Wednesday 28 March 2018

And so to Lima. Biking Birder IV - Peru 2018

A taxi takes me Manchester Airport. A great service, www.eazycarz,uk .  Thank you Richard. 

A problem with the bike box. It won't go through the excess baggage area as it is too large. I have to return to check in to await someone to take it via another route. I have fun asking people in the check in queue to sign the box with a felt pen. Two musicians of a Trad Jazz band do so, as do a family from Jerusalem. The check in assistants take turns to climb over from their desks to sign. I photograph them.

Eventually the box is taken away and at last I can get through security. It takes forty five minutes to do so! This leaves me ten minutes to get to my boarding gate! Oh great, I might just miss the first flight.
I don't. All is well as I calm down in my seat with panic over. We taxi out and take off into the darkening sky, heading west towards Liverpool before turning east.

Arriving at Schipol Airport I take a taxi to my hotel, the Hampton in Hilton.

A night in a hotel and a coach to the airport, vegan sandwiches, tasty too, available from a shop near to terminal F7 and news that the flight to Lima is delayed by fifteen minutes due to the early morning fog. I sit and wait with sandwich and book.

The book is Mother of God by Paul Rosalie and I read about his adoption of a young Giant Anteater. Fascinating book, Paul's description of an adult Giant Anteater and it's ability to dismember dogs and people with violent ferocity, using it's razor-sharp six inch claws, strikes a cautionary note within me. Will I encounter one during my jungle months?
A big surprise when someone comes behind me and says “hello.” I turn to find Dr Rob Williams. Rob has been helping with advice and contacts in Peru and it is great to see him. Rob takes me over to his family; his wife, Father-in-law and three sons. There are on the same flight to Lima.

Onboard and in the air, we soon fly high over The North Sea and London. Then I recognise Hurst Castle on The Solent and tear up as Swanage comes into view. It was in this delightful seaside town that my late wife, Karen and I lived.

Out over The Atlantic and over the southernmost of The Azorean islands.
An eleven hour flight, Amsterdam to Lima, where many hours are spent at 30,000 feet over The Atlantic, it is lovely to see the coastline of Guyana. South America is reached yet there are still four hours of flight time left.

The Amazon, snow-capped mountains, thunderstorm clouds that stretch higher than we are flying and finally a descent, we land at Lima airport, Peru!
An hour wait once passport is stamped for the bike box but there it is and all in one piece. Mani, a close Peruvian friend, is waiting for me at the exit and we are soon in the San Isidro home. Katia, Luisfer, Nicholas are sitting after their huge hugs with their three dogs. Tani, the family's home help smiles here large smile as she greets me once more. We talk until eleven. It is five in the morning in the UK. A thirty hour day, I go to bed.

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