If this trip is intended to be arduous and challenging, I guess I'm easing my way in. Right now, I'm ensconced in Lan Chile's VIP lounge in Santiago, during a 7-hour layover before my flight to Lima.
As everyone was moving into the transit lounge, someone from Lan was handing out fliers saying they've "extended their VIP access" to all their passengers, andfor only US $18, we too could enjoy the comfy surroundings, showers and free internet.
After having a wander round the transit area and figuring that I would probably spend close to that much on food and internet anyway, I decided to go for it. After just taking a hot shower and getting myself cleaned up, I've confirmed that it was a very good idea.
Didn't get much sleep the night before leaving, and then the trip to Auckland, check in etc took up the rest of the day. The flight to Santiago was, once again, sleepless, due to the overheated cabin (what is it with Chilean travel companies and wacking up the heating?), a bit of turbulence just when I was dropping off, and I think the fact that that the Airbus jets which seem popuar with all and sundry now, have significantly less space than the Boeings ("cattle class" seems appropriate).
Some of the sheer magic of travel seems to have gone for me now. I used to get a tremendous buzz just getting on any plane that was leaving the country, but up till now it's all seemed pretty routine. However, some of that may be due to the fact that I'm not yet on the way to my final destination.
On the way over, sat next to an Argentinian girl who had been coaching the junior Argentinian women's aerobic gymnastics team at world championships in Japan. She was a full-time phys ed teacher as well, and was heading back to start work again tomorrow morning, massive jet lag and all.
I thankfully will be spared any commitments to early morning activity for the present. I will try and make the most of my time in Lima by going to see the gold museum, so will be pushing though a bit until I manage to grab a night bus to Arequipa (hopefully Thursday). Then, dios mio, am I going to sleep. Perhaps a nice quiet double room at the Casa la Reyna hostel, putting off Hugo and Lizbeth's invitation to come and stay at their place for a couple of days...
I'm hoping that my posts will gradually get more interesting from here.