Saturday, May 4, 2019

Peru Photos


I got most of the photos edited and sorted out.

Click on the picture to get you to the first page of the photos, and then click on the photo of the section you want to look at.

Not all the photos are as good as this one.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

This is the end, my friend. The end.




Lima – April 28 – 1pm

In almost exactly I’ll be on the big metal tube waiting for the doors to close and the flight attendants show how to put on an oxygen mask without messing up their hair.

I have moved from one hotel to another that is right next to the airport. It would have been nice to remain where I was, but traffic in Lima is worse than Seattle’s, and I didn’t want to risk an additional hour and a half to get here. Now it is just a short shuttle bus hope to the airport. The hotel is nice inside, and outside? Well … It’s like most of the area around airports, you wouldn’t go there unless you had to.

Yesterday I went for a last walk on the bluff overlooking the Pacific. It was a bit overcast, not as nice as the first day I walked it. It was Saturday, so the water was filled with surfers, bobbing on the water like rubber ducky’s in a bath. The waves seemed to be not as active as in the past so most of the surfers were just sitting or laying on their boards, not a lot of action. I grabbed a Banana Caramel crepe and a cup of coffee at the dog park cafe. I know it has a real name, but they have two stainless steel water dishes, a dedicated dog water bottle and a menu for dogs. You can get chicken pieces for Fido for about a buck and for a splurge of a little more than two, get Lassie, beef. Lots of dogs here, seldom on leash and all well behaved.

Back at the hotel, since the weather wasn’t bad, just not inviting I just killed the afternoon in the room. I suppose I could have gone back to the protest, but according to my sources the main plaza was going to be off limits for the foreseeable future. I found some TV shows in English. They were several years out of date, but I did understand what was being said at least. Even if most of the men had mullets. In the evening I walked down to the fish restaurant a block and a half from the hotel. I’d eaten there twice before and thought it would be a good choice for my final taste of Crevice. I can find good sushi in my hometown and great sushi in Seattle or Vancouver. I don’t know of any place close to home that has ceviche though. I ordered a different version this time, mostly octopus in lime and olive oil, with just a hint of cayenne. It was great. Can’t say the same for their wine though. The Peruvians like their wine on the sweet side, I got a taste and ordered it. I should have ordered a beer.

This AM, breakfast at the hotel. You’d have thought it was the last day, before a week of fasting. Elbows, hovering, heaping, demanding. My fellow human’s inability to see beyond their own wants embarrass me sometimes.

Check out, was easy. The called the equivalent of Uber and off we went. I think the Peruvians must be part Italian the way they drive. Either gas to the floor or brake to the floor, then a peek and pray instant lane change. I must be getting old... and … we ended up at the departures terminal, not the hotel I had made a point of telling him went I got in. A little more Mario cart and we got to the hotel. All checked in and nice and comfy for 9 more hours.

I expect the next post will be from the land of The Patriot Act and home of the Bone Spurs.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Just another boring day

Lima – Saturday April 27th – Breakfast

I went out to dinner after the last post. There is a world famous chef, Nobu, who has a place in Las Vegas. It is one of those places that a reservation way in advance is a good suggestion, and if you have an American Express Black card, that is also a good suggestion. This prices are sky high, but his product is about the bet and most innovative Sushi that side of Japan. He has the freshest, best packed on ice in Tokyo and flown to him for that night’s dinner. Well he stated with a restaurant here in Lima, and I made sure to go there for a meal. I want to rave about it, but it was just good. The seafood was fresh (of course) but I didn’t find that the suggested dishes made my mouth dance. I tried to order some sushi that in any sushi place you can get, this place needed an interpreter and a description on how the item is prepared. Amma Ebi is raw shrimp, Ebi is cooked shrimp. My Amma came cooked. The woman sitting next to me at the bar said she came here twice a week and suggested a Scallop sushi. It was good, but more ceviche on rice than sushi. I suppose that I will just have to wait for my American Express Black card to come in the mail to find out just how good Nobu is.

The hotel’s A/C is either refrigerate or stifle.

In the morning I decided to revisit the central square and watch the changing of the guard at the Governor’s residence. When I was there my first days in Peru, I got there in time to see the marching band, march away. This time I allotted enough time to be there for the entire thing. I found the worst taxi in the city. The driver was good, but the poor car should have been shot and left at the side of the road. It coughed and sputtered to get going, and Lima has a lot of stop lights, none of them synchronized. Once it got rolling it seemed OK, but getting going never was a sure bet. We did make it though.

Do you ever read those State Department traveler’s advisories? Usually in the top sentence or two is “Avoid large crowds and protests”. I don’t know what it is, but the sound of horns blaring, pots banging and people chanting is like a Siren’s song to me. The ship has to go there, even though I know it is less than smart. So I find myself in the midst or a huge protest. At the public market place riot – or – a fire broke out and the city shut it down for 13 days – or – 3 weeks (I had 2 sources hence the differing reports). The protest was against the shutting down of people’s lively hoods. Whistles, horns, pots and pans, yelling and a crowd so packed you couldn’t fall down. If you fainted, the people pressing around you would keep you on your feet. Like an eel I slipped through the crowd towards the main square only to run into a phalanx of police in riot gear, backed up by crown control fencing, backed up by riot police on horse back, backed up by armored water cannon vehicle. Now it was getting interesting.

I tried to play the “I’m just a tourist” card and failed with a very emphatic police woman that where I wanted to go was not where she wanted me to be. I remembered from ski lift lines, if you want to get on, go for the edges of the crowd. I wiggled and wobbled back through the protest and started looking at the next street down, still pretty strict. Around the corner I watched shop keepers and business men get past. I didn’t quite fit that demographic. The next street a tour guide showed his badge to a uniformed officer and I just slipped in to the rear of that group. Past the first ring of security.

