In the morning we arrive early at the tour company office for part-two of our tour. There are other people with us this time. A speed boat takes us from the harbour, where fish are being unloaded from small fishing vessels, to the Ballestos Islands. The ride is wet and windy, and perhaps marginally less bumpy than the train ride from Cusco to Puno. The guide gives us a tarpaulin to hold out along the wind-ward side of the boat to help reduce the drenching from the spray. The first island is a bit of a disappointment—there are only pelicans and a few smaller birds. On a small beach pounded by waves, a couple of sea lions bravely huddle together. The “Grey Islands” are much more of a success. A colony of young seals is in residence, along with many birds including boobies, two penguins, inca terns, and the ubiquitous pelicans.
We are back in Pisco by mid-morning, but just too late to catch the earlier bus back to Lima. I am not too upset—it gives time for a leasurely breakfast at a small café with a large video screen playing footage from a hilariously awful pop concert given by a middle-aged woman accompanied by an aged accordian player. The audience are loving it. After breakfast, we still have some time to kill before our bus leaves, and so I sit in the main plaza listening to tinny cover songs piped out from the pale blue and white Municipal Palace, apparently noted for being one of only a handful of buildings built in this specific Arab style. Well, there you go.
We decide to find somewhere to stay in the more up-market quarter of Lima, Miraflores. Again, we have a little difficulty in finding a room. Our first choice of hotel turns out to be full, but we find a nice hotel not too far away, El Camella. None of us is in a mood to be too fussy, but it turns out to be a good place. At twenty dollars each per night, it is a bit more pricy than we have become accustomed to, but we appreciate the comfortable beds and copious hot water.
It is not far to walk to the evening market in Miraflores Central Park, although none of us is much impressed by what we see on offer. Although there is nothing to object to in the quality of the wares, none of it seems particularly Peruvian. Dinner is in an expensive restaurant on the main street. This turns out to be a mistake. Jay’s and John’s steaks arrive rare when they had asked for them to be well done. My “medium” steak is almost black and as dry as anything. The waiter then manages to get the order for desserts wrong. It later transpires that they do not have the strawberries and cream ordered by Jay, John, and James in any case. Perhaps they thought that we would not know what we had ordered.