After a grueling set of flights that included four and a half hour from Portland to Atlanta, and a very long six and a half hour flight down the west coast of South America, we arrived at Lima, descended through the fog and landed at J. Chavez airport. It was just after midnight, and the airport was in incredible chaos, with many hundreds of passengers filling the airport and trying to work their way through customs and immigration. We followed the crowds, and eventually worked our way through the maze of checkpoints. We sweated out the usual apprehensive baggage arrivals, but they all arrived safely! As we walked towards the exits of the airport, we encountered hundreds of taxi and transport drivers aggressively yelling at us, and trying to get us to hire them. Fortunately, we quickly spotted our transport driver holding an Adventure Life sign with “Harold and Karen Greig” written on it. It was a very welcome sight! Our transport driver helped us get our bags into his van, and quickly we were driven away from the mad scene of the airport, and into the late Friday evening mad scene that constituted downtown Lima. . We couldn’t believe that we were actually in South America!
The rough streets of Lima were still alive with action at 12:30 AM as we raced through the perilous traffic, dodging cars and busses that seemed to pay no attention to stop signs, lanes or stop lights. Fortunately, our driver understood some English, and was able to carry on polite conversation with us as we nervously rode along. Eventually, the surroundings became decidedly more upscale, and we realized that we were entering Miraflores. Soon we were at the Carmel Hotel, checking in and collapsing in our room. It was almost 1:00AM, and it had been a very tough day of traveling. Before retiring, we tried a couple of bottles of chincha, the popular Peruvian corn beer that was stocked in the hotel minibar.