(An update on Owen, for anyone who hasn’t heard the jungle drums beating. Poor little chap’s had to have his appendix removed 🙁 poor Polly too for having to deal with all this without me there to support her 🙁 I spoke to her briefly this morning – quite by chance as I was packing & all of a sudden my iPad lit up & there was my Polly Waddle on FaceTime! She hasn’t slept much at all & looked shattered bless her, my heart really went out to her but what can I do?

Anyway, they’re keeping him in for a couple of days to check he’s recovering ok after the op & Polly is able to stay at the hospital with him in a bed next to him. From what I can gather though, not much rest will be had as the children’s ward is very busy & full of, believe it or not, poorly children. Poorly children, like grown men, don’t do ‘poorly’ very well, so you can imagine the din…!

Please keep them both in your prayers & that my journey home would be swift & without complication. I’m itching to be home now…)

Well, what to say about today? A funny day really. The mood remained reflective as we knew tomorrow would be departure day & the experience would be over. Our flight from the Amazon back to Lima had been brought forward, so we were back at the Hotel Britania (the same hotel we had stayed at when we first arrived, seemingly so long ago!) earlier than originally expected. As I sit here writing (the day after), even that seems so long ago now…

We dumped bags & each headed off to do our own thing for a few hours. Buoyed with confidence now after being here for 3 weeks, Mike, John, Ruth & I set off on foot to explore Lima again – hoping this time not to get lost & repeat the debacle of day 1! Armed with maps, cameras & mosquito bites by the dozen, we set off in the direction of Lima’s sea front.

The initial impression of Lima had been that it was a bit of a hotch potch mis match of architecture, but clearly we had just hit the wrong part of Lima first time round because as we walked towards the sea front the architecture was very far from what we had seen in those first days. Angel had told us that this particular area of Lima was receiving heavy investment & the goal was to make it one of the most impressive capital cities in South America. Looking at the buIldings as we walked it was clear to see this plan coming together.

Arriving at the sea front we found a great little restaurant/cafe & sat down to a beer each & some ‘batatas fritas’. At the sight of Peroni on the drinks list, the temptation was just too much – there’s only so much Peruvian beer a man can take & it was time for something a bit more cultured 🙂

As we sat there, drinking beer & eating chips, looking out across the huge Pacific ocean, watching the surfers below, it was another one of those surreal situations where (a) we couldn’t believe where we where & what we’d achieved, but (b) within the next 48 hours it would all be over & it would be back to life as normal – whatever that was!

Next we walked along the coastal road, through the famous Lover’s Park – so named because it’s the official place for canoodling, there’s even a huge statue there marking the fact – where I made sure I kept my distance from John. You just never can tell what he’s going to do next…!

Then back to the hotel ready for our final meet up at 7:00pm for our final final last supper. We had been ‘background planning’ (the whole group that is) a little surprise for Angel after the meal to show our appreciation for all his hard work. He had been a very able leader for us, had been very open, always had a big smile on his face & apart from everything else was a very personable guy who we had all belled with very well. We were going to miss him, but I suspect he would miss us more as we really were the best group he’d ever had – we told him 🙂

Anneke & I disappeared en-route to the restaurant into a little souvenir shop & bought a little embroidered pouch. Helena had already bought a card. As we sat at the restaurant looking at the menu & ordering food, the pouch & card were going round underneath for people to drop in their gift & sign accordingly. After the meal – that I have to say was yet another fantastic gastronomic experience – I was volunteered to say a few words on behalf of the group & we showed Angel our thanks. It was a lovely end to the evening…

although not quite the end! Next we headed off to the most un-Irish Irish bar I think I’ve every been to – but it was the company that made it a great place 🙂 We stayed there until we got thrown out at 1pm, then headed off to a club. A few members of the group called it a night & returned to the hotel, but the rest of us just didn’t want the final day to end & so went in all guns blazing! After Bill’s amazing moves a few days ago I was wondering how I, in such twilight years, was going to keep up – but I didn’t need to worry because Bill had turned in early, leaving me to brush the dust of my white flared trousers & bust some moves!

Well, maybe the white trousers is an exaggeration too far, more like grey trekking trousers, but it didn’t stop me 🙂

With more sweat dripping off me than at any time throughout the entire Inca Trail, it was time to call it a day at 2:30am & we all headed back to the hotel. The girls were very kind about my moves – although I’m not entirely sure they were being serious… but still, I enjoyed myself 🙂

After checking my emails for any update on Owen – at this point I hadn’t spoken to Polly as the FaceTime call came in tomorrow morning, after this blog day. Nothing. So I set my alarm for 6:45am ready for the departure of the first of the group – Anneke.

My lights went out the minute my head pill… zzzzzzzzzzzzzz