I'm seriously worried.
Peruvian Airlines must be the fourth of fifth airline that goes out of business shortly after I fly with them!
Well, it's not really surprising that P9 has kicked the bucket. It was already terminally ill when I bought my tickets. It was gasping for air at the gates of death after the Peruvian government revoked the license for its only international flight after the accident that I mentioned here.
The thing is… it's gone. Forever. And I write this report as a homage to its… to its… its cramped legroom… its lousy menu… and the hours I spent languishing in boarding rooms because of its delays.
By the way, this is the fifth leg of this trip. Here are the links to the other legs:
🛫 🇨🇱 Santiago (SCL) 🛬 🇨🇱 Arica (ARI) on LATAM
🌄 Bonus: Tacna
🛫 🇵🇪 Tacna (TCQ) 🛬 🇵🇪 Lima (LIM) on Peruvian Airlines
🌄 Bonus: Lima (Miraflores; Historic quarter)
🛫 🇵🇪 Lima (LIM) 🛬 🇵🇪 Iquitos (IQT) on Viva Air Peru
🌄 Bonus: Iquitos (Amazon Rescue Center; Downtown)
🛫 🇵🇪 Iquitos (IQT) 🛬 🇵🇪 Lima (LIM) on Viva Air Peru
🌄 Bonus: Pilpintuhuasi
🛫 🇵🇪 Lima (LIM) 🛬 🇵🇪 Tacna (TCQ) on Peruvian Airlines (You are here)
🌄 Bonus: Erotic Incas?! (Larco Museum, Lima)
🛫 🇨🇱 Arica (ARI) 🛬 🇨🇱 Santiago (SCL) on LATAM
🌄 Bonus: Arica
🛫 🇨🇱 Santiago (SCL) 🛬 🇨🇱 Valdivia (ZAL) on JetSmart (Coming soon)
But before we board, let me take you on a tour.
A brief tour.
A strange, brief tour.
A strange, brief… erotic tour!
Hmmm!! Yeah, babies. We'll learn how the Incas kept the fire burning in the cold heights of the Andes!! ;D
Lima is a large city with plenty of activities for all tastes. In my case, I opted for a biking tour of Miraflores - a well-off neighborhood - that took me along bike paths to the beautiful seafront and the incredible San Isidro market, where we tried all kinds of delicious local, tropical fruits, and the traditional dish: ceviche.
It's a safe ride. Our guide made sure to stop the traffic with a STOP sign at those corners without traffic lights.
From the seafront…
…you have a view on the cliffs forming a wall between the sea and the city. They also act as a screen that collects the fog, so they are always green despite being in the middle of the desert. Hundreds of swallows dart in every direction here, catching insects!
The Circuito de Playas highway runs along the coast.
The day before my flight, the three ladies staying at the same Airbnb as me invite me to go out with them. They are interested in visiting the Larco Museum and the Parque de las Aguas.
According to Wikipedia, "the Larco Museum is a privately owned museum of pre-Columbian art. The museum is housed in an 18th-century vice-royal building. It showcases chronological galleries that provide a thorough overview of 5,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history."
It's a beautiful house with a breathtaking garden of bougainvilleas.
…and a small inner patio.
As we are paying our admittance ticket at the entrance, something that the lady at the reception desk says while showing a ground plan of the museum to one of my friends catches my attention. "That room in the corner is the erotic room."
"Ero… whaaat??" I think. How could the words "Inca" and "erotic" go together in the same sentence?! I review all my school years mentally, but I can't recall any trace of eroticism in my history lessons. So I just shrug and proceed to the permanent exhibition room.
I am amazed to learn how the Incas captured different aspects of their lives in pottery, the same way we upload photos to our Facebook or Instagram accounts nowadays! They seemed obsessed with making everything into clay pots! They had doggie pots…
…and even Inca-god-beheading-a-man pots!
One thing is undeniable: the Incas had an amazing skill for pottery!
After our visit to the general exhibition, my friends and I head for that distant corner of the premises. The cafeteria is on the far left. Then we remember the erotic room. We guess it's worth a visit. After all, it must sure be more clay pots depicting romantic scenes, like Inca couples kissing.
Awww… isn't it cute? Two monkey friends hugging. Nothing erotic at all. I think the museum staff is exaggerating.
Awww… two monkey friends again. This time facing each other. Really cute! I'm sure they should rename this room "the Cute Monkey Room". "Erotic room" is a little too much.
But then things take a weird turn. Are those kitties and mice… er… making baby kitties and mice?? Ahem… well, I think this is still something you can explain to your children. It's… cool.
But in the next showcase something makes me raise an eyebrow. Is that…? Is that really a…? A big, fat…??? Gosh. I scratch my head. How on earth am I going to show this in my flight report??
In the next case I have to raise my eyebrows even more. Ohh, myyy! What was the problem with these Incas??? They certainly had an obsession!!
Is it me, or is it really getting warm in this room?
Well, it's not that serious. It's just… anatomy! What else could you expect from people five thousand years ago, when they were curious and innocent! There's surely something similar in the next case.
