Peru- the most western lying country in South America bordering Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east and Chile to the south. Peru has enormous geographic differences, ranging from snow-capped peaks of the Andes to the deepest and most inaccessible parts of the Amazon. Most of the countries in South America speak Spanish, in addition to Quecha, which were regarded as Inca official languages. The Spanish conquistadors conquered parts of today's Peru in 1532 after having captured the last Inca emperor. 40 years later, in 1572, the last parts of the Incas were destroyed. Everywhere in Peru still see remnants of the Inca heyday.Fun Facts about Peru
- Guinea pigs, which we keep as pets, are regarded as traditional food in Peru
- Titicaca is the world's highest lake
- In Peru it is totally normal to give away yellow underwear to friends and family on New Year's Eve
- The potato originated in Peru and there are more than 3,000 different varieties of it
- Peru has the world's deepest gorge - 3,535m deep (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon)
"We Insist, you can not go out in this area ..."
During my time in Lima, I stayed at a hotel in Callao port area, since it was near the shipping office as arranged with the car. But I found out that I had to change hotels. The folks at the forwarding office shook their head when they heard where I lived, and tomorrow my father is coming to visit. He normally runs a slightly different risk profile than most people, so it is probably safer to go to a little more civilised area of the city.
I checked out of the Hotel, when one of the ladies from the front desk told me that I could not go alone. I was told that I should not get a taxi but I should walk in the direction of where I was going to and jump on a bus. As a solution, they insisted to take a Manual, which would take me to the nearest bus stop. And bus?! It was a crowded Toyota Hiace, where people piled their bags on top of each other, something I could not do with my 60 litre backpack. The side door of the car was open when moving.
I met my friend, Mariano, at the airport when I arrived in Lima. Normally I swear by public transport when I'm out. Taking a taxi always feels like an easy and cowardly solution. But it was late at night and I needed to get up early to declare the car, so cowardly or not; taxi was a sufficient mode of transport for me. Mariano is a keen seller and we agreed, via Google Translate, that he would meet me in the morning and drive me to the shipping company. My new friend is a really cool guy; he plays the organ and plays soccer. In the car we played loud music and the atmosphere was really good. Things take albeit a little time when most of the communication happens via a translator on the phone screen, but you have to be patient when you're out in the big world.
It is one week today since the car came to Peru, and it is still not cleared. I've decided not to be restless when being out in the big wide world. But right now I feel like my patience is being put to the test. We thought we should have got the car on Friday and then Monday. Now our fingers are crossed for Wednesday. Yesterday, it was agreed that we collect the necessary stamps only to be stopped at the end of the day due to having the wrong number on the passport.
We have been through some slow bureaucracy on the road, but Peru "takes the cake". If you are like me who wanted to bring their own car on holiday, I would recommend choosing another destination than Peru.
First we met Mr. Bureaucracy. Today we met Mr. Corruption. As mentioned yesterday, the car stood on the docks for a week, but today we got the explanation as to why it has taken such a long time. Mr. Bureaucracy is actually a good buddy of Mr. Corruption. And the purpose of stalling is to test our patience. Today showed Mr. Corruption in the form of a customs inspector who wanted $500, - (NOK 4.000, -) to release the car. Otherwise, we had to wait another 6-7 days. He would in fact declare my bags with clothing that is in the car. But with $500, - he could pretend he did not see those. All the power lies with this man now standing between us and the Peruvian highway.
Thursday (day 9 after the car arrived at Lima) started well. We met up at the docks, at 7.45am to be first in line at the customs officer. Our car was approved and cleared for. We then proceeded to the port warehouse where the container stood with the car in. My father and I took a taxi. We waited on the sidewalk outside the port warehouse for nearly 6 hours. In the vehicle documents, it says that the car is blue, while we have decorated the car with white tape and ABAX logo. So the container was a white car.
Hours passed, and our patience was put to the test. But for $100, - in hand we were suddenly "agreed" that the car in the container was blue ... We were on the road at 19:00. 12 hours and 15 minutes after we arrived at the port in the morning.Do you have tips for Stig about places he should see or visit, or restaurants he should try? You can send us an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to follow Stig's route in Google maps.