Flight to Lima?
My flight to Lima was due at 7:35am, february the 24th. I had to be at the airport one hour before, but I left my bedroom at 6:40am. I didn’t want to lose my flight! The Choquechaca street was wet, and the sky was cloudy because it rained at night. It was a cold morning, and I felt it as I only wore a couple of BVDs, one T-shirt, a couple of shirt-sleeves and a light coat. My boots and black jean were tidy. I only carried a black rucksack.
I asked a public transportation driver how long it’d take to the airport. He replied it was about twenty minutes. No way! It seemed that taxi drivers smelt i was in a hurry as they wanted to charge me six and even seven nuevos soles. That would be the price you must pay if it is a pick-up service. I realized my mistake and instead of asking to take me to the airport, I said that I wanted to get down just in front of the airport where, I remembered, there are some blocks of houses. Four soles, one driver told me. Got it! Gotcha!
At that early hour, the taxi only took nine minutes to get there. As I didn’t want to sound as a liar, I walked to the right rather than to the left after getting down the taxi. I had some minutes to spare so, just as quickly, I headed for the very cliff of the river Huatanay half block away from the avenue. I took advantage of my loniless to “picchar”(suck in quechua) my last coca leaves. !Oh, coquita leaves, please, let me have a good flight! My boots and jean got dirty due to the mud and the dew from the flowers on my way. Nevermind, i am going to be in Lima soon. Soon?
This story began just as a rumor the first days of january. To save money i considered the bus option. Two years ago i joined Lima to Qosqo in twenty one days making stops in a few cities and towns. That was an unforgettable trip. Six months ago i did the same route directly. Twenty two hours seated on even a “bus cama” (bed) can become a nightmare for anyone. And saving eighty or a hundred nuevos soles is not a good deal after all. By plane it is just eighty minutes. I asked for air tickets at Lan, Star Peru, and Taca. By far, the best rate of all was a round-trip for US$97 at Lan. When i was sure about the day of my flight, there weren’t any more seats with this discount, unfortunately. That was february the third. I strongly recommend to shop around not only these airline offices but also a few travel agencies alongside the avenida El Sol since i got a Lan ticket from Nuevo Mundo (Av. Sol 574) at a rate cheaper than at the very Lan office, nearly in front one another.
One day before my flight, the 23rd, i went to the “mercado de Wanchaq” in order to buy a round piece of bread “chuta” made at a famous town called Oropesa. I shopped around, and finally i paid four nuevos soles rather than five. We, peruvians, are good at bargaining.
Afterwards, i came in the Lan office for the fifth or sixth times during these two months to solve some doubts. In fact, it has been a very good excuse to see the stewardess. She is very gentle and gorgeous with her stylish black hair,and wearing her dark blue suit, white blouse and red ribbon around her neck. I asked her whether or not i could bring coca leaves and a razor. She rejected both. Leaving the office, i made up two more inquiries: would i have any problem for bringing the bread “chuta”. Not at all, she replied. And last but not least: what is your name? Even an angel can lose her patience if you ask unnecessary questions so i just said good-bye to her.
Her name: Cecilia.
By the way, i brought my razor, and i didn’t have any problem at the airport security check.
Qosqo, I love you…
Admiring the river Huatanay and the green mountain just in front, i saw a young man coming over me. Slowly, i moved away from the cliff, just in case. He told me that there were a couple of archaeological sites behind the mountain, and then he just walked away. Was he kind of a magician who was sent to show me a new path? I would know that answer someday, but at that moment i had to run to the airport.
There was a huge queue at check-in. As i only carried a small rucksack, i didn’t care too much. A steward approached to me and told me the worst news of my life: the first three flights were called off due to bad weather, and she added that i had to check-in for another flight. Just about a week ago, i had came here to embark Kristina and her queue was rather small compared with mine, but she got impatient. If she had seen my queue, she would have killed someone for sure or she would have said ten russian bad words in a row.
In the queue, i met Obed, a nice man who was born in Qosqo but lives in Lima now, and with whom i exchanged an interesting talk especially about Qosqo. I remember he told me how to eat chiri uchu, a typical andean dish. You have to put in your mouth a small chunk of every ingredient served in the dish, and then you will taste how delicious it is. If we had known, beautiful friend!
At nine o’clock, the time i was supposed to be in Lima, i got the counter and i was told that there were not more seats available in any flight that entire day, so i was booked for the next day. !Qosqo, I love you, but this time you have treated me wrong, because i want to be with my family and friends! Qosqo, do you want me to stay here because you are going to give me a surprise or something like that? Ironically, during all that day in Qosqo, i run into three friends that i hadn’t seen for a while. Moreover, i got news about two archaeological sites. I think it was worth staying one more day in Qosqo after all. Weather in Qosqo can change suddendly especially during the rainy season from january to march, and flights may be called off.
The next day, the morning was shiny. I recalled the U2 song “Beautiful Day”. I am in Lima now for just a few days.
PS: Some flight facts
You have to pay a flight tax the day you depart from any peruvian airport. In Qosqo the rate was: US$4.28 for national flights and $11.90 for international flights. From the airport in Lima the rate was: US$6.25 for national flight and US$30.25 for international flights.
At Lan.com you can buy your plane ticket by credit card, or even print a voucher to pay at some banks. You can print your boarding pass from forty eight to two hours prior to your flight even at Lan office. By doing the check-in by yourself, you save the service fee. With your printed boarding pass, you have to be at the airport one hour before your flight. Otherwise, you must be two hours before. The Lan office is on the sixth block of Avenida El Sol, half way down the Qorikancha temple, and it is open monday to friday from 8:30 to 7pm, saturdays 9-6pm and sundays and holidays 9-12:30pm. You would have the change to meet an angel on earth.