Location: Little old Adelaide, Australia
Well, here I am, sitting in little (c)old Adelaide, and after having a look at Kim's site, I decided that it would probably be a good idea to make one last entry here. After all, when I left off, I was (in fact both Kim and I were) crankily waiting in Auckland airport after Aerolineas had failed to notify us that there was going to be a delay on our flight.
So, after catching up on some emails, making the most of the free internet service, and then ringing a helpful airline and making sure we could change our seats to a later flight to Adelaide, we skipped through immigration, and spent the rest of the day in the airport lounges.
As you can imagine, there's really not a lot to do... eat, have a wander through the duty free shops, eat more, lay down on the un-comfy seats, eat more, and watch some TV, well, to be correct, watch World Cup Soccer, in fact, watch the same game twice in a row.... Now I don't mind a bit of football, but when the game finished and the French Open tennis final came on, I was happy - until the bloody barman went and changed the channel to a replay of the match that we had JUST finished watching.
We really were a captive audience though, and it seemed that every TV in the terminal was determined to show every possible minute of soccer footage available, so Kim & I just stayed in our lovely (little more comfy) window seats in the bar area , watching and waiting in hope of an Aerolineas jet arriving.
Our rescheduled flight was supposed to depart at 2.20pm, but actually depart on time??? NO, we couldn't have been so lucky. There was a mammoth f--k up with the seating allocations - my seat was already allocated, and Kim & I ended up making it onto the plane with our new seat allocations scribbled onto the back of our original boarding passes! Without the very helpful Air NZ staff, who even had to come on and do a head count to make sure all passengers were aboard, I'm not sure we would have ever taken off.
Speaking of taking off - I'm sure a bit of putty and tender loving care wouldn't have done the plane any harm. We had a TV attached to the ceiling just behind our seats, and it rattled so much - not only during take off, that I was living in fear of it collapsing on my head for the whole 3 1/2 hours to Sydney!
I have to say that I was very glad when the plane touched down in Sydney. Kim & I didn't waste any time getting off and getting through Immigration and Customs. Once out, we jumped onto a shuttle bus, and hurtled across to the domestic terminal, determined to to check onto our flight to Adelaide - it was the last flight for the night...
That done, and with plenty of time I might add, we had enough time to have a wander through the terminal, get a drink, ring home to let everyone know that we would be on the flight, and buy a box of Krispy Kremes (to ensure that someone would actually agree to take me home from the airport!), before boarding the plane.
So, after our mighty big adventure and one last little flight, we arrived back in Adelaide at 8.30pm... The end of a very, very, very long day!
Location: Auckland International Airport, New Zealand
Well, this is where all the well laid plans go to waste. We arrived at the airport at 4am this morning, only to discover that our flight to Sydney has been delayed until 2pm this afternoon. Aerolineas Shitteas claims that they had no contact number, so weren't able to ring and advise us. I find that a little difficult to believe, but there's nothing we can do about it now. It does mean that we have roughly 8 hours to kill in the airport before our flight, and then we have to hope that we can get on another flight to Adelaide tonight. They didn't say why the flight had been delayed, and we have decided that it's best if we don't know!
The airline has given us one $10 voucher for refreshments - big of them huh!!! One voucher for 8 hours in an international airport won't go too far I wouldn't imagine, but guess it's slightly better than nothing. It's so frustrating to have come this far, only to be delayed again...
Will make the most of the time to contact the airlines ourselves and see if we can get onto a later flight into Adelaide tonight. Fingers crossed - I'm certainly not waiting till we arrive in Sydney to sort it out, as the airline folk have suggested.
Hopefully we'll arrive home in Adelaide some time tonight!!!
Location: Rotorua, New Zealand
Our flight left Lima at midnight, and arrived into Buenos Aires quite early in the morning. I wasn't feeling too good, so Kim & I hung out in the airport for a while and got our boarding passes for the evening flight to Auckland. Eventually, when I was feeling up to it, we left the airport and headed into town to explore a little - after all our flight to Auckland wasn't leaving until midnight...
I still wasn't up to much, but during our whistlestop day tour, I did manage to show Kim a bit of Buenos Aires that I thought was worth visiting in just one day. We started out with a wander up Florida Street to look at all the shops, and get a few last minute souvenirs. At the end of Florida, we made our way to Plaza de Mayo, where I crashed on a bench and left Kim to wander around and enjoy the scenery. From there we bypassed the days protest march and made our way to a little cafe for lunch - I remembered having awesome empanadas there and though that it would be a good place to eat.
