Something that makes me chuckle when I’m travelling is when people say that they’ve ‘done’ a place.
People say that they’ve ‘done’ Rio, or ‘done’ Iguazu Falls, or even that they have ‘done’ South America (which I’ll no doubt be the embodiment of hypocrisy for when I get home).
But to say that you’ve done a place sounds like you’ve completed a level of Super Mario after breaching Bowser’s castle before bouncing off the big boss’s head twenty-seven times.
However, even when you complete a level in Mario’s magic kingdom there are still hundreds of coins and bonuses that you can’t go back and collect.
In other words, a level is never truly complete, and in a similar vein, a place is never truly ‘done’, because when the time comes to leave there are still hundreds of things you haven’t done and haven’t seen.
And to be honest, I’m just trying to excuse the fact that I’ve spent the last couple of days in Peru’s capital without exploring much further than the four walls of my hostel.
Before that, however, was the very small matter (just a night, in fact) of a trip to Huacachina, a small desert oasis village in the middle of miles and miles of sandy dunes.
Naturally, the town isn’t renowned for skiing, but is extremely popular with backpackers for sandboarding and dune buggying, and most hostels do their best to offer a room + dune tour combo.
While sandboarding sounds like bundles of fun on paper, unlike the French alps the desert doesn’t have chairlifts, which means after the twelfth rendition of eating sand and hauling yourself and your board back up a giant sand dune in the sweltering heat, the routine can become slightly disheartening.
It is still, however, a bit of a novelty to ride down the Peruvian desert on a plank of wood, and even more fun to be ushered around the sand dunes in a buggy by a mad man driven on by tips and intent on getting as much airtime as possible as he revs over the top of every pile of sand.
Slipping and sliding around the desert aside, however, there isn’t that much to do in Huacachina, meaning that it’s quite handy to have the monstrous city of Lima just a few hours down the road.
But if you’re reading this hoping for a rundown of places to go, things to see, and where to eat in the Peruvian capital, I’m warning you to stop reading now.
The first thing that you notice venturing into the city is how overwhelmingly big it is and, to be honest, as soon as I realised that Lima was just another large capital I lost interest in delving much further into it.
Operating on a continuously tight schedule and having already been to the likes of Rio, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, and La Paz, the prospect of tackling another huge hub of businesses, cathedrals, and museums really wasn’t all that appealing.
Barranco is a quiet, pricey LA like district on the coast with some great ceviche restaurants enclosed by high rise apartments, while Miraflores is where you’ll find the hustle and bustle of the city with a number of bars and clubs which make Lima one of the best nights out on the continent.
Sadly, however, that and my Uber driver pointing out the national football stadium en route to the bus station was as far as I got.
In some cases you have to admit defeat and accept that two days simply isn’t enough to get one of the biggest cities in South America ‘done’, and sometimes when you’re travelling it really is a case of just passing through.
Next stop, a long way north to the surfer town of Máncora. Until then.