It should have been easy, get up, catch plane, get to Dallas, fly to Lima. In bed by 1am. But no, they had to cancel my flight didn't they?
Getting to the airport three hours early was not early enough for them to say; "your flight will be cancelled, why not go on the earlier flight?" I watched that flight leave, THEN was told mine was cancelled and I needed to re-book.
"Oh" said the American Airlines rep., when discovering I was going to Lima. "You have two choices, do this all again tomorrow or I can get you down to Lima if you go via Miami. You can only get to Miami by flying through Dallas.
Eleven hours after I arrived at my first airport, I was finally on a flight to Lima. It was also the first time I had been offered anything more substantial to eat than cheesy flavoured nibbles.
Customs and baggage reclaim in Lima were a doddle, but it was now 4.50am and my taxi (booked for midnight) wasn't there. An Inspector Clouseau-a-like of a taxi driver, button-holed me, and I ended up getting my ride into Lima with him.
He lived up to all the hype of nutter driving I had heard so much about from my friends. The gaudy casinos went by in a blur whilst dodging and weaving through the early morning traffic. A fuel stop was needed, of which the fumes permeated the taxi - hence the drivers window being fully open despite the chill in the air.
Then, it happened. I knew it would. He had already tried to convince me that the Hostel I was staying at wasn't open (he "helped" me call them at the airport, but claimed the number was wrong). The load music on the radio was turned down. The car eased it's frenetic pace. "Your hotel very bad. Not open at this time of night. I have a very good hotel for you. Yes?"
"No. Take me to my hotel, Hotel Home Peru, Av. Arequipa 4501."
"No. Hotel Home Peru"
The manic driving went up a notch, red lights became an advisory of caution, not a requirement to stop.
Av. Arequipa was quiet, very quiet. "It isn't here. No hotel on this road, I take you to..."
"No. It is here, at the end of this block."
"No, I take you somewhere else."
"Here it is", I say; "Stop".
I have to admit that it didn't look like a Hotel or a Hostel. It looked like a yellow colonial house. No sign, just a number on the door.
I was a little worried.
Inspector Clouseau tried to shaft me, asking for a tip which was close to 50% of the fair. We haggled. I won.
On ringing the bell, a sleepy chap welcomed me in. It was indeed Hotel Home Peru. The Inspector followed. I decided to ignore him. Them it happened again. I just knew it would, though I haven't seen this in years. He asked for a commission! The total cheek. I already had a reservation, he didn't want to bring me here, he'd asked for an outrageous tip and now he wanted back-sheesh.
He was ignored. I got my room, a tiny room, just big enough for a small single bed, a chair and a bedside table. It was clean and only $7 a night. Perfect. I fell asleep in moments.