SOME of the first indicators that you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto, are the birds.
That's not to say I'm camping in the middle of the Amazon, Bear Grylls style, but hearing different bird calls to that of Australia is an audible sign you're a long way from home.
No kookaburras or warbling magpies here; just the flits and chirps of small, robin-looking feathered friends, plus the odd pigeon or two.
I awoke at my bed and breakfast location after getting in at 2am.
- The Spud Diaries – Entry 1 – Getting There
- The Spud Diaries – Entry 2 – Still Getting There
- The Spud Diaries – Entry 3 – In Flight
It would have been earlier but my main suitcase went missing. Nothing good comes of panicking and the very courteous and sharply dressed Juan Pablo at the airport was all over the situation like travellers on a luggage carousel.
He assures me the bag will be delivered to my location sometime during the day. This leads me to stay put in my room case the luggage delivery arrives and I'm needed for a signature and ID.
The pre-arranged and very patient driver has been waiting for me at the airport and does so with much grace.
He navigates the streets with ease as I take in the shapes of Lima whizzing by outside, accompanied by the radio soundtrack which is (not surprisingly) very samba sounding, like one of the fictional radio stations you can select within the Grand Theft Auto III video game. (That's a very niche reference, I know.)
It's very early in the morning so probably not a good indicator of traffic conditions but early impressions are that road line markings are more of a suggestion than anything, and it's also normal to stop in a shoulder lane with your hazard lights on to disembark and have a chat with a fellow motorist doing the same.
Remarkably, my vigilant hosts are still awake when I arrive and show me to my room. It's then off for some shuteye.
In the morning, I make the most of the clothes I have with me. But after a shower, I realise my comb is in my missing suitcase.
Luckily, having not changed my hairstyle for more than 30 years, my hair instinctively falls into its parted place, aided by some salon style "schuzzing".
I am now respectable enough to cross the quaint courtyard and enter the semi-alfresco dining area.
My hosts are very accommodating. The breakfast includes fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and bread (served separately, obviously) but no potatoes. I successfully hide my surprise.
Along with this is a cup of coffee the size of a small billabong. I'm not a coffee connoisseur and don't drink as much as others but this seemed to be good coffee.
I am in South America after all so one might expect the coffee to be good.
It may not be the last I have while I'm here.
Still no missing suitcase at the time of writing.
- Ashley Walmsley travelled to Peru with assistance from the Crawford Fund and with financial support from DFAT Council on Australia Latin America Relations.