Next I sat and watched as school children on a field trip and a few tourists pointed to the Cathedral and got past that ring. I waited stealthy like a Puma and at the moment the uniformed keeper outer wasn’t paying close attention, slid in like butter. Now there was a small waist high barrier between me and the gate to the governor’s house, but it was totally devoid of any living thing and totally exposed. A virtual (wo)man’s land. I’d never make it. The horsemen would be on me before I could waddle 10 feet. I had satisfy my curiosity from where I was. But I did take it as a minor accomplishment.

Where thousands of people stood the last time I was here, there was only 6 or 8 mounted police. It was so odd. If it was a movie, there would have been tumble weeds and dust blowing across the plaza.

Well that passed a couple hours, so catch a taxi back to the hotel and chill out in the room for a few hours and start planning dinner. The restaurant for good ceviche was closed, as was the other one, and the next. Then I find out, that the chefs of good ceviche restaurant only serve from 11 to 3. After that the fish isn’t fresh and hardly worth feeding to the cats. I ended up going back to a place that I had enjoyed before, but it was a disappointment. I know I’ve just about come to the end of a tip, when I start thinking like a local.



Friday, April 26, 2019

Don't expect much after this (no photos)

Lima – April 25th 2019 – Early evening

I have a couple days yet in Peru. It is not long enough to really go anywhere and I didn't want to stay where I was, so I'm back in Lima. The city is known for it's great food and I expect to take advantage of that, but as far as adventures, I wouldn't count on any. Let's hope there is something worthy of your time, but .. what could go wrong ?

I rode a bus today. It was a long ride. I got a taxi from the bus terminal to my hotel. The room is huge. The End.

The guy next to me yelled at his phone for about 2 out of the 4+ hour trip. I don’t know if he was saying – No! Don’t cut the yellow wire – or – No, Babe, you sister and I never – or – Listen! Either pay it or she dies – or – Rent? I thought that game was a sure thing! Whatever it was he was pretty aggravated.

So some miscellaneous stuff.

Mom to teenage son after plane landed
She: What did you think about the Nazca Lines?
He: Eh. Okay I guess.
Me: Laughing!

On a river boat in Amazonia
She: Rabbits make that much noise?
He: No. He said the noise was coming from the rapids.

You may think that my math was off when I said $20 a minute over the Nazca lines. $200, 20 minutes, each side of the aircraft gets a look. Twenty bucks a minute.

I ate again at the hotel’s restaurant last night. Reviewed the Fettuccine with Beef Heart that was on the menu. Turns out the protein was Duck (like Huey, Dewey and Louie). I ordered it and loved it, once I knew it wasn’t cow heart.

The best I could come up with, for the housekeeper and the towel animals. I took the Elephant she made, put it on the desk, made a trail with the flowers she left to under the Elephant’s bottom and placed a stack (150% more than normal) of coins there. I really hope she sees the humor and is not offended.

The last hotel, you had to give your room number on leaving and returning. I thought it was for security. It was, for the hotel! I had to show a paid in full card to get off the premises today.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Twenty dollars a minute

Ica, Peru – Wednesday April 24 2019 – mid afternoon

My phone app says that it is 79 degrees here. I thought I had it set for Fahrenheit, but must have made an error and set it to Celsius. It is roasting here. I’m sitting in a covered bar with a Coke Zero, not moving and I’m sweating. Maybe the app is broken.

After I finished with the entry last night. I went to the restaurant to splurge on dinner. I hadn’t been drinking as many fluids as I should have. Mostly because my plumbing was still not up to North American standards. One of the web sites said that soup is good, because of it’s general sodium content. So I ordered a bowl of fish soup and some sort of Fettuccine the waiter suggested. I forgot that soup on the menu comes in one size. Huge. Easily a meal with some bread, or split for a nice appetizer. The seafood soup was pretty good, lots of octopus and big chunks of fish, with finely diced potatoes (everything comes with spuds) and, and, and – wait for it – Lima beans! Finally. I only ate the protein and the broth since I knew there was a main coming. Then the Fettuccine came it looked great. It tasted great, a hearty meat, not sauce, what is thicker than a broth, pan sauce. It had a lot, an over abundance of pepper, that worked perfectly with the sauce. The protein? It was beef of some sort, but not a cut I recognized. Heavily muscled, nearly no fat, thin half moon slices. Click!! Beef Heart. I know, I’ve eaten crickets, and that a heart is just another muscle, but I found my limit for last night. If it had been stew meat or any other muscle I would have eaten it. The fettuccine as really good. I am ashamed to say, I wimped out.

I explained to the waiter that my eyes were bigger than my stomach, and that the food was outstanding, just too much. I didn’t tell him it was too much beef heart.

Yesterday I left a few Sole for the maid, and came home to twin towel swans and a flower. So today I took a bill folded it so just the face was showing. Then grabbed a piece of scratch paper and drew a body (worthy of any second grader) on it. Put the bill under the drawing. Now the war was on! I came back today from my flight to find a towel Elephant surrounded by blue flowers. I think she won. Wish I knew Origami, then I’d get her!

At 1040am I was told to be at the front desk to go to the flight over the Nazca lines. Over $200 but the hotel told me it was an hour and a half. That sounded a lot better than the usual 30 minute flight over the area. Once we got to the airport, a ten minute drive, it turned into an hour and ten minutes. Waiting to board, we were weighed. This was not good. Since I am fluffy and almost everyone on this flight was a skinny Asian, I knew where I was going to sit. Right under the wing’s balance point, right where that big strut was. So much for any photos without a hunk of airplane metal in it. Why couldn’t I be flying with a group of Sumo wrestlers?

