Well what can I say, this wasn’t exactly the best start to my 3rd trip to Peru. Firstly my flight from Chicago to Miami got delayed which caused me to miss my flights from Miami-Lima and Lima to Tacna. Only benefit was American Airlines paid for my hotel and probably the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in, it was like a mini studio flat. But that wasn’t the only issue even though the American Airlines representative said just go to hotel and we will put your suitcase on the flight you’re on, I had the suspicion my suitcase wouldn’t be carried over. Which when I arrived to Lima my suspicions came true my suitcase was still in Miami so it meant I had no clean clothes for four days, absolutely frustrating to say the least.
I finally got to my destination in Tacna on the Thursday, 24 hours to what I was originally meant to land but as well without a suitcase but managed to pick up some clothes before I arrived it was a great moment yet again meeting up with Gabbi at the airport a moment that can be cherished and meeting up with my 2nd family again much memories I knew were going to be shared. The first thing I noticed stepping out of the airport was how different the temperature was from my last visit as it is currently winter in July for Peru. For our first night we went to see Now You See Me 2 at the local cinema even though I felt like the walking dead but it was something I definitely needed after all this hell. I finally received my suitcase on the Friday which was a relief and I definitely needed especially as the Saturday I needed my suit. On Saturday evening I attended my girlfriends graduation celebration, I did wonder how many British have attended a similar ceremony for Tacna’s university graduation celebrations I may have been only a handful of ‘gringos’. My Spanish ability is still quite low so listening to the speech’s felt like talking to a dog about science. The food was adequate for the celebration especially as majority of the attendees would want to dance so no point having a full stomach. Each graduate attending had a family table and was enjoyable sat in a different environment. Each of the graduate and partners had to enter the ceremony and get announced and I felt like either one of us was going to fall or my name would be announced the Spanish way, but thankfully nothing went wrong in that moment. It was an enjoyable evening and even showing of my crappy English dancing as Gabbi likes to say.
On this trip we went to many restaurants and tried many foods. I think I have a new favourite breakfast which is Lomo saltado which gives you energy you need for the start of the day. Other foods I tried were ceviche, pollo a la brasa, barbecue, chicharron de pescado and pollo al horno con arroz curry. For one morning we went to Gabbi’s gym which she enjoys doing the dance class, which I had already embarrassed myself on the dancefloor of the graduation evening I wasn’t going to do it in a dance class so I just decided to go on the machines.
One on special evening we decided to go to a restaurant with the whole family as I hadn’t had much chance to speak to the farther so we decided to go and speak about our future and our plans and more about myself which was a lovely meal to understand the family better and how Peruvians live their lives compared to English.
For one afternoon we booked on a trip to tour around Tacna which we visited first to the Pocollay district at first, starting into a small factory of wine and pisco, I tried many types of pisco and the strongest for me was the Pisco Acholado, then we went for a bit to see a small church in the Pachi district, they told us that Tacna was from Chile for 40 years and it was against the law to tell people to be Peruvians again, and this particular church was painted with the Peruvian flag colors, so then it was simple way to not let the people forget their own country, after it our guide took us to Miculla, which is a place that has many rocks with some drawing showing that in the past Tacna was a central fair for the people in the past, u could see some rocks with special drawing some very delicate or rough, its amazing how so many cultures arrived here like some has some drawings of moneys which means they were from the Amazon, or like the Suri which is a bird from the Highland of Peru, etc. Finally we went to the Bridge which feel unsafe at times but its part of the adventure, we arrive to a central side of this dessert and we screamed and you can hear the eco and how it changes if you stand up in different parts of that place, something funny was that the guide picked one guy to scream and another tourist from the other side of another group answered and that made us laugh.
Another great evening was the actual graduation for Gabbi it was a lovely celebration to celebrate for all the students that studied a business degree, another moment of trying to understand Spanish and a moment im proud of when Gabi went across the stage. After the graduation we went for great barbecue which we all needed and then she told me that all her friends were talking about my dancing skills, it looks like everybody found cute of me dancing almost all night for Gabbi even though I didn’t have much idea of the moves. Then we decided to go to one of Gabb’s friend’s house and later on clubbing once again showing of my amazing dance skills. I’ve noticed however going dancing there seems to be more rhythm and steps to dancing in Peru rather than dance how you feel which is muchly experienced in England.
On the Saturday we decided to travel to Ilo which felt great been back here and felt like a relaxing times ahead. One of the things I noticed more in Ilo was the amount of Peruvian flags seemed to be more. The reason for this was Independence Day 28th July was upcoming as well as the sworn in of the new president of Peru PPK. We had a revisit to the beach and the main square of Peru as well as the harbour of Ilo and as well the good thing is Gabi’s dogs remembered me as they know I used to pay them allot of attention.
One of the days in Ilo we decided to visit Arequipa which it has been nearly a year since I last visited and was great place to visit again. It took 3 hours to get to Arequipa and we definitely needed some breakfast to begin with. We then visited a church which was amazingly beautiful and after we walked to the main square to take in the sun and some relaxing time during which I took some photos. We had a walk around the cathedral in the main square and then took some lunch looking over the main square which was beautiful as well as been entertained by Peruvian music. Afterwards we had a walk around to take in some sites and we went to the Mitchell Lama’s site in Arequipa. The man who owned this site is from England ironically. It was a beautiful place to be and seeing how the wool is produced and seeing an art gallery too. After this we went to the mall to do some shopping and then we decided to call it a day as it felt very long. The only annoying thing is the journey back took more than 4 hours but I was thankful when we got back. But it was an enjoyable day.
On the Thursday it was Independence Day for Peru which meant a holiday for everyone, and majority of businesses were closed. I witnessed live on TV the Official Swearing of the new president PPK, which felt cool been in the country at the time of this happening and it felt like a peaceful quiet time for Peru to celebrate and reflect on the past and Future. For the afternoon we went on a walk along the beach as it would be my last time and had some picarones for the last time. For the evening we decided to have a barbecue with the family which was my last meal with the family and was a relaxing and enjoyable day.
As with all great trips they come to an end, on my last day I had to be up for 530 am not the most ideal time especially when I have a long time flying back. We travelled from Ilo to Tacna in a bus and we had our last meal together, im not sure if was nerves but just couldn’t eat. I had my final moments with Gabi which are heartbreaking to say the least and got my plane successfully from Tacna to Lima and then Lima to New York without any issue just how tiring the journey has been is the issue. I finally arrived to Manchester after watching Eddie the Eagle film on the plane which there were no issues apart from setting of late and finally home after the 2nd longest journey I’ve ever taken.
Lastly I would like to send my appreciation to Gabriela’s family for allowing me to stay and hope this relationship continues strongly with the family and hope to return however it could be October 2017 by time this happens.
In conclusion considering the hell of going it was a great and relaxing trip been back to Peru and spending some quality time and as well we both now have commitment rings not engaged just yet 🙂