- American Airlines Admirals Club New York JFK
- LAN Business Class: New York to Lima
- LAN Economy Class: Lima to Cusco
- Machu Picchu
- LAN Economy Class: Cusco to Lima
- Radisson Decapolis Miraflores
- SUMAQ Lounge Lima
- LAN Business Class Lima to Easter Island
- Easter Island
- LAN Business Class: Easter Island to Santiago
- LAN Neruda Lounge Santiago
- LAN Business Class: Santiago to Lima
- LAN Business Class: Lima to New York
- Yotel New York City
- American Airlines Transcontinental Business Class: New York to Los Angeles
I was able to get a 2pm late check out from the hotel, and wandered around Miraflores for a few hours. While it is a nice area, I soon got bored of wandering around, and after a quick dinner, decided to head to the airport at 7pm rather than my planned 9pm.
I got my stored baggage from the front desk. They offered a car service for about US$30 but that seemed kind of expensive to me. I looked in my wallet and found I had only 50 Soles (US$18) in cash left, which should be enough for a taxi. The front desk rep helped me flag down a taxi and found a driver who at first asked for 60 Soles. I got him down to 50, which was more than Taxi Green, but what would I do with orphan Soles?
I’ve heard the horror stories of Lima taxis, and tried to be as cautious as possible, starting with keeping my entire luggage, including backpack, in the trunk. I surreptitiously pulled out the 50 Soles from my wallet and kept them in a separate pocket, away from my USD and EUR, and kept my cell phone in my hand, just in case.
At first, the driver seemed pretty amiable. We made small talk in Spanish, and realized some minutes into the drive that we had actually spoken earlier in the day at the ruins in Miraflores. He had asked if I needed a ride and I had responded, “Prefiero caminar, gracias.” We had a laugh and realized how small the city is. On that same tour, I met a retired gentleman who had attended my high school back home 46 years before myself. What a small world.
With a view of the sunset over the Pacific, we made our way to LIM. I still kept an eye on where we were going, just to make sure the driver didn’t try anything funny. Upon arrival at the airport, he got my bags out of the trunk. I had the S/50 in one hand and was contemplating giving a small tip in USD, as he seemed nice during the drive. But when I handed over the cash with a “bueno, cincuenta,” he burst out in anger – “no! sesenta!” Sorry, buddy, just lost your tip. “Me dijo en el hotel cincuenta, señor. Adios.” Good thing I already had my bags. Next time, I’ll take the hotel’s car. What a sour note to leave a country on.
Put off by the incident, I rushed into the terminal and found the LAN business line. Check-in took all of about 4 minutes, and it wasn’t until the end that I realized that I’d conversed with 3 agents all in Spanish. I did my high school teachers proud. I had checked-in online at 48 hours, but was unable to get a window seat at all, as I wanted one on the left side. Fortunately, the agent gave me 1L, the bulkhead starboard window. Oh well, at least I’ll have a view. “La pasilla no está ocupada,” she must have said, because I didn’t realize until boarding that I’d have the aisle seat empty.
Again, I cannot say how much I love security procedures in Peru. As this was an international flight, I did have to follow the liquids and laptop rules at security, but I still kept my shoes on. I had a quick run through immigration, where I was able to see the agent’s screen due to the placement of his monitor. Now I know what shows up when they swipe my passport … glad to know I’m not on any INTERPOL lists. Off to the SUMAQ lounge opposite Gate 17.
At first glance, this lounge seems nice. A lot of seating for a large bank of evening departures, well-stocked drinks bar, business center, and even an outdoor area (albeit with no real view). However, power ports are nowhere to be found save a few spots along the wall and in the business center. As I had arrived when many flights were leaving, all the seats inside were taken, so I sat outside. Too bad it was filled with smokers. Yech.
There are 4 SUMAQ wifi networks, but no one seating area of the club seems to have a signal with fast enough speed. In fact, I found better coverage via a free network on the concourse. What a pity for the lounge. I also tried to get a few Zzzz’s in the “quiet room,” but there was such a large amount of noise coming from the main lounge that there was no point.
After a brief survey of the food options, I realized how lacking they were. The one cool feature is an orange juicer, in which you can place 3-4 whole oranges and watch the process through the machine’s window. I tried taking a video and some photos shortly before leaving, when the lounge was empty between flights, but got yelled at by the lounge attendant. Although I don’t think the only other person in the area, a loudmouth on his cell phone talking about “a major deal,” was too concerned about his privacy. I left the lounge soon after, seeing their multiple awards on the way out. Who voted for these guys? What a lousy lounge. I’m surprised LAN doesn’t have their own lounge for what is one of their hubs.
Since LAN 848 boarded at Gate 22, I was able to see all of LIM’s international concourse. Count me impressed with the offerings here. I usually fly out of LAX, so it’s easy to impress me. I liked the terminal more than the SUMAQ.