I have to narrow my eyes to see clearly. Are those two male Incas really, somehow… connecting?!
Gee. Those Incas could really give you ideas!
Will someone turn that freaking air conditioning on, please??
After all I've seen, no Inca pottery can shock me anymore.
Holy sh…!! :O
By now, a drop of sweat is running down my temple. With my jaw dropping and my knees knocking I totter towards the exit. Air! Fresh air, please!!
Outside I stop and look to the sides. What should I do now? Roll on the grass like my cat in the mating season?!
No! I can see the solution! The cafeteria is over there. Food! That's what I need! No amount of lewd Inca pottery will ever be a match for a nice piece of pie!!
I sit at a table and a tanned, well built waiter takes my order. I watch him as he leaves. I realize I'm biting my lower lip!!
I slap myself on the face. Nelson!! Come back to your senses!!
And there he comes back with this beauty.
Aaahhh… There's nothing that a piece of passion fruit pie can't put back into place.
Just in case you have a sudden interest in archaeology, I'm making the original photos available for download here, plus a couple that were a bit too much for the report.
The last place I visited with my new friends was the Circuito Mágico del Agua (Magic Water Circuit), a large park with more than a dozen huge fountains and a spectacular display of lights and sound. The best way to get there is by taxi/Uber, and the admittance ticket is 4 Soles (about 1 USD)
These fountains below are used as a water screen on which images are projected. Go and find a place over there on the left…
…as early as possible, so that you can get a first-row position. Otherwise, the people in front of you will block your sight.
The show starts when it gets dark. You can find the show times on their website.
I'm leaving a portion of the show here, but you can find better videos on YouTube.
And if you're told that this fountain is "the tunnel of love" and that you'll get a partner in less than a year if you walk through it… don't believe them! I'm living proof that this is not true! :'''(
Enter text here…
Every time you arrive at LIM by car you have to lower your head and thank God, the Saints, the Stars, or whoever you think is controlling the threads of your destiny for another day of life.
After a tour around the parking lots…
…you arrive at the small terminal building.
This is the domestic arrivals area. The entrance is two doors farther. You'll have to show your ID card and your reservation in order to enter the building.
Inside, it's just another normal day at LIM…
Well, some areas are less crowded.
The evacuation plan seems to be clear enough. Nevertheless, shouldn't it be completely translated into English? "Run for your life! Go to the vereda!" "What is a vereda?!" "I don't know! Use your dictionary!" By the time the tourist finds out that vereda is pavement in British English and sidewalk in US English, it's too late.
At the far end of the hall (if something can be called "far" at LIM!)…
…we take the escalator. You have to be patient.
Ooh! The second floor looks like a different world.
I came all the way from the escalator (on the right) to this point to see what was here…
…but it's quite boring, actually. Besides, it's getting late (or so I thought at that moment!) so I'll take this shortcut to safety check.
The only function of this corridor seems to be connecting to parts of the airport. There's nothing here, except some posters of the wonderful Peruvian wildlife.
Quite a long line for safety check! And it moves…
The advantage of a small airport for a distracted person like me is that I just have to walk and get where I'm going. I have no idea if there are other hallways to other doors at LIM. I always leave security check and walk straight forward along this hallway…
…and I always get to the correct waiting room. I'll make sure that the flight is on time.
Hm! My 12:30 flight is not listed yet. It's still too early, I guess.
But 20 minutes later many more flights are listed and there's no trace of my flight! Are you really playing this game with me again, Peruvian??
I won't waste my waiting time. Look! LATAM is experimenting with different boarding schemes. It has tried the classical general/preferential boarding queues, boarding by rows, boarding by seat letter, and now it's divided passengers into six different groups!
Time drags on slowly. No news about our flight. A little riot is beginning…
…and people are complaining angrily. I'm sorry for the staff.
Finally, twenty minutes before ETD our flight pops up on the monitor… delayed by three hours!! "Confirmed" is no consolation.
And the gate has changed, too. We have to go downstairs to a smaller waiting room.
All this has a bright side: We're going to board by foot or bus.
Let's look around. You can charge you cellphone here…
There's free wifi (which I didn't try). Oh! Surprise, surprise. It's provided by GTD, a Chilean company. I can't believe the number of Chilean companies operating in Peru. An Uber driver in Lima talked to me about the "chilenization" of Peru. He was not happy about it. But the same happens in Chile with US or Spanish companies, for example. Mysteries of global commerce. BTW, GTD stands for Gente Totalmente Dispuesta (Fully Available People), which is a very silly name for a company in my opinion, and I frequently mistake for Gente Dispuesta a Todo (People Willing to do Anything). Hm! I like that one. XD
The room gets full because a lot of flights are departing even to smaller towns in the Sierra (mountains), like Huánuco. Peru's rugged geography makes flying essential, unlike in Chile, where we usually travel by bus because buses are comfortable and roads are good. This makes it difficult for new airlines to take off (literally) in Chile, among other factors.
Aviation laws seem to be stricter in Peru than in my country. If your flight is delayed, you are entitled to a snack. And that's what the staff is announcing right now.