We all went through security, bag check and metal detector. Seemed a little overkill for riding in a 12 seater to nowhere. But as we all know – Rules don’t have to make sense. The co-pilot was giving us an under wing safety briefing, and some idiot in the rear asked if he could move around the cabin. I don’t know if he was stupid or making a stupid joke. After yesterday’s experience on the boat, I fear he was serious. If he had gotten up, he’d have been the disc in The Price Is Right’s, Plinko game.

We got on the runway and rolled and rolled and rolled, I waited for the pilot to abort the takeoff, but he didn’t. As the end of the runway got closer and closer, the front wheel lifted and we were airborne. It was a nice flight to the lines. A couple bumps when we flew over hills or patched of green, but for as hot a day as it was, the flight was pretty smooth. We flew for twenty or twenty-five minutes and no lines yet. Hmm…. I opened my clock app and prepared the stopwatch function. As soon as he announced the lines I’d start it and stop it when he said we were on the way back. The right side of the plane got first looks then we looped around and the left side got to look. I don’t mean like flying in a jet flies over the land. Noooo…. He dropped a wing and I was almost looking straight down at the glyphs. Then he turned
Parrot of course
and dropped the other wing. I didn’t hear Mr. Plinko bouncing around behind me, so I guess he stayed buckled in. There was a whale, spider, dog, humming bird AND parrot to be seen. I missed the Astronaut, and I thought it would be futile to ask to fly over it again. Left, right, left and right again. I didn’t hear anyone barfing behind me, but maybe they were subtle. Then it was over. I hit the stopwatch. Twenty minutes, fourteen seconds. Kind of a far cry from the hour and a half promised.

Back at the airport we were all given certificates of seeing some sort of critter. Condor or Hummingbird or something. All I know is it wasn’t for a parrot. The ride back to the hotel, was quick, and I was immediately set on y the driver/guide to fill out a satisfaction survey. He did a good job, but what? I’m supposed to tell the truth if he didn’t as he looks over my shoulder? When I pointed out the time discrepancy between the advertised time and the actual time, of course her English as poor a that point.

I think I got a couple good pictures of the glyphs, I’ll probably have to crop out some airplane from one or two of them. But I’m hoping for the best.


Condor 

Dear, Peru

Dear, Peru

It’s called Toilet Paper, not Waste Basket Paper. Please update your plumbing.

Thank you very much

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Wine and bird poop

Ica, Peru – Tuesday April23 2019 – Evening

Well I guess hotel food hadn’t gotten the message from Montezuma to get revenge on whitey quite yet.

Day broke a little before 5am. Had a 6am call to go see birds on islands. Again the language barrier came into play. I remember asking a seller in Aswan Egypt, ho many languages he spoke, he rattled off most of the European nations, North America and some Chinese. Here the Spanish way or the highway.

I met my driver at the appointed time and we drove and drove probably close to 40 miles to the ocean, if my Km to Mile conversion is correct. A two lane road, filled with gas trucks, LPG trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles and the occasional dog. I’m sitting in the back seat, and can’t find the seat belt. Not that it’s any big deal, passing on a solid yellow line with a bus growing larger in the windscreen. Then there was the long straight where we had to pass eight vehicles without getting back into our lane and a blind hill fast approaching. I guess we must be very very late, for an important date. We got to the appointed pier and had to wait three fourths an hour for the boat to load. I’m glad we hurried.

The boat as kind of a water bus, without a roof. Fiberglass seats, two to a side. Life jackets required of course. Back home, the commercial fishermen say life jackets, just make it easier to find the body. I hope they serve a different purpose here.

The first stop was a giant – Candelabra? Trident? Upside down M ?. Used to – guide UFOs – help sailors find land – just because somebody’s were bored one day ? Who did it ??? Well by now you have your own ideas. I’m going with someone who was bored out of their tree a couple hundred years ago, got drunk and forgot they did it. If I was that much longer, line Nazca I am betting the wind would have obliterated it by now.

Next stop was the guano islands. For you who missed naughty words in 5th grade, guano is poop. It appears the Pelicans can give a Western Gull their run for their money as far as producing shit. They guano so much that the island is cleaned every 5 to 7 years of a foot to three feet of poop to be used in high nitrogen fertilizer. There was a frigging war fought over this crap, but Spain will fight over anything if I remember my history.

There are a gazillion birds. I made sure to wear my hat whenever I was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to get blown off. Pelicans, Cormorants and Boobies. They say I saw I penguin, but Free Willy escaped my lens. I’ll have to play Where’s Waldo once I get home and see if I can find it.

On the back side of the island were the sea lions, same as a home, I watched them hanging around the Anchovy fisherman’s nets, stealing what they could. There were babies, and a couple juveniles getting snotty with each other. Then it as back to the pier and coffee and croissants.

The drive back to Ica I sat in the front seat, there I knew where the shoulder belt was located, and wasn’t screaming ll the way. I had interpreted for me if he wanted to stop by a semi famous winery on the way home for a couple bucks. It was only 7Km (3.4 to 4 miles) off the main road. He balked at the idea. Fine! Reduced tip for you Carlos.

Back at the hotel, I wasn’t tired, but bored. Had a coffee and then went to the room to bask in the glory of the A/C for a bit. Around two I had the hotel contact a taxi to take me to the winery. He gave me a hotel price and I ave him my price (a whopping $3 less) just on principal. He sighed and took my price. (don’t worry. I tipped his $6 at the end, I just needed a ‘win’). The sign said it was 7Km from the main rood, that mt have been how the Condor flew. First it was sorta two lane back top, then one lane blacktop, then dirt, the makeshift meta bridge, and more dirt road. I thought we were going back to Lima by the backwoods. No wonder the morning driver scoffed at my offer. At long last we arrived at a gate and after checking in drove down a beautiful Tara like estate surrounding to the winery. It was beautiful. A sop to exchange a few Soles for a wrist band and we were off for and English tour. First a movie f what you are going to see along with a self congratulatory PSA abut all the French stuff they did to make wine in Peru. Then a walk around seeing metal buckets and old wooden barrels tipped on their sides. We finally got to the end where we sat at long tables and had 4 glasses, and one by one tried a white, a red, a sparkling and a Pisco (grapppa fr you Europeans). Then exit through the gift shop, please. I have a friend who loves a particular grape in her wine, so I picked up a bottle of it here. If some way it makes it home she owes me a pretty good dinner.

