It may have taken over 40 hours but I finally arrived in Lima! After flying from Honolulu to Dallas I had a five hour layover until I boarded my next flight to Miami. Once I reached Miami it was about 6pm and I went straight to my hostel in South Beach to zonk out. I was booked in at SoBe Hostel which was a cool, cheap hostel right in South Beach. What I didn’t realise was that this place was a major party hostel so my dreams of a good nights sleep went right out the window!
The following morning I woke and went to find brekkie and have a little explore. South Beach was exactly how I pictured it, lots of Jersey Shore-esque type clothing stores, lots of bars and clubs and lots of overly made up looking people. But my flight was at 3pm so by 11am I was heading back out to Miami International Airport – running on about 4 hours sleep. My flight to Lima was 7 hours long and was actually really good, Avianca Airlines put on the goods! Arriving into Lima at around 10pm at night was kind of daunting. The thought of a new city, new country and new continent hit all at once as I waited to disembark the plane. For the first time since I left Australian soil I didn’t want to race of the plane, I wasn’t ready to put my big girl pants on and find my way around this strange new place. However as I was herded through customs and baggage collection (which was very nicely marked out by the way) that inkling of excitement started to squash the nerves.
Originally I was supposed to arrive at 1am in the morning but my flight had been changed to earlier so my arranged pick-up wasn’t there. I had heard many stories about how dangerous Lima is and about all the dodgy taxi drivers so I was hesitant to go with one of the many taxi drivers offering rides at the arrivals gate. However, not wanting to sit around until 1am, I ignored the warning voices in my head and negotiated a price with one of the authorised taxi drivers. Keeping my guard up from the moment I left the airport doors, I was on the look out for any suss movements. The poor taxi driver must have thought I was an absolute weirdo as I clutched my belongings for dear life and sat on the edge of the seat. I needn’t have worried, the taxi driver took me all the way to Miraflores and carried my bags to the hostel door. He was polite, courteous and in no way dodgy. I was starting to think these stories about how dangerous Lima is were slightly exaggerated.
Walking into the Dragonfly Hostel I was now excited. This was going to be my new home for the next two weeks while I volunteered with them. I had found them through Workaway, which I personally think is the best and cheapest way to arrange volunteering around the world. I met the manager Sergio and found out I would be helping out at the bar and with reception and housekeeping in exchange for free accommodation and half price on everything else. Sounds good to me! I fell into bed around 11:30pm and slept soundly til the following morning.
I woke early due to the heat and the loud noises from the street below. What I would later become accustomed to was the endless sounds of traffic and car alarms. Lima never really slept, which after peaceful nights in Hawaii – it would take some getting used to.
I spent the day down by the beach with some new friends from the hostel. I got severely burnt and helped cook the most delicious spaghetti ever! I chilled out on the rooftop, enjoying the breeze and finally reading the books I had brought until 6pm when I started my first shift.
The work was easy, I just had to talk to other guests, get drinks, take money and keep the bar tidy. I was working with another volunteer from Argentina and despite his broken English we got along great. When I got to bed around 11:30pm I was happy with the day I’d had. The next two weeks were looking promising (minus the car alarms) and I was keen to see what they brought.