The sign that greets you at the luggage claim area in the Lima airport would almost be reassuring, had you and your friend not been standing there for over 15 minutes, wondering where your luggage is, as everyone around you claims their bags but still you wait. You tremble slightly and wait. Sure, you have most of what you need to survive a few days in the knapsack on your back (both as a precaution against just this happening and because you were told you needed to do so for the Amazon portion of your trip), but you are still nervous that your bag is lost. You breathe a HUGE sigh of relief as your red – yes, red! – rolly luggage pops into view, followed closely by a black bag that, upon closer inspection, turns out to be, in fact, your friend’s bag. PHEW. And off you go to begin your adventure.
As you may have gathered, as soon as the semester ended on May 27, I jumped on a plane on May 29th and headed to Peru for a week. My adventures in food follow… first up, the airline we mostly flew and its food! (There was a flight from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco in between, but it was uneventful and a 40 minute flight, so there’s neither food nor interesting bits to report.)
Shortly after takeoff, we were fed for the first time on the NYC>LIMA leg of our trip. The above, beef goulash with mashed potatoes, was offered alongside pasta carbonara. Because I heard “primavera” I opted for this, as did HB. Fake tiramisu (more cakelike than marscapone) sated the slight sweet edge desired after such a savory meal; the sauvignon blanc was inoffensive (this is a compliment, really) nor overmatched. The roll, the salad, fine enough, nothing special, and of course, my standard orange juice on a flight. All in all, not bad, and I was happy enough that I looked forward to future meals on this airline – it was definitely tasty enough for a repeat (though when HB told me it was carbonara as the other choice later, I mused that I’d try that next time I had that choice offered me).
A couple of hours later found us being fed breakfast. Though I initially smelled eggs – it was sort-of breakfast time – I opened up the plate to reveal a sad looking sandwich that tasted even sadder. Dry slices of chicken, zucchini and an herb-cheese mixture spread on this weird whole grain bread was incredibly bland and quite soggy overall. My orange juice didn’t help, and the fresh pineapple with a few grapes was seriously lacking. I ate the whole thing anyway, not knowing exactly what time I’d be able to eat again… since we were heading to another flight after this, to take us into the Amazon area.
Well, on the short flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado (with a quick stop in Cusco), they gave us a snack box filled with a piece of chocolate, crackers, and…
KEKE. Well, it’s probably pronounced “cake” – and this was the only thing I ate. A maple-cake type thing, HB hated the spices used, but I found it alright. Not my favorite thing, but hey, whatever. She also broke open the festive chocolate piece and didn’t like that much; I didn’t get a chance to eat mine because I wasn’t in the mood at that moment, and later on, since our room was um, invaded by small animals in the jungle, I got rid of it, fearing it would attract more animals.
And a week later, on our flight from Cusco to Lima, we were given another snack box, this time containing a small chocolate-caramel piece, another piece of chocolate – same flavor, but wrapped differently – and some Ritz-looking crackers. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t hungry and so I didn’t eat any of this. HB wasn’t too impressed with any of it, so I don’t think I made the wrong choice.
From Lima to NYC, we were served this strange sandwich – soft, mushy bread, with a slice of ham and incredibly salty, mushy cheese in between the slices. I cut into it and took about three bites before I gave up; while I admit freely that I wasn’t feeling so hot already, I do believe that had I been 100% feeling fine, I still wouldn’t have wanted to eat more than a few bites. HB might have eaten half. I’m not sure. But neither of us was thrilled with this; I ate a few of the pieces of pineapple in the fruit salad and then set it aside. No point getting sick at the beginning of a 7 hour flight, right?
Our omelets later that flight were horrible, though; plain eggs scrambled and barely cooked – mine was runny, something that wouldn’t bother me in a restaurant or in my own home – but on an airplane, I want my scrambled eggs cooked thoroughly. I don’t know who’s cooking or how they store their eggs! I was displeased and again only took a few bites, dealing with my starving tummy much later. The fruit salad was again much the same and not touched too much; my stomach was telling me to stop eating and I obliged happily. That cake in the back left corner was similar to the KEKE above or a weird hybrid with carrot cake; I took a bite and quit eating.
Yvo says: The airline itself was pleasant enough; HB pointed out that all the attendants were extraordinarily polite, friendly, and smiling, no easy feat in today’s flying world. Our flights took off without a hitch, and not much delay if any at all. I had no issue with our planes (individual monitors, movies on demand and games as well in the headrests on the longer flights), and found it as comfortable as an airplane’s coach section could be. I wouldn’t mind flying them again, if the price is right, though I’ll know to bring snacks (hah! HB laughed at my “excessive” snack bag) to supplement what could be less-than-fabulous fare next time. I mean, a pretty promising start with the beef goulash, but progressive downhill was really disappointing. Ah well, can’t win them all.
not so bad, definitely could and would fly again if the price is right