On the ay home I asked the drive to stop so I could buy some water. The hotel sells over priced, half liter bottles, so I asked for two big bottles. Well, I guess two equals huge. I came back with 5 liters of water for a couple cents more that the hotel’s ½ liter bottle.

I’ve been drinking a Pisco Sour on an empty stomach and the sentences are starting to get muddled. Tomorrow into the wild blue yonder to see the Nazca lines.







The wheels on the bus ..... (no photos)

Ica, Peru – April 22 2019 – Early evening

Another day of no pictures.

I went out to my – new – favorite restaurant, Alfresco. It is my fave because the food is good and it is within an easy two block walk from the hotel. They specialize in fresh fish, and Lima is supposed to get them still flopping onto the docks. I haven’t seen a single fishing boat in the harbor, heck I haven’t seen a harbor for that matter. Just upscale apartments, and similar restaurants and shopping. I’m sure there is a working area, it just isn’t where I live. I had the Ceviche again, fresh fish marinated in acids (lime, lemon, etc) for a few minutes to ‘cook’ it. I had one dish last time and wanted a different dish, the waiter suggested one. It was good, but very similar to the previous dish. Not what I was expecting. I want Ceviche unadulterated with Coconut Milk. I expect to be back there before leaving Peru, we’ll see if I can get that across to the waiter next time.

In bed at the appropriate time and nothing worth mentioning. Even if there was something worth mentioning, it wouldn’t be worth mentioning.

The bus south wasn’t leaving until 11am, so I had plenty of time for the morning ritual, breakfast and getting a taxi to the bus station. I got there about an hour before lift off, the woman at the counter looked at my ticket and said, Track #3. So I killed time watching the comings and goings of the rest of the world. It got close to boarding time, so I slipped over near the gate, and remember this was a one checked and one hand carry kind of situation. Baggage check was right there ready to accept my second bag. I gave the handler my ticket and bag, and my ticket kept going Blaaat! Blaaat ! When he scanned it. Finally he looked at it and obscure languaged at me. Then he called over someone else and he circled the 26th, and wrote 22. Some way when I put in the ticket request online, I got my wires crossed and put the wrong date it. The bus was starting to load. I ran over to the initial woman, pointed to the 26 and the 22. She found me a seat on that bus (an aisle not a window, but it didn’t matter anyway. I don’t know how to operate a bus, so couldn’t help the driver anyway). I ran back over to baggage check and the line to get on the bus is getting shorter and shorter. Finally I made it, and dropped off my bag. Sprinted to the gate, gave my ticket, got a cursory security check and was on the bus.

I opted for the expensive wide seat, which was less than a small pizza at Rudy’s. Got to sit on the second floor, got a sandwich and a small Coke in the deal. The bus ride was OK, there really wasn’t a lot to see. There was the city of Lima, but one city is pretty much the same as another. Expensive tall stuff in the middle, not so tall stuff as you move out and then the single story junky stuff and then nothing.

Once on the road there was at first miles of some dirt, a lot of sand and countless billboards. You probably don’t remember highways in the US in the early 60’s. All you could see was tarmac and billboards. Lady Bird Johnson, had her Beautify America project. Laws we passed and most of the billboards are now a thing of the past. The road out of Lima really reminded me of how it used to be.

Hen the billboards diminished in number, and the dirt also went away leaving the sand. I sometimes enhance things (do you like that word, enhance? Not exaggerate) but for the next 3 hours it was nothing but sand, the occasional village and refinery. Sand on the land side, ocean on the water side. That was it! It was putting me to sleep, but I was afraid of missing something, anything. Even a dead skunk would have broken the monotony.

The bus stop in this town is also at my hotel. What could be more convenient? It is a huge resort. Kind of Hotel California, since there is nothing near except this place. Looking at the town as we drove it, didn’t offer a lot of attractive options though. The room is not dismal, just utilitarian. No fancy shampoos or conditioners, I don’t remember seeing soap in the room. I think I left my hair dryer in the big luggage back in Lima. Grrr….. It’ll work out.

I found the travel desk and made arrangements for a trip to the islands tomorrow, and a flight over the Nazca lines the next day. I’m moving on on Thursday. Not sure where, but not here. Lonely Planet don’t fail me.

Now to eat hotel food or not eat? That is the question.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The dreaded bug. No pictures in this post

Lima – Easter Sunday – April 21 2019

This entry was supposed to be woke up, boarded a plane, checked into the Radisson, ate dinner, went to bed. Haha funny girl.

At the new hotel, I really didn’t want to tackle either going up a hill to find dinner or uphill to get back to the hotel afterward. So I had a nice Club Sandwich at the hotel (this if my goto sandwich when traveling, always the same basic sandwich with a local twist) and a Coke while I wrote yesterday’s entry.

Went back up to the room, I had to be up and going by 5am so just hung out in the room. Tried to watch some TV. But except for BBC news, wouldn’t you know it, they were again using this exotic secret language they use here. Watching an old Walking Dead, must have originally been the Japanese version, ten dubbed into this lost form of communication. Because people’s lips would move and then the sound would come out. The BBC news wanted to cover places other than the USA. Don’t they know that is the only news that matters? Everybody needs to know about the boy who became lost in the woods and was found by a local raccoon. I gave up and shut the TV off.

