Monday, May 18: How about that title, huh? By gum, by the time this trip is over, I’m bound to soak up a little Spanish in spite of myself! Already I’ve discovered several websites online that are ready to translate from almost any language to English. (If you want to have a little fun, go to Google’s language translation site and type in a foreign phrase–German to English is particularly good–and see what you come up with.)
Today we leave very early in the morning on a Delta flight to Peru. Most of the day we’ll be en route–with a combined stopover absorbing about 5 extra hours in Denver and Atlanta. While scheduled long layovers are a necessity in international travel so as to absorb deviations in arrivals and departures, this is the part where I begin to relax in a my fate is sealed so relax and enjoy it mode and concentrate on the books I’ve brought along, or–as usually happens–succumb to my people watching habits.
Two of my favorite places to people watch happens to be hospitals and airports where you typically see people of extremes–fat or lean, the ugly American versus those more seasoned reasonable travelers, unruly kids or undersized angels or children just being children–that I’m not responsible for thank goodness, or people with physical challenges that make travel more difficult and that I’m grateful I don’t share.
But despite my people-watching indulgences, international travel is exhausting at best, what with the stringent regulations on what you can take and what you can’t take, hoping you remembered what you’re going to need most, and remembering that sometimes the people who work in airport immigration and customs areas have to deal with all kinds of people. Understandably they don’t always have the greatest sense of humor. They’re just doing their job when they carelessly rifle through my carefully packed underwear. I’ll try to remember to smile no matter how tired I’m becoming.
The map gives a general idea of the areas we’ll cover, beginning tonight in Lima, and advancing eastward to Puerto Malodonado and the Amazonian rainforest, Yucay, Cuzco and Machu Picchu, Puno and Arequipa, and a final two days in Ica in southern Peru.
After our late evening arrival (10:50 p.m.) in Lima and check through immigration & customs, we’ll be checking into the Antigua Hotel in the Miraflores area of the city, probably very late. The hotel is a large old colonial mansion on a relatively quiet street in the middle of Peru, renovated into what they refer to as an authentic Peruvian hotel, whatever that proves to be.
The Pacific Ocean is only five blocks away, the Miraflores central plaza a 5-10 minute walk, and the Pyramid Ruins about a 10 minute walk. All these estimated times, of course, are subject to interpretation through my own feet and legs should I have time to do any of them.
Here’s the hotel entry and the beautiful inner courtyard of fragrant flowers, one of the many things I’m looking forward to at this hotel and this trip in general. Each morning will begin with breakfasts, sometimes the buffet style which I tend to avoid after my many years of Las Vegas buffets. After an approximate 10-pound weight gain after we moved there, I decided buffets were disguised enticements for gluttony.
There is free internet access at the hotel, but I will not be taking a laptop along because we plan to travel as lightly as possible. Besides our packed pharmacy, we’re each taking only 2 or 3 pairs of drip dry slacks and shirts we can wash in sinks as needed.
Our group numbers 11, all affiliated with the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Utah, and if I’m not mistaken, all close to or past our 60th birthdays. Of the 11 only three are men, and I’ll be sleeping with one of them.
We’ll be arriving in the dry, fall season, and since Peru is on the same longitude as the east coast of the U.S. at 75°, our bodies will only need to adjust to waking up two hours earlier than normal.Tomorrow things will get a lot more interesting with a tour of Lima and whatever rest we can squeeze in before leaving Wednesday for the Amazon jungle. On that leg of our journey, as accustomed to relative luxury as most Americans are, we may begin to appreciate the character needed to survive the jungle setting with the barest of essentials–kind of but not quite–like the crew of the CBS Survivor show. I’m crossing my fingers that we all stay healthy.