(This is going to get wordy so I apologise now... I won't be in the least bit offended if you just skim through to the pictures)
At last, after a 10 month wait, 4 flights and 48 hours worth of travelling (and waiting time), I have arrived in Peru. The journey itself was quite an adventure. To date the furtherest abroad I hve travelled is New Zealand; a 3 hour jump “across the ditch” where English is the main langauge spoken (although I do love the kiwi accent) and the currency is the NZ dollar (valued slightly less than the Aussie dollar.
This is my first long-haul-flight-trip to a country where English is not the first language spoken and I was doing the first 48 hours of travelling on my own. This point didn't really come clear to me until I was seated on the flight from Sydney to Melbourne and the announcements were announced first in English and then in Spanish (well I knew, but hadn't really spent much time thinking about it). Up until this point the excitement that I was finally making the trip to get a taste of Peru – a place that I'd only read about on facebook, Mum and Dad's blog (Hasta luega) and through the retelling from other members of my family who had already made the trip.
The first part of the trip was easy... an early morning trip to the airport via taxi after a late night spent packing and making the house ready for me to be away for a bit more than a month, and a short flight to Sydney. In Sydney I had to transfer from the Domestic terminal to the International terminal by bus and I just wish that I'd had my camera handy... The transfer coach took us through the maintenance area of the airport and we got a close-up view of the A380s - quite a sight to see!
Security control and customs went smoothly (as it should) before I met up with my travelling companions for the flight to Buenos Aires – my friend and neighbour from my home town of Clermont. We stumbled on the fact that we were both going to be in Rio at the same time for Carnival a few months back and the coincidences have just kept rolling in... 3 weeks ago we worked out we were to be on the same flight after believing that we were leaving different days... and then at the airport we discovered we were allocated to the same row of the plane... go figure!! We weren't sitting together but close enough to chat via sign language occasionally and then meet up at the rear of the plane for a bathroom break.
The flight, whilst long at 12 hours, didn't feel as long as it could have. The staff were friendly and kept us occupied with food and drinks throughout. Lunch was served, with a choice of ravioli, or ravioli (the options on the menu were exhausted by the time they got to us at the back end of the plane), and then several hours later we were serve breakfast – dinner was lost in the time zone I believe....
Landing in Buenos Aires is where the language barrier really hit me... My “coincidental travelling companion” and I had to part at the gate – she was staying in BA and had to go through to customs, I was to board a connecting flight some 10 hours later – and so I entered BA airport alone. As I entered the airport I was hit with the realisation that every person spoke Spanish and every sign was written in Spanish, and for the life of me I couldn't remember a single thing from my Spanish classes...
10 hours went surprisingly quickly... I bought a baguette for lunch (the only thing I could point at that I recognized - and no, it wasn't very good so I'm sad to say I wasted half of it!) and a bottle of water which cost the earth US$17!! Yes, I was working in US currency which meant that I had no idea of what anything actually cost until I said "in dollars?". Next step was to find wifi internet - accomplished after paying for 1/2 hour at an internet cafe and then discovered that I could buy a 4hour wifi card for US$10 (cheaper that eating!).
Then tiredness hit me like a truck after about 2 hours... I found a quiet par t of the airport, tucked my bag under my head and slept. I managed an hour at a time, by which time I had to go to the bathroom and refill on water... that is how the remaining hours went until my about 6pm when I decided that my safest option (both for my queezy stomach and my poor lunch choices).