I had a few movies on my computer and watched one until my batteries died. It was close to 9pm, as good a time as any too call it a night.

–--- Skip until the next –---

Around 130am (126 to be exact) nature called and it was not an old Jim Carey movie. It was about the right for normal stuff, bu there was an inkling of something that only happens in the morning after coffee. Okay, I’ll go with it (no pun intended). Back to bed. For 5 minutes. Repeat for an hour and a half. Finally I started tossing clothes and plastic bags into the air as I searched for something. The Imodium and the Cipro got lost along the way this trip. I know where, but by the time I realized it, it was too late. I found some Pepto Bismol, and then used my iPhone to take pictures of the label so I could swipe them bigger and read what the microscopic directions said. The directions included the dreaded D word, so I gobbled the recommended dosage and was able to get some sleep.

This was a plane day, so I scarfed down a couple more and checked out. Of the hotel. Gawd I needed a cup of coffee, bu we all know what coffee is known for after the caffeine rush.

Arrived in Lima and a real raging bitch with the desk clerk. (I did grovel and apologize later) And I really don’t have a good excuse for my actions. Hours later it happened again. The internet says if it happens for three or more days to get concerned. I was concerned at 3 hours!! Is that 72 hours, or 2 plus midnights ? I assume Cipro is OTC here, so at least there is not that worry.

–-- You can resume reading now –---

The hotel called for a taxi and a Lexus showed up. Oh, dear there goes the mortgage, two and a half bucks. Given that an apartment can be rented for $75 a month, I guess it is a fair price.

Since it was Easter Sunday and I made a late reservation the plane ticket was US prices and then there was the baggage fee. She sent me to a desk to pay, the price quoted in USD, I said I’d pay in local currency. I dropped a bill on the counter and she had to pull out her calculator to convert USD to PEN than she had to go all over the place to find change. What a cluster ….
I saw a coffee shop and the line looked like they were selling billion dollar Power Ball tickets. I decided to pass and let the world put up with me without coffee. They boarded the airplane efficiently 3 lines, window first, center next and finally aisle. That was smart. I always get a window seat, who else is going to help the pilot to fly this modern marvel? At least it wasn’t the middle seat. Luckily the pilots didn’t need my help this trip, as we landed safely.

Easter Sunday morning, the traffic was light and we made it to the hotel in record time. I as way, way early for check in, and knew the room wouldn’t be available and was still a snot to the desk clerk. Guess I should have had that coffee after all.

I went for a walk down to the dog park coffee and Crepe beach overlook from my first entry this trip. Got coffee and a caramel, banana crepe and watched to surfers. You have already seen pictures from this spot, so if you need visual stimuli go back to that entry.

I sat in the park and watched, people, birds and surfers until close to noon and figured the hotel would have a room clean b then. They did. I went through my bag looking to some medicine, that I knew I had left behind at a hotel. Then repacked the suitcases. Enough for 3 or 4 days in the desert, and leave the big clunky suitcase in the hotels safe keeping. I’m leaving tomorrow by a 4 hour bus ride to the town called Ica.

A nap to make up for having to gt up early and that is the current situation.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

My new best friend






Cuzco, April 20 2019 – Early afternoon.

Boy, how soon a body forgets. What a bad night. Cuzco rests at 11,000 feet. Machu Picchu at 8,800 feet. I was all acclimated to Cuzco, at least as far as altitude sickness. I don’t think I’d ever really get used to the low oxygen to make stairs comfortable. Got back in Cuzco and found it a little bit more work to walk around than at Machu Picchu. Heck it is only 2,200 feet different. Our local ski area is at 5,000 feet and I’ve never felt a lot of difference between there and on a boat on the Sound. My body sure did notice that 2,200 foot difference. I couldn’t get to sleep last night. I’d start to drop off breathe 3 or 4 times and then wake up to get a deep breath of O2. Finally I dumped my luggage on the adjoining bed and found the Diamox (Altitude sickness pills) and popped on of those. It didn’t immediately help, but after a few hours it worked well enough that I was able to get some sleep. No headache when I woke up and feels like old times in Cuzco. I was shocked how quickly my boy forgot I had just been in Cuzco 48 hours prior.

Today there is almost nothing on my plate for the day. I needed to change hotels, since the one I was staying in was full and I didn’t make reservations far enough in advance. The new hotel is much newer, but in a location I would never choose if I was staying. It is way up on the side of a hill overlooking the city. Beautiful view, but the streets are so steep the llamas need rubber cleats on their hooves.
I’m leaving tomorrow, I’d be gone today, but I had book this room non-refundable. I like Cuzco as long as I’m not moving. I want to see the Nazca lines in the desert. You’d think there would be a way to fly to a world wonder. Nope. From Cuzco it is a 17 hour bus ride, 8am to 2am. I’d just love being dropped off in a strange town at 2am after having my seatmate’s head on my shoulder and drool on my boob for 16 hours. Better to fly back to Lima (At Easter Sunday prices, and they ain’t on sale) spend the night and catch a nice daylight 6 hour bus ride on Nothing Special Monday.

So a nice slow day today. A light breakfast. Then a wander around the squares I know nearly by heart. After yesterday’s warning, I put my camera on my shoulder and then put my fleece on. That at if they’re after my camera, they’ll have to work a little harder. I ventured into places I had only ridden by. Saw a nice park where you could see the various layers of the city. From Pre-Inca, to Inca, to Spanish and it you looked at the power lines, present day Cuzco.