By the time we had devoured the empanadas, it was almost 3pm, so we had to make a choice between Recoleta or La Boca. We chose Recoleta, and found the bus that would hopefully take us there. I had a few nervous moments, thinking that we were on the wrong bus, or that I had missed the stop, but we eventually found our way. Once again, I just found the nearest convenient park bench, and plonked myself down there while Kim looked around... It's becoming a bit of a theme isn't it!!
Finally, before heading back to the airport, we decided to have one last nice meal... The challenge was finding a restaurant that was open at 7pm in Buenos Aires - where you're an absolute freak if you go out and eat any earlier than 9pm. We succeeded in finding a restaurant, which was slightly swish, however not too expensive - and most important of all, open, so we shovelled some food down, and then raced off to the airport to wait for the departure of another long flight.
Buenos Aires airport is by no means entertaining, and it was a testament to our spirit that we managed to kill the time quite actively! The Aerolineas plane taking us on the trip back across the Pacific hardly seemed likely to get off the runway - we rattled and bumped along until the runway must have surely run out, before making a final shudder and lifting off into the air... I distinctly remember a similar feeling in Sydney on my departure. Perhaps it's time they upgraded their planes!
After a rather uneventful flight, we arrived in Auckland at 4am, and after clearing immigration and customs (they don't even stamp your passport here :-( ), and the delay before the first shuttle left gave us time to organise our transport to Rotorua.
So, after a rather short and comfy four hours on the bus, we were in smelly Rotorua, and in no time at all, the nice girl from the hostel came to collect us and deliver us almost to the door of our room. We were just about breaking our ncks to get inside and take a long, hot shower each!
After scrubbing up all fresh and clean, we set off with Kim's friend Kally to have a look at the parks and lakes around Rotorua. We first visited the public park, where at regualr intervals, there are small holes or ponds spewing out thick sulphuric steam... Following that, Kally drove us out to see the Blue and Green lakes, and then another big lake whose name escapes me completely! After a quick walk in the brisk afternoon air, we returned to the hostel to do some much needed laundry before we set off for dinner.
Kally took us to the Fat Dog Cafe - one she remembered from her last visit to Rottenrua! We were happy, it was a fantastic cafe, and I've never seen servings quite so huge in my life! Not only were the servings huge, but the food was good, and the cafe had a fabulous atmosphere. Another doggy named cafe that we think is awesome, and just to confirm that, we visited at least 3 more times over the next two days!
Friday morning, after a bit of a sleep in, and a late breakfast, we headed off to Te Puia, a thermal wonderland!!! A tourist park full of pools of bubbling mud, steaming waters, and a couple of spouting geysers - oh, and I guess I shouldn't forget the token Cultural show, which of course included the chunky Maori doing the Haka!!! It was quite good - the whole park I mean... The cultural show wasn't at all bad, and the big geyser was really quite impressive. It took quite some time to work it's way up to spouting, but once it did, it maintained the height and intensity of it's water stream for quite some time. More than enough time in fact, for us to reel off way too many photos!!!
After visiting the thermal park, we made our way into town to do over the souvenir stores and get those last minute (albeit unnecessary) souvenirs... I just can't resist buying cute stuff for the kids!!! However, all that tough shopping brought on a headache, and I ended up in bed once again... Lucky me...NOT!
Saturday morning dawned fresh and clear, and after one last visit to the Fat Dog, Kim & I farewelled Kally, as well as Kim's other friends Jacqui & John, and we set off to book a bus journey back to Auckland for the afternoon.
The bus journey was really quite scenic - on the way down, a thick fog had been settled right across the fields, but on the return journey, those fields were revealed to be lush, rolling & very green, and complete with grazing livestock scattered throughout.
We arrived in Auckland at around 6pm, and after a bit of negotiating with the friendly concierge at the Sky City hotel, we arranged to leave our luggage in their store room, while we killed time until our 3am shuttle to the airport.
We're becoming quite expert at using up every minute of our time. This is how it's done... We stashed our bags, booked our shuttle, went for a walk down to the Quay, came back and found a nice Turkish restaurant for dinner, went and checked out the cinema, bought a ticket for a film, wandered around the Borders bookstore for an hour, went to see a really crappy movie, had a coffee and collected our bags, and got onto the airport shuttle!
Location: Lima, Peru
After the usual, tiring overnight bus journey, Kim & I arrived in Arequipa at 5am on Friday morning. Our taxi driver to the hotel considered himself the first point in tourist information for the city, and pointed out each of the three volcanoes surrounding the city at least five times each! Just so that you know - Chachani, Misti and Picchu Picchu are the names, and Misti is the active one... He also wanted to know if we wanted to go directly to the hotel, or take a detour through the Plaza de Armas! It was five in the morning for gods sake, what do you think the answer was... al frente to hotel por favor!!!!
