I'm back in Peru, travelling with Beth for the week. A the moment we are sitting on the porch outside of our room overlooking Cuzco. We are staying at a bed and breakfast with beautiful gardens and somewhat near to where Beth stayed when she worked at an orphanage in Cuzco in 2008.
When I last visited Beth we traveled to Huaraz, a city near Chavin, her Peace Corps site. Visiting Cuzco is a much easier trip, requiring only a short plane ride rather than an 8 hour bus ride. I arrived in Lima near midnight on Saturday (for those of you who remember my last trip, this one was significantly less eventful!). On Sunday we flew to Cuzco and then on Monday we took a bus/train ride to Aguas Calientes, a small tourist town near the base of Machu Picchu. We spent Tuesday at Machu Picchu, a place that cannot adequately be described by pictures or video, though I have attached two of our videos for your enjoyment. On Wednesday we toured an Incan temple, shopped, ate and read. Today we are visiting Beth's host family from 2008 and visiting a place called Sacsayhuaman, Incan ruins made from huge rocks, near Cusco. Tomorrow we are travelling to Moray, a place where the Incans determined what to grow and where and Salanas, the salt flats. And then we begin our trip home, returning to Lima to gather Beth's belongings and return to the airport for our flight.
Gathering Beth's belongings. Three words but a huge task. She has two very large suitcases, a paddle from her trip down the Amazon, at least one carry-on and Gulliver, her golden retriever. I plan to tape the entire process of getting all of these things including Gulliver's mammoth cage to the airport and checking in. We need to transfer Gulliver in Atlanta from international to domestic and I have no clue how this will work. Again, I am planning to tape the entire process.
Back to Peru. Travel in Peru is very interesting. In Huaraz cars are blowing their horns all the time and it would appear that there are no road rules. Travel in Cuzco is much quieter but the streets are often very narrow, requiring us sometimes to stand with our back to the building for a car to pass. Road rules are better here but certainly not like at home. While we have already traveled by train, plane and automobile, we have also walked many miles.
Shopping is always fun in Peru. I like to listen to Beth barter prices, a skill she has fine tuned since I was last here. Quite honestly, I think I am pretty good at bartering just by my facial expressions - must be the "you're kidding" look that we moms have perfected by experience. Food is wonderful and relatively inexpensive with the exception of Aguas Calientes where it costs 2-3 times as much as Cuzco. Not to worry, we still ate :)
As I think about my trip, I'll close with some of the memories I will bring back:
- realizing that just because I'm travelling to a Spanish speaking country, I do not have to listen to the movie on the plane in Spanish - I learned after the first movie that if I changed the channel, I could listen in English!
- meeting Beth's Peace Corps friends - they are an amazing group of people
- seeing Machu Picchu, one of the wonders of the world
- the smile that was on Beth's face when she saw me at the airport. I will digress here a moment to explain what it is like to arrive at the Lima Airport. After you have retrieved your luggage you enter into a circle of people in a huge room. Many are holding signs while others are calling out the names of whoever they are waiting for. I have done this twice and each time it makes me think that my arrival in heaven will be something like this - entering into a great circle with family and friends who have gone before me excited to see me, anxiously waiting for my arrival and to relate the experiences we have not shared together.
- shopping. Please note that we look more than we buy :)
- how beautiful Peru is and how diverse it is, both environmentally and economically
- Coke Zero is definitely not the same as Diet Coke
- I am not Hookah bar material
- eating. . . with the exception of the Hookah bar
- just spending time with Beth - talking about the Peace Corps and her thoughts for the future when she returns home.
- watching Big Bang until we both fall asleep
- the infinite number of times I have gone up and down the stairs at work as well as my shopping, both therapeutic and otherwise, prepared me for all of the walking we have done
- we work way too hard in America. . . . and we should be thankful for all we have
See you at home.