I stopped in a money exchange and gave the guy three Benjamins. The current exchange rate is 3 Soles, per dollar, plus a .10 to .20 depending how the exchanger is feeling that day. So he counts out nine hundred and change and gives it to me. I count it back to him, and my total is eight hundred and change (what’s 30 bucks between friends?) . I hand it back to him and he counts it and hands me the correct amount. I don’t call him a liar and a cheat. It was an honest mistake, I’m sure. No major hard feelings on either side, He tried and got caught, I expected it could be a possibility so I counted it. Then he wanted to be my buddy and make conversation. I had things to do and hit the street. After the warning from that nice woman yesterday I must have looked like a drunk walking down the street. One step, two step, three. Turn around and look. Hug the wall, turn and look. Repeat. I hadn’t noticed before, but since I started looking there were quite of few of guys a little too slick for that area, just hanging around. Before all I saw was families and tourists. What a perception change.
I found a quiet off the beaten path park, found a bench and just watched the world march by in revue to me. The trinket sales women, the shoe shine men, the waiters for the nearby restaurants getting a quick polish before the noon lunch crowd.

Back to the hotel, call a taxi and check into the new hotel. This is where I expect to end today’s entry.

Oh, when the saints come marching








Cuzco – April 19 2019 – Good Friday

Got to sleep in today. That was a treat to not have to rush to some locale. Ate breakfast, and strolled down hill to the place where the train let me off. No one was there. That was odd, there is always people hanging around IncaRail. A man near by had the same look on his face and was intent on his portable internet thing. Then he brightened and started to walk away. I said “Excuse me”, to which he replied “Leave me alone I have to go!”. Ya …. well you and the horse you rode in on.

A couple guys came by and directed me in the right direction. A bit of a climb that I could have avoided if I had checked before leaving the hotel. In due time they called for boarding by car number. I got in the correct line and who should stand directly behind me? Ya, you guessed it. I turned to him and said “Thanks for the help.”. The line starts moving and I quickly find my seat, 50 and snuggle in. Directly across from me is a mature man, and who the F !! should sit next to him ?? Oh, Lord Karma you are soooo cruel. Mature Mike and I had a lovely chat all the way back. You know who didn’t say a word. I’ve got to try to remember everyone has their own baggage to carry and maybe his is heavier than mine.

Back in Cuzco, I got to the hotel, dropped my bag and wen to see what there was to see on Good Friday. One of the churches had a bunch of military men out front and more inside the church. The Bishop was giving mass, so I thought I’d wander in. At the door there was his woman who stopped me and started pinning a picture of Mister Earthquake and a red twine with a cross on it. She had some type of uniform on so I let her have at. I mean, I wear green of Saint Patrick’s Day, I’ll wear her button for Good Friday. Then she extorted $3 for me, I thought a dollar and a half was enough, but no, she picked trough my change until she had the proper weight in silver.

Inside I didn’t stay too long. It was a lot of smells and stand up, sit down, kneel, sit down. I go the idea, and left.
I wandered a little, exchanged some cash. Flounced down the street, sat in the park before the Cathedral watching the world go by. A woman walked up to me and asked if I spoke English. He then went on to tell me that a man was following me a little too closely, and when I but my hand on my camera he backed off and signaled to anther man. She told me to be careful with my camera. I thanked her profusely for that bit of information and was very aware of my surroundings the rest of the time. Thinking about it now, I wonder if he saw me at the currency exchange.

I found a place for dinner and read some in my current novel. Got done and as I crossed the street to enter my hotel, I could hear a brass band coming p the street. As the saying (song?) goes I love a parade. Groups of young men marching, the older men, then some very elderly women, all back straight and proud. A group of firemen and then some sort of glass coffin, and inside was Jesus. Now the penny dropped. They were escorting Christ to the tomb and the soldiers at the church before were his honor guard. Who should show up? No, not him. The lady who extorted the three bucks from me, she heads right for the woman next to me and tried to get her to donate, when she failed at that she looked at me and smiled and got back in the throng/honor guard of Christ. Then came a statue of Many and the brass band. Up the street they went.
 

Clouds, Crowds and Cramps

Machu Picchu – April 18 2019 – Evening

Just got back from another Avocado and chicken something for dinner. Since avocados are poisonous to parrots I never get them at home. I’ve kind of been making up for that this trip.

I didn’t sleep all that well last night. The room has curtains, but not blackout ones and there is a lot of light from the square I kept thinking it was near dawn and didn’t want to oversleep and miss the guide, bus and ark entrance time. When I did figure out it was the plaza, it was almost time to get up anyway.

I ate a small breakfast and met my guide at close to the appointed time. He walked with me to the line for the $24 bus to Machu Picchu, for the 30 minute ride from the town to the main entrance. The line was over two blocks long. I thought I might be in a Soviet bread line. It moved pretty well, but was longer than the actual bus ride. Check you ticket, makes sure it matches your passport and get on the bus.

The road is very narrow, seldom two buses wide. There is no guardrail. When you look down there is road directly below you, no dirt or greenery, just straight down to road. If you fell off, and landed on your wheels you just continue on your trip. I tried to lean towards the center of the bus at all times, to help balance us away from the ledge. We had on brake slamming so as to not mush the front of our bus with someone else's bus. One back up to let a bus pass and on forced their bus to back up. I just hoped for the best.

At the top there was another line for Passport and entrance ticket. I’ve shown my passport on this trip more times than to Immigration officers in years. We hung a left and started on a “five minute climb” up to the watchman’s hut. That is where the iconic shot of Machu Picchu is taken from. The way is crowded, the steps are uneven. Generally higher than a normal step. I am fat and out of shape, let’s just say the five minutes was a gross underestimation. Lots of self talk. Okay ten more steps and you can rest. Just make it to the next switchback. If that old biddy can do it so can you. - and this was just the beginning. Not as an excuse, but we are at 8800 feet as well.

Just one more switchback and we are at the Watchman’s Hut. Camera with fresh batteries, new SD card, clean lens and you cant see anything except clouds. Well you can kinda make out some squares, but they are so obscure the auto focus on the camera cant figure it out. I switched to manual focus and got a picture of very foggy squares and some dirt. I sure am glad we came up here first.

