David Coveney

The other half – Partying in Peru

Guard's station at Asia BeachWhen you travel you try and do everything on a budget. It’s expensive, after all, to stay in a hotel every night, eat out all the time, and pay for buses and flights. But for the past few days I was invited to the beach house of the family I know in Lima (names preserved for a spot of privacy!). They have a beautiful house they’ve just had built at a resort about 100km from Lima. It’s that far away in order to make it difficult for trouble to turn up, and it’s also very heavily secured so that people can relax without worrying about crime. Most houses in Limas are like living in a bank – their windows barred and with secure doors everywhere. At the resort you can leave your pushbike outside without locking it, the doors to houses are often unlocked and open… it just feels very safe after the cities.

But of course, after a while you realise there’s not a lot to do other than relax. I took my walks to a boulevard about five dusty kilometres away along a dirt road. I like a little exercise now and then. At the boulevard you had shops full of European and American goods, free internet, and again lots of security and it still felt very safe. It was nice to be able to leave my mobile phone out without worrying about it being snatched, for example.

The nightlife there only existed at the weekends and it was fascinating to see the difference between this place and a typical Peruvian city. It felt like I’d been transported to Barcelona! The hours are similar (ie, it gets going around midnight) and the bars and clubs similar. And the people too – because it’s mostly the wealthy and elite it favours people with more money and spare time and in Peru that’s usually (but not always) people of European or Latino descent rather than indiginous indians who anyway have their own culture and nightlife. So suddenly both the men and women are taller and slimmer and better looking to my European biased eyes. Not representative of Peru, but representative of a fair chunk.

Moving on, alone…

But now I’m looking forward to some more exploring. First I go to Tacna, hopefully today, and then on to Arica in Chile before doing some national park exploring. The current plan is Lauca National Park, Atacama, Santiago and Chiloe.

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