I suppose there will be enough for everyone, so I'll wait a minute.
I almost forgot to include the menu in the report. Hence the bite. An empanada and a glass of soda.
Don't you think that waiting can be tiring? Weird but true. I have been sitting in all imaginable positions, and none is comfortable by now. besides, one hour before our rescheduled flight, the time has been changed again! One more hour! I'm beginning to fear that the flight will be cancelled. The flight was "confirmed". How can it be that it got "unconfirmed"? And the gate changed again! Back upstairs.
I think this screenshot can explain everything. I saw OB-2138P departing more or less at my flight's original ETD, but OB-2138P was not leaving for Tacna, in the south of the country, but to Piura, in the north. So it must have been serving an already delayed flight before coming for us. Peruvian Airlines was really struggling to keep up with their own schedule with the few aircraft they still had after the accident in Bolivia and other technical problems! You could feel the end of the company was near! Well, the plane will be arriving at LIM in 28 minutes.
I have time for a visit to the baño. It looks well equipped!
Whoa. "Biosecurity container. For the disposal of sharp objects." You can kill someone if you're not happy with an airline and discard the knife here. Very inclusive!
Oh, I see. Thanks for clarifying. It was not for bloody knives.
Thanks for this.
At laaaaast… I would jump out of happiness, but I'm so tired!!
At the time of writing this report, OB-2138P is 28.9 years old, and is stored at Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB). Poor thing.
Only some charter airlines use B737s in Chile, so I don't have many opportunities to see these small, cute, flat-belly engines, which is sad because my very first commercial flight - back in 1994 - was on a LanChile B737-200.
Here comes the truck of the catering company. My French is bad - actually, I just know a couple of words - but I have the impression that there's something wrong about this name L'Cousine. Can you use an apostrophe between la and cousine? Did they really mean cuisine? That would make much more sense for a catering company, wouldn't it?
Unless the cook is a cousin of the company owner… But I'm pretty sure they mixed up the Spanish word cocina (cuisine) and the French word cousine (female cousin). I'm getting dizzy. XD
Mujer al volante.
Talma staff in action.
At 15:39 we can see some movement around our gate at last…
…and at 15:51 the long-awaited announcement comes and we queue up for boarding. Simple scheme: front and rear rows.
I would run if I could.
What's the practical application for that grid, apart from spoiling your photos?
Something tell me that…
…legroom will be quite tight.
My legs fit comfortably if I sit straight, but anyone taller than my 170cm will have (or would have had) problems.
Seatback pocket contents.
The menu is (was!) a single sheet without many options.
Out of the window I can see the competition in the old Chilean-flag-colors livery.
…and the same competitor in the ir new livery.
He runs a good stretch.
The Callao port cranes are visible from the airport.
Approaching LIM's only runway…
…and off we go.
If I could keep one of those in my backyard I would live in it!
We turn south after flying above the northern outskirts of the city towards the sea, but the low clouds soon cover the landscape.
I don't think Boeing makes such a sloppy soldering job! This plane seems to be about to fall into pieces!
This is San Clemente, about 180km south of Lima.
Minutes later I see a strange-looking hill in the middle of a city. Later I find out that the city is Ica, and the shiny hill is a sand dune! That's weird. I thought that sand dunes moved very slowly because of the wind blowing the sand away, but this one always stays in the same place! The dune is called Cerro Saraja (Saraja Hill)
The next town I see is Palpa. It's only 40km north of Nazca, and just like Nazca, there are some impressive pre-Colmbian hieroglyphs near Palpa, presumably made by the Paracas and Topará peoples. Some information from Naional Geographic here.
Between Palpa and Nazca there a tiny town called Tulín.
And this is Nazca (also spelled Nasca), the town famous for the mysterious giant lines in the desert, usually attributed to extraterrestrials!
See some of the lines here. The most famous is the hummingbird, I think.
Those lines served as inspiration for the Peruvian tourism industry logo, you see?
Further south near Nazca some mountains run from east to west, as if someone had raked them! There's a beautiful natural reservation down there…
…the Pampa Galeras Barbara D'Achille National Reservation, dedicated to to the preservation of vicuñas, a super cute cousin of camels. See some photos here:
The sun sets as we near our destination, and suddenly I'm flying on a golden plane! If I were I poet I would say that the sun is giving OB-2138P golden wings because it will soon have to fly… to heaven! I'm going to cry!!! XDDD
The fog is thick as we descend, but we soon see the lights of Tacna, the southernmost town in Peru, on the border with Chile.
Adiós OB-2138P. Live long and prosper.
Don't bring any fruit when you visit the south of Peru…
…because after claiming your baggage…
…it will be inspected in order to avoid the spread of the fruit fly in the area…
…whose eggs can be carried by a long list of fruits.
And that's how my adventure around Peru is coming to an end. So many nice memories! Tomorrow I'll cross the border to Chile by car, and then… home! I'm missing my cat.
Thanks for reading! :D
Rest in peace, P9. You won't be missed. You wouldn't have made it past the Covid crisis anyway.
Did I mention that Lima needs a new, bigger airport?
Nice and functional, but sooo boring.