the contents of our meals all over the walls. The whole meal cost us $100NZD each, which is pretty reasonable considering how much we ate and drank. Then we waddled home, stopping at a casino on the way. It was a very enjoyable last night together.
Katie left the next morning. It was a teary early morning farewell, not knowing when we would see each other again. Then Ben and I were alone. We wandered around that day with an odd feeling like something was missing. We walked along the beach, this time without a skip in our step, and went to Miraflores again. We couldn’t think of what to do with ourselves, so we went to a bar, got a litre jug of beer each and watched Mr Bean… for hours. We stumbled home that afternoon and caught a cab to the airport. We were off to start the next chapter in our adventure and were off to Ecuador.