Vern: The overnight bus dropped us in Lima just before 6am and a taxi took us to our hostel shortly after that. Luckily the night-receptionist heard the door bell and checked us in at the crack of dawn. We crept into the dorm and went to sleep.
The hostel, strangely named HQ Villa, is a converted mansion built in the 80s with an out of fashion exterior but classic finishings, large reception rooms and mosaic courtyard give the house a grand manor feel. We liked it immensely, even more so because they served the breakfast buffet (which included porridge and fresh fruit) until noon.
We took a casual stroll down through upper class Miraflores to Kennedy Park - a bustling patch of green opposite a department store and McDonalds and could have been in any city in the western world. Back at the hostel we took over the couch and popped "The kids are alright" into the DVD player. The hostel was full of missionaries-in-training who'd taken over the courtyard that morning for bible study but were now scattered all over the common areas. The movie, as it turns out, has a lot of risqué scenes and we got occasional shocked looks from the evangelists so we found ourselves constantly adjusting the volume to avoid the embarrassing scenes upsetting everybody.
The following day we walked down to the cliffs which tower over the beach in Miraflores. A shiny casino, and a new shopping mall full of familiar chains have been built to capitalize on the views and were full of locals and tourists. A paraglider took advantage of the jump off point and floated about in the grey skies. It was pleasant but nothing to write blogs about. On our last day in Lima we wondered about the bohemian Barranco district, over the 'bridge of whispers' and past an ancient church: dilapidated and covered in ominous crows except for the front of the building which was restored and freshly painted. It was election day (Peruvians have to vote by law, near their place of birth, and are fined if they don't turn up) and some patrons in our restaurant cheered while others looked glum when they announced the leading candidate as the polls closed. Ollanta finally won with 51.5%, only narrowly beating the other second round candidate, Keiko, and Andrea noted that this would have definitely gone to a recount in the US! We wondered how long it would take to paint over the thousands of house-fronts painted with election messages we'd seen across the country now that it was all over.
We found discounted bus tickets for the executive-class Cruz Del Sul service and enjoyed the use of the first class lounge (in a bus station!!) before settling into la-z-boy-esque seats and watching three awful movies on the 21 hour ride to Cuzco.