Any traveller going to Lima hears a thousand stories about robberies and crooked policeman and dodgy taxis. In fact, I heard so many stories that I fully expected the first taxi ride to involve my being raped by a cocaine-snorting transvestite while the taxi driver stole my wallet, my backpack and then all my clothes, leaving me naked, violated and without passport, in a slum.
With this image in the back of my head as we swung into the small dusty Flores terminal, I decided to go with the first taxi driver who accosted me (the Flores own-brand) rather than go out to the street and risk the rape-robbery. He asked for a staggering 20 Soles for the 15-minute drive into Miraflores. I tried to bargain, but without much fight as I had no idea how much the trip should cost, nor where we were, and so we agreed on 18 Soles. Approaching the hostel he had the temerity not to drive up to the door but leave me a block away because they would have charged him extra. He did accompany me to the hostel, which seemed a gallant gesture, although I know that often taxi drivers will lead a gringo up to the reception desk at a hostel and then stick around after the gringo has gone off to the room in the hope of receiving a commission.