There is very little free roaming here. There is a path and it is one way and that is the way you are going. If you pass something it’s generally gone or good. A little bit down the path, and by path on mean extremely irregular steps there was a flat area and, though not National Geographic quality, I did get a photo overview of the complex. It was smaller than I expected. As much as I hated going up, I feared going down even more. My calf was still not fully healed and I just didn’t trust it, so crab walked down a lot of the steps. If you ant to know about the place there are places on the internet or the library where you can learn, sorry this isn’t that sort of missive.

Lots and lots of steps, a lot of gasping for breath, and chug-a-lugging water. Some explanation of what we were seeing, we wended our way through the complex. Then my two hours was up and like the fog, my guide disappeared. I was still a way away from the exit and by this time my legs had become things to wobble on, more than once strangers asked if I needed assistance. I would have taken them up on it, but didn’t see a good location for the helicopter to land.

I didn’t fall and finally found the land of the pay toilets. I had survived Machu Picchu.

I deserved a treat. There is a hotel right at the entrance. I think it runs about $500 a night, if you can get reservations. I decided to stop in there to eat lunch. A buffet, very nice buffet, but forty USD. I didn’t eat my forty dollar’s worth of food, but I sure did get my money’s worth, drinking soft drink reading my Nook.

Holding tightly to the handrail, I made it to the bus line, then as told, no it starts waayyyy down there. This time three blocks long. I walked, waited and eavesdropped until I was on the bus. This time I didn’t look down. Then back at the city there was the climb back up to the hotel.

I wrote yesterday’ bitching and took a short snooze. I had a ticket to go back up, but knew I would make a mistake and slip and hurt myself or worse someone else. It just wasn’t worth the risk.


If I did this again, I would eschew the guide. He was on a time schedule and so kept pushing me on. He talked a lot, but mostly just pointed to things and then opened a guide book to make things clearer. I could have done half of that with a trip to the library. I would have just sat down at the Watchman’s tower and waited for the mist to lift, and then gone on my way, and taken way more photos. Heck there is only only one way to go, you can’t get lost. Live and learn. I’m glad Machu Picchu wasn’t on my bucket list.
You are not alone

Friday, April 19, 2019

Ignore this post. It is just mid trip bitching

Thursday April 18 2019 – Machu Picchu – Last afternoon

When last we left our intrepid traveler she was tired of looking at Incan rocks in and around Cuzco.

The next day I got up at a reasonable time, had a slow breakfast and then caught a taxi to IncaRail’s offices for a ride to Machu Picchu. I left the majority of my luggage at the hotel, since it was only for 2 nights and the guidebook said they had a bag size limit. At the office it was a mad house, backpacker types just hanging around, student types in clusters, tables of 4 early retirees in clothing from expensive outdoor stores and nicely dressed employees. Everyone seemed to know what to do, but I guess I had missed that day at class. Finally I just found a line for a bus help out my ticket and got on, hoping I was going where I wanted.

The bus started out of town and started climbing, and climbing and still going towards the Heavens. Uhh.. I thought Machu Picchu was supposed to be lower than Cuzco., and the only way I want to to higher is in an airplane. Eventually we crested and started down hill. Zig Zagging down and down and stopped at another building the had IncaRail on it. More of the same as the last building with IncaRail on it. A woman ranted in some obscure language that is used in this country, known only to it’s residents and American linguists. I went to the bathroom. When I came out everyone on my bus was gone. Alien abduction? I waved my paper under some uniformed guy and he responded in this obscure something that sounded like “Eestation” .. I wanted the rail station, but he pointed so I went.

Down the hill a few blocks I found rail tracks, this was looking good. Paper wave and more pointing and so I went walking and realized it as the wrong train. I had the pretty good train, not the normal train, so I crossed the tracks got a whistle blown at me, and gave him my best dumb look (rest assured I am a mistress at it) and he pointed at a train car and the shoo’ed me back across the tracks. Kind of, here’s what you are getting or Christmas, but not yet.

Finally we boarded the train, found our assigned seats, though several missed the Alphabet day, and some were sick on the day we did our numbers, but after some confusion, butts were in seats and off we went. An airplane lunch was served as the tracks clicked under us and the scenery flew past. Then the train slowed and we stopped. Everyone on the train got up and left, so I did too.

Then there was the matter of finding my hotel. Here instead of exiting through the gift shop, you enter through the gift market. I mean gift market. Not a single bit of food to be seen, but yards and yards of t-shirts, stuffed thingies, carrying units, all in bright colors and on Special today only, just for you. BUT, only if you speak an obscure language. I knew I had to go up, I didn’t realize how much up, I had to go. First stop, the lady said go up until you find the orange …. uh … ya orange bridge and cross it. That only took two rest stops. The pizza guy said go to the corner and turn left. I go to the corner and looked left – it went down. I wasn’t about to go down without absolute certainty. The next Pizza guy says go up to the main square, 5 minutes. Either he doesn’t know how to tell time or he doesn’t know me. Three more rest stops and I found a hotel that looked like the one on Trip Advisor. I had made it. Honestly it was the hotel at the top of the city. There are no other hotels above it.

The hotel clerk takes my passport and asks how I am going to pay. I say cash, but the Hotels.com made the reservation and has my Amex and will charge it. I just have to get USD exchanged into Peruvian Soles. Oh, no, that isn’t happening. He needs the moola right now. I give him my Amex and will deal with it when I get home I guess. The room is nice, billed as a queen on the 5th floor (elevator), but the bed seems bigger. Great view and what you’d expect for the price.

