Day 15 — Time to Say Goodbye

Friday — April 17

A slow walk brought us from Huaca Pucclana back to the Malecón de la Reserva along the cliffs of Miraflores. The heat and humidity was starting to take its toll, so we kept our pace slow as we strolled the cliff-top path. The sun was making attempts to break through, but the area was still covered with low lying clouds that hid the top floors of the high-rise buildings from view and the scenery over the ocean was still veiled by haze.

Conditions have not changed much since this morning.
(look closely and you can see both Parque del Amor and El Faro de la Marina in the distance)

We wandered through the various parks along the walkway, stopping periodically to sit on a bench and ponder our trip. We asked ourselves what we would change knowing what we know now about the places we had visited in Andean Perú. The answer was: extend our trip by a week, but still keep the itinerary limited to the same areas. We talked about the places we’d visited, trying to come up with a favorite or two. We couldn’t; each experience was wonderful and unique in its own way. We sat and we watched and we relaxed, happy that we’d left this day as a “go with the flow” day.

After a couple of hours, when it became apparent that the haze was going to obscure a colorful sunset, we headed off in the direction of the Larcomar Mall for a refreshing drink. At this stage, still sated from our late lunch, we’d decided not to have dinner at La Rosa Nautica, the seafood restaurant on the pier … another reason to come back to Perú someday.

On the way to the mall, we could not resist one more stop at Parque del Amor. This time there were more couples around to prove the park’s popularity with lovers of all ages. After a few more clicks of the shutter, we turned around to leave and ran right into … the family whom we’d met in Ollantaytambo. They too were at the end of their trip, although they had one more day in Lima before they needed to head to the airport. It sure is a small world!

The enchanting “Gaudiesque” wall/seats at Parque del Amor.

A closer look at El Beso.

At the mall, the terrace at Mangos was crowded and looked inviting, but after our breakfast experience, we weren’t willing to take a chance. Instead, we found ourselves a table on the balcony of the appropriately named Vista al Mar (View of the Sea) and ordered a couple of “bebidas” (beverages) to while away 30 minutes or so before walking back to the hotel to collect our luggage.

Larcomar Mall
(Vista al Mar is in the building with the brown roof on the right)

After using the hotel’s internet connection to verify the status of our midnight flight, we asked that a car be ordered to transfer us to the airport. The vehicle showed up promptly and within a few minutes we were on our way. It was only 7:00p and we still had five hours before our scheduled departure, but traffic was so bad that we were happy to allow more time than we had initially planned.

We’ve traveled pretty extensively and I have to say that so far Lima’s traffic takes the prize for “worst ever.” The driver muttered under his breath the entire time, swerving in and out of tight spots in the traffic, taking advantage of even the smallest opening to make headway. There was a lot of shaking of fingers and hands and exchanges of “colorful” words with other drivers. We drew a deep sigh of relief when the car drew up to the departures terminal shortly before 8:30p. We’d made it through alive!!!

Inside was a mass of humanity checking in for flights. The Delta check-in counter was just being set up and we were first in line at the business class counter. Normally, we’d hate having to wait in line for an hour to check-in, but considering how quickly the queues grew behind us, we weren’t about to complain. Besides, there was plenty of activity to keep us entertained. Chatting with the other passengers waiting in line, we whiled away the time. Before we knew it, we were handing our passports and boarding passes to the Delta agent charged with checking us in.

We were fully prepared to pay the $31/person international departure tax, so we were surprised when the Delta agent handed us new boarding passes with the stamp already affixed. I thought I heard him say it was because we had business class seats, but it was so noisy that I wouldn’t swear that’s what he said. Not about to question our good fortune, we collected our paperwork, bid our queue-mates adios, and headed off to complete the rest of the departure formalities.

We were welcomed graciously at the Sumaq VIP Lounge, which services several airlines. The place was packed with passengers reading, chatting, clicking away at laptop keyboards — not surprising since so many of the international departures are late at night. There was an extensive self-serve buffet of snacks and beverages and a complimentary bar where the bartenders were doing brisk business. Many of the leather armchairs and love seats were occupied with passengers snoozing while they waited for their flight to be announced by a roving lounge attendant who made the rounds periodically.

After seeing me settled in a comfortable spot near an electrical outlet, Mui wandered off to use one of the internet stations. I spent the next hour downloading photos and writing my blog entry. The wireless internet connection was a little slow, but sufficient to check in with friends and family via email.

About 30 minutes before our flight was to be called, I had an “oops moment” that left me feeling faint. I couldn’t find my boarding pass? Where was it? This had never happened to me before, why now? I could barely breathe as I tried not to panic. I went through all the obvious pockets of my carry-on; I emptied out my handbag and looked in the few pockets inside. No boarding pass!!! I went in search for Mui and explained the situation. Calm and collected, as he usually is, he sat me down and went to talk to the lounge attendants. Twenty minutes later he was back with a brand new boarding pass. Apparently it was no big deal to get a replacement pass, or so the Delta agent had cheerfully told him — “This happens all the time.” Not to me it doesn’t!

Next Up: Travel Night & Day — Back to the US

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