A favourable twist of events coincides with the wait for the slave cylinder with our much anticipated trip to the Amazon Jungle with Doug and Pat. (Brother and sister in-law)
Cath has done a super job arranging flights, Amazon package and general coordination.
We arrive at Santiago airport, en route to Lima (where we plan to meet Doug and Pat), check in……..and are foiled at customs when my entrance ticket showed a black stamp indicating that I arrived by bike.
There and then customs bumps me off the flight and tells me in no unclear terms that I need to bring the bike mechanic to the airport, sign that he has the bike and then carry on. This is bizarre, its 6am in the morning; I have been kicked off my flight at the last minute and have lost the opportunity to even change the flight, I need to find the mechanic ASAP, bring him to this customs guy, then find another flight to Lima in order to hook up with the family so that we can still be in Iquitos the next morning by 9am; all this on a Saturday morning!
So I say goodbye to my wife who gets on a plane from Santiago to Lima. She takes all the luggage so I am left with my iPad and some cash.
My dear mechanic friend speaks zero English. Back to the hostel where a really nice guy at reception does some translation and we are set to go to the airport with the mechanic. At customs, all it involved was literally the customs guy clapping eyes on the mechanic and scratching all over the bike papers! But here’s the thing – I needed to do this all in reverse when we return to Santiago!
After much money and Skype calling Peru I got on a late afternoon flight to Lima, missed the connection and caught the red-eye the next morning!
Suddenly very money conscious I decided that it’s silly to rent a room for the night in Lima so I spent the whole night wandering around downtown Lima in a district called Miralfores, specifically around the entertainment centre called Larcomar. On the way back to airport at 3 am the taxi driver took pity on me and he and I fell asleep, in his taxi, outside the airport for an hour while he waited for his next load of passengers at 4am!
Off to meet the family hopefully in the morning…