We land on time and the Peruvian authorities are surprisingly kind. Barely any questions asked, I get stamped to stay in the country for up to 183 days, the maximum without a visa, more than double the time I intend to be here. Despite the late hour ~it is well after midnight ~ the arrival hall has layers and layers of people thronging behind barricades, many holding up signs and I am pleased to discover my name on one. My host from the Ministry of Women ~ where I will be based for the next 2.5 months ~ is here, accompanied by a driver to get me to the B&B she has selected for me. We've been corresponding about my accommodation and I've tried to convey what I am after.
The entrance is sweet and, as it turns out, the best part. My room is on the ground floor ~ a single as it is not customary for a woman alone to get a room with a 'matrimony' bed . It has two horribly soft single beds and I find myself shuffling mattresses at 2:00 AM to figure out which one will do the least damage ~ already missing the pod and (almost fondly) thinking of the parkbench-like mattress in Bangladesh. In the sliver that is the bathroom I can barely squeeze past the sink to the toilet and shower, which is a mere drip ~ my introduction to Peru!