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Newest club member

I'd slept like a log, Stef not so well. We both craved a good shower but it was not to be. Seems like its going to be a recurrent theme on this trip!!

We'd planned that we would spend today researching about Peru and planning our time here. Getting here a few weeks earlier, due to missing out Bolivia, means I'm not as prepared as I wanted to be and I don't think Stef is either.

Lonely Planet gave information about a voluntary organisation called the South American Explorers club which has offices in Lima, Cuzco and Quito - all places we're planning to go to. They provide information and help on what to do and how to get there, plus have a clubhouse that you can camp out in during the day to use their facilities. We signed up for a years membership and spent the next few hours there doing our research.

It’s a great place. There's loads of information and reference material as well as reports from other travellers (with the inevitable bias towards what went wrong rather than what worked well). There's comfy spaces that you can sit and read and free tea, coffee, water and internet access (including wireless) to keep you going while you plan. Its also handy for just meeting other people and sharing tales and recommendations. We hit information overload after we'd planned the first part of our stay and will probably end up there again when we next hit Lima in a couple of weeks.

As with Asunción when we first arrived we're still finding our feet. Our hotel (near to the gay only sauna!) had locked gates in front of it. So do all of the houses around the SAE club. It again makes me wary. We asked if it was safe to walk around the Miraflores area at night and got a "yes, as long as there are other people around" reply. Logically, this is what we would say to people new into London but it leaves a lingering doubt. It made me take a fresh perspective on how daunting London must seem to people who don't know if, especially if they don't speak English. We take it for granted that we know which bus/tube/taxi/train is OK to travel on. Here in Lima we still haven't a clue!!

On our way to SAE we passed a small park and headed back there for an evening drink. This was after an abortive attempt to send some guide books and leaflets back home - at US$160 it would cost us less to buy them all again when we're back. We also had a failed attempt to buy our bus tickets for tomorrow. Despite the SAE saying we could buy bus tickets at Wong's supermarket (about a 15 minute walk from where we were), Wong's didn't sell them

By the time we hit the cafe we felt we'd earned a drink or two. The Pisco's (local speciality) were great and we relaxed into people watching mode, or rather car watching. In front of us people we're parking in spaces that had been laid out ridiculously small, requiring some pretty smart bodily contortions by the drivers to enable them to get out of their cars.

Heading back to the hotel later we felt perfectly safe - perhaps we're already just starting to tune in to a Peruvian rhythm.