5 September 2013

Arrival in Lima

I've been in South America for a week now, a week spent with Gil and Henry (her boyfriend), spending the time in Lima, Huaraz and back to Lima.

I arrived in Lima after an all too short period of time in Miami. It was great to see Rick, Dani and the kids again, but a real shame to have such a short period of time with them.
Apologies to my other friends in the USA, the flight routing to Lima just took me that way.

I arrived in Peru having spent 33 hours flying from Beijing (via London and Miami) and with a 14 hour time difference from Mongolia. The stop in London, well - Reading, with a quick trip into London - was fantastic - days longer than I'd expected as I managed to change my flight (I originally had 23 hours in London, which I managed to turn into 4.5 days), but just not long enough.
One of the things I haven really learnt about myself over the last 4 months of travelling, of being away from home, is what is important to me. Whilst I've always know that My People were important to me, it's only when you are away from them for 4 months does its really hit home. Alas you can't live The Dream of travelling the world without leaving home. 

Back to the arrival in Peru....
Having arrived doing a fair impression of a zombie I had to deal with immigration. This was a very simple process and one which should have caused no issues - had I been something other than a zombie there wouldn't have been any issues. 

Immigration Officer: "how long are you in Peru for?"
Me: "er...."
At this point I need to introduce my thought process...
I'm in South America for 3 months and I'm probably visiting 3 countries, although it might be 4. It's about a month per country. Easy.
Me: ".... I oh, about 30-40 days"
Immigration Officer: "ok"
The immigration officer stamps me into the country and gives me 30 days. I wonder off from the desk towards Duty Free when I realised what an idiot I'd been.... I am in South America for 3 months, but most of that time is in Peru; 6-7 weeks in total - far more than 30 days. Bugger.

I go back to the desk. Cue some interesting discussions with the immigration officer about the mistake I've made, how it is my mistake (playing the bumbling, over polite, Englishman helps at times) and is there anything which can be done. 

She then spends a good 10-15 min talking with people about what can be done, as apparently this hasn't happened before.
In the end she takes my passport and adds a 1 to the existing 30, giving me 130 days in country (and updated the computer).
Having been on of the first off the plane I was the last out of immigration and they were about to take my luggage away as uncollected as I got too baggage reclaim.
One quick scan of all my luggage later by Customs and I'm done.

Hello Gil.

After nearly 9 months I'm with my friend Gil, which is a deeply wonderful thing.

We head back to Henry's place (also at the airport, which was a nice surprise) for some food and the beginnings of a damn good catchup.