We’ve landed in Lima at 6 o’clock in the morning just to find out that our internal flight to Tarapoto was delayed from 11 to 12:30. We then said to ourselves, we’ve already been in airports for the last 18 hours, why don’t we just take a short visit to the city.
We took one of the overwhelmingly smiling taxi drivers buzzing in the airport that showed us the official 45 soles (12 Euros) tariff to the city center and then get into his pretty clean black Hyundai. The traffic was as from another continent as it can be. If I’ll ever say something bad about Bucharest rush hour inferno, please make me remember the time in Lima. Even if the streets looked much more humane that Romanian ones, the cars were something like a car dumpster in a Wacky Racers cartoon. First aid kit glued to a back door window, car number painted black and yellow on each side and I do not know for what reason all the drivers had the constant need to hunk all the time they pass another car.
The city periphery looked more like a battlefield in reconstruction and at every corner people were selling “Jugo (juice) medicinal” of the most exotic fruits ever. After 45 minutes of “oh my god he almost crashed into us”, we’ve finally arrived in the center. A relatively big evangelic church, a heavily guarded city hall with some sort of parade that nobody was able to see because of the distance police made clear not to cross, and a teleton show with half naked jumping santa-dressed girls asking money for some well intended reason. They made it to 300 000 soles!
We shortly had enough and we’ve decided to eat something. The guys choose for my sake a vegetarian so called restaurant, that looked more like a boucherie to me, thou a huge mural painting with Adam and Eve apple moment gave a sort of strange deepness. I’ve babbled something about a tortilla, a mixed veggie salad and pineapple Jugo, the guys sticked with sandwiches.
And then we’ve waited, especially me! The fresh squeezed drinks came, the sandwiches came, the salad also…. but not the tortilla… The impatience grew, everybody finished except me and my dammed tortilla! One hour and a half to the plane departure… This was not good! The guys wanted to look cool, thou they were constantly watching the time and me… Tortilla or no tortilla we’ve decided to leave!
First taxi we’ve encountered told us he doesn’t do the airport! Are you crazy? Who’s ever heard about taxis not doing airports? Second one the same… heart was pumping! One hour and 10 minutes to the plane departure… The fifth taxi finally decided to take us. It seems that they need some sort of permit to enter the airport and only special ones have them. Our driver understood the urgency of our cause and accelerated, he told us we will arrive in 40 minutes! We started to feel more relaxed but not for long because after 5 minutes of driving we’ve entered the madness! The most incredible car blockage I have ever seen, just on the way to our one hour departure plane! The cars didn’t move for minutes! Our hearts started beating faster, no more jokes, no more nothing! The driver tried everything humanly possible except jumping the cars! The road didn’t seem to finish, no sign to indicate the vicinity of the airport. 30 minutes to the plane departure! The first “will not going to catch it” came… Then first airport sign appeared! ” Maybe there is a chance ” popped in our minds, but then the driver told us that he hasn’t that airport permit as well and he is going to leave us outside the airport gates. 13 minutes to plane departure …
Taxi doors opens and three crazy looking guys start to run like mad. Of course the departure flights were on the other side from were we’ve been dropped off! 10 minutes to plane departure… I jumped the fences and went straight through the car parking lot, repeating myself: “whoever gets first keeps the plane in place for the other to arrive!
“To Tarapoto ??!!!” I ask desperate the info lady: “on the left side but there is no chance you’ll catch it… you still have to….” she didn’t finish her sentence ! I was long way on the left corridor. What she meant was that we still had to pay an airport tax, cross the security filter, check the handbags, and do the boarding thing! 7 minutes to plane departure…
At the tax paying counter the girl didn’t know any English word, I didn’t recollect any of my Latin associated words that she was trying to tell me. Then Norin and Lorraine arrived. We gave her whatever sum she wanted and in return she gave us some sort of sticky bar code for the boarding pass. The guys immediately passed the check up ticket filter putting the code bar thingy in front of those beam devices that you find also in supermarkets. Ok…now my turn… Error! What?? Error again!!! 5 minutes to airplane departure. My little bar code bugger was bended while sticked on the boarding pass, and when the tax lady tried to unbend it, she tiered apart the sticky thing letting in place something like when you want to take price tags from presents. I went mad!!! The guys already were on the handbags check filter and I was still on the ticket check up side. I hysterically shouted to Norin and throw him 10 m into the air my backpack so he can take care of it while I was taking care of myself. I then turned immediately to the lady who sticked the damn thing in the first place and desperately showed her what was left of it. She didn’t seem to mind, there was nothing to do about it. WHAT?!! You must be joking meee!!! Then the supervisor took the bugger and tried the old fashion supermarket thing- write the incomprehensive number next to the bar code. First time nothing…actually nothing happened… the dude forgot to push the Num Lock button. Once the button pressed we’ve started the guessing! Is that a 3 or a 9, looks like a 5 thou… nevertheless let’s press 0. Ten digits later a green blinking thing allowed me to pass! HE DID IT, the guy amazingly did it!
I’ve then jumped every “stay in line fence” while undressing myself, put my things in those trolley baskets, pass the magnetic filter without any bip in the way, take my things and the backpack back, and start running in my socks! And then it stroked me! Where am I running to??!! This thought became a desperate high pitch scream. Fortunately Lorraine heard it and a vaguely “gate 10″ cross upon my years. I’ve entered that tunnel which binds the terminal with the airplane and god-giving stewardess smiley faces welcomed me to flight to Tarapoto. Seeing me in such of exhaustion, soaking wet dazzled state the poor things immediately offered me some water or if I needed some medicine. I could not babble anything, I just remember the terrifying faces of the 1st class passengers once they saw me entering the plane- I don’t know for what reason I pretty much enjoyed their reaction. I took a seat, and while buckling my seatbelt the plane departed!
Time to breath…