After a rest and breakfast, we set out to explore the city, which for me didn´t last long, as I had another headache. I´m sorry, but it´s becoming quite a theme isn´t it. I had to return to the hotel, and eventually slept for the rest of the afternoon, whilst Kim went off to explore the Santa Catalina Monastery and the Ice Mummy. I was in trouble for sending Kim to the Monastery because she used up way more film in her camera than she´d expected to! What can you do when you´re in that beautiful monastery - if I´d been able to return, I probably would have taken another whole roll of 36 too!!!
We had a sensational dinner that night in a restaurant called El Turko 2. Obviously it was Turkish, and we had Felafel, Hommous, Salad and bread, but no alcohol! The Peruvian federal election was taking place on Sunday, and it is a federal law that licenced establishments are not allowed to sell alcohol for 48 hours before the election, and up until midnight on the day of the election - can you just imagine how that would go down in Australia... The restaurant had great decor, even took a photo, and the part I liked best was that instead of a wall dividing the kitchen from the street, there was a floor to ceiling pane of glass, so that you could actually watch the kitchen staff at work!
Saturday morning we set off on our tour to the Colca Canyon. Most of the first morning was spent in the van, driving from stop to stop to observe Mountains, Volcanoes and wildlife - mainly vicuñas, with a bit of souvenir shopping thrown in along the way - like I said before, there´s never enough shopping! After passing though the town of Chivay, we arrived at our lovely hotel, settled itno our rooms, and then had lunch. Following lunch, the rest of the group went on a short hike, but I stayed behind for fear of a repeat of what happened on the Inca Trail! After the hikers returned to the hotel, we all got changed and headed to the thermal baths in Chivay. That was nice - Kim & I reclined in the outdoor pool, (which was very pleasantly heated to a temperature in the mid 30´s) and, surrounded by mountains, watched as the sun set, and the first stars began to appear. It was quite tranquil, even though we were surrounded by at least 20 other swimmers!!!
Ate dinner at the hotel - there was really no other choice, as the village it was located in was tiny, and there was not a dearth of restaurants or cafe´s to choose from. And besides, it was too bloody cold outside to be going far from the room!
Sunday morning, we had to rise early to make our way to the Colca Canyon and the viewing area for the Condors. We set off in the van by 6am, for the 2 hour drive to the viewing area, making just a couple of stops along the way. We were only at the viewing area - Cruz del Condor for around an hour, which was a very short amount of time after having travelled all that way. We did see some Condors, but only a few - two juveniles, and two adults. One of the juveniles put on quite a show - after circling within the canyon for some time, he did a couple of laps right above all the tourists standing there watching.
At 9.15, it was time for us to begin our return journey - a bumpy 2 hours along the dirt road back to Chivay for an early lunch, and then a further 3 or so hours from there back to Arequipa. A good portion of that journey was also over dirt road, but somehow, both Kim & I managed to sleep for quite a bit of it.
We arrived in Arequipa around 3 in the afternoon, and had a few hours to kill before we needed to be at the bus station. Most of the shops, cafes and restaurants in the city were closed because of the elections, but after a bit of a wander, we managed to find a creperie open, so planted ourselves at a courtyard table, and had a snack to kill a bit of time. Later in the afternoon, in the Plaza there was a bit of a demo march around the streets, supposedly to do with the election, but of course, with the pathetic grasp of the Spanish language that we have between us, we can only suppose!!!!
Our bus to Lima left at 7.30pm, and it was another long and tedious drive ... Managed to sleep a little, but unfortunately was struck down by another headache in the morning, and was beginning to wonder how I was going to manage to pass another whole day in Lima before our flight to BA at just after midnight.
I decided that if I could manage three days on the Inca Trail with a headache, then I could manage a day in Lima with a headache, so Kim & I made our way to Miraflores to shop and sip coffee etc!
Not much else to be said for the day... Visited the markets for a little more shopping, but the prices they were offering weren´t a patch on what we could get in Cusco and the Sacred Valley so we didn´t buy much - the stall holders weren´t really interested in bargaining much, even when we lied and said we´d just go back to Cusco and buy it cheaper! Bit of a disappointment for us really, as we´ve both become quite good at haggling for a price that we´re happy to pay!!!
So, for once I´m right up to date. We´re currently sitting in an internet cafe in Miraflores killing time before we have dinner and then head off to collect our luggage from the bus station, and then head to the airport, for the next epic leg of our journey towards home....