I made it!
It’s finally here… the last day of my big adventure! I thought I would feel really weird today, torn between not wanting the trip to end and dying to go home to see my family and friends again, but actually all I’m feeling today is pure happiness. After all the planning, scrimping and scraping to get some money together, all the worrying and doubting, and all the other hurdles I had to jump over to get here, little old me has actually managed to complete a three-month trip through South America. I don’t like praising myself or stopping to think about my achievements, but I think I can give myself a pat on the back today! 😀
I never really had any plans for doing things in Lima before I set out, as I’ve always just looked at it as my final destination and presumed (correctly, as it turns out!) that I would be too excited about going home by this point to have much enthusiasm for exploring the city. However, it’s a stunning place and it would have been a shame to jump on the plane without having seen any of it, so I spent this afternoon wandering around the downtown area and buying some last minute souvenirs. Before I left home I promised Hayley that I would bring her back a toy llama and throughout my trip I have been determined to get her the cutest, fluffiest one I could find, but none of the ones I’ve seen in the markets have been as nice as I’d hoped. Imagine my delight when I walked into a handicrafts market earlier and spotted the cuddliest and most gorgeous looking toy llama staring at me from on top of a mound of jumpers. It was bright white, with the softest wool imaginable and sporting a multicoloured woolly hat with “Peru” printed on it. This was the one I had been waiting for – talk about cutting it fine! I’ve never been any good at haggling in markets here, but I did manage to bring the price down by 5 soles by staring at the llama longingly for a while. I was happy with that!
The taxi ride I had back to my hotel’s neighbourhood was a surprisingly nice reminder of one of the things I’ve most enjoyed out here: the never-ceasing friendliness of South American people. The driver didn’t stop talking to me, asking me about where I come from, my family and how I had enjoyed Peru. I’m not very confident speaking Spanish because I’m so shy – my strengths in foreign languages are reading and writing – but there in the back seat I suddenly realised that I actually could sustain a conversation in Spanish. It was a very satisfying feeling! Once the ride was over the driver got out, gave me a kiss on the cheek and drove off. Interactions between people here are so respectful and friendly compared to those in Britain; I’m really going to miss being called “Señorita” or “Miss” everytime I speak to someone!
When I got back to the hotel I found most of the group leaving to go paragliding. I had already had my fill of jumping off of hills for this trip so I decided not to go this time! It meant, however, that by the time they got back I would have already left for the airport, so I had to quickly say my goodbyes. I was actually glad that it turned out that way because if I had had more time to say goodbye to everyone I probably would have started blubbing! The group have been the best group I could have ever wished for, though, so needless to say I’m really sad that I’m leaving them. 😥
In contrast to my earlier taxi ride, the one to the airport gave me one last reminder of the craziness of South American drivers. It was quite an experience to be driven along the road beside Lima’s beautiful beach at breakneck speed with horns hooting everywhere! So many times before I left home, I had tried to imagine how I would feel in the taxi riding to Lima’s airport, the mission accomplished. All I could do was smile to myself as I gazed out at the Pacific and watched all the cars on the road ahead weave nonchalantly in and out of each other without so much as an indication. How could I ever sum up my feelings about this place?!