In conversion with the bellboy he asked me if I had me bus ticket yet. No, don’t you just wait behind three people and give then a dollar and get on the bus? Nooo, the bus ticket office is down by the train station and the line is long. BACK DOWN ?!?? Nooooooo…….. He said I’ll get it for you if you want. If I want ?!?! Yes please. Okay, they want $24. Dollars, not Soles? No, dollars. He was gone maybe 20 minutes. Sorry I took so long, the line was long. It took me an honest 30 minutes to get here when I got off the train. I thanked him and gave him the equivalent of $10 +/-. No this is my job. Dude, you are killing me here, please take a five, please. He took it, thank God.

Then I asked the desk about a guide. They said they would try. They had the $90 guide and the $60 guide, but the $60 guide is booked. Of course. I booked Mr. Big Bucks.

I left the hotel for dinner and if the shop isn’t a gift shop it is a restaurant and there are a zillion of them. I found one close to the hotel, no down, and had some Avocado something and some soup while I read my novel. Then the lights went out. Not the entire city, just the 4 next to my eaterie. Guess I better accept my losses and go to bed.



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mister Earthquake

Tuesday April 16 2019 – Cuzco – Morning

I believe I might survive. I was questioning it that first night. So let’s return to days of yesteryear, well 24ish hours ago.

I hate stairs ! After wandering a little around town and dinner,, it was pretty much bedtime. I took the appropriate tablets and lay in the bed gasping for air. Nothing was turning blue but I could never seem to find enough air to satisfy me. I was afraid that if I went went to sleep I would breathe so shallow that I would not wake up. Obviously that didn’t happen. I woke and just couldn’t get out of bed. Got to the bathroom (remember no T.P. into the toilet – I frequently forget. I mean it’s automatic) then back to bed to catch up on air. If today wasn’t so special I’d have headed to lower climes. After about twice as long as it should have taken I was out the door and in search of breakfast.

I found a nice little coffee shop one flight up (drat!) overlooking the Cathedral. It seemed like a good place to get revved up and to sit for a bit. I’m looking at the sights and some dude is yakking on his cell phone and jet like decibels. I see a likely looking couple speaking English, so ask them if the know what time Pawhusky Jesus comes out. (In Puskatawny Pennsylvania every year on February 2nd a rodent is pulled from his den and is supposed to predict how many weeks of winter, Puxatwny Phil) Here on Holy Monday a huge black Jesus comes out of the cathedral and is walked around town. His is supposed to ward off earthquakes, just like he did in 1650. These two guys were as clueless as I was. So I went to Mr Yak-yak. I take back all the bad things I said about him. He was really sweet. He first of all it was not Jesus, it was The Man of Earthquakes. Hmm.. some guy nailed on a crucifix with a crown of thorns is not Jesus, OK if you say so. Regardless of semantics he was supposed t emerge from his smoky lair around 2pm, about the same time he did in 1650. Well that made my schedule clearer. I did some ore walk about, avoiding stairs whenever the were avoidable.

I went into the cathedral, where the Bishop (or possibly Cardinal) was giving today’s sermon and then Mass. No photos allowed, sorry. The place was full of a mixture of tourists, reporters, worshipers and locals. Smoke and smells wafted from the altar. On the steps to the altar sat 100 young boys all dressed in white, with wings and halos. The altar itself consisted of a black crucified Jesus (Hmm.. maybe his online persona is Mister Earthquake). He was wearing a gold inlaid skirt. According to the guide book, he is Lilly white under his skirt (I guess he doesn’t get outside all that much). The red flowers that are burned at his feet have blackened him over the centuries. Mass was nice with the call and response, and the organ and choir. My grandmother was Catholic and one time lit a candle for me, I thought I could do the same now. Well candles are now in the 20th century, in the form of electric light bulbs. I told her in missed her and popped in a few Soles and a lamp lit. Sure seemed anticlimactic.

I ran the gauntlet of picture sellers, jewelry vendors, restauranteurs, and of all things masseuses, back to the hotel. To relax before returning to the square around 1230pm to grab a seat to wait for the emergence.

I found a set of steps with the Cathedral doors in sight, so I snuggled up against a pillar to protect that side from interlopers and waited. I people watched, as people came and went sitting next to me. One pair was from Winnipeg and he wasn’t handling the altitude very well. I told them about the altitude sickness pill that makes you pee. I had Goggled the side effect on my phone the night before so showed her. She took a iPhone picture of my iPhone’s web page. They departed and a few new sets came and went. Directly in front of me were men in black suits and wearing red capes. I thought they might be like Shriners (or the Cuzco equivalent)I herd English to me right and asked him what the were. He said the were the Brothers of Mister Earthquake. They were the only ones who carried that statue. Each helped carry it for fifty steps, then another group took over. The represented various churches. I have no idea if what he told me, but since I wrote it, it is now the truth.

Mister Earthquake was a little tardy, maybe 20 minutes, but he did show up to drumbeat and smoke. Slowly down the street he came. At the corner similar to the Rose Parade he had to make a corner. Very slowly he was turned and began down the street I was siting on. A sick snail could have passed him, but he was tenacious and kept chugging on, fifty pairs of feet at a time. When he got closer I could seen why he was so slow. There was the bier, the flowers, the solid silver base and the actual statue. All held aloft by a bunch of men released from the old folks home just for the day. As the passed under windows people were tossing red flowers the color of blood on to the statue. The men carrying him with their perfectly coiffed hair, using oil or their wife’s hairspray were getting the petals stuck to the top of their heads. These guys were really working holding him up, you could see the strain on their faced and body posture. Immediately after passing me there was another corner. The men in the front stayed close to stationary and the men in the back were literally pushed by some sort of bully to move to their left to turn Senior Trembles and get him headed in the right direction – uphill. No thank you very much, I’d rather an earthquake than to lug him around.

I waited a bit and then went back towards the hotel, grabbed a bit to eat. I had given some thought of going back t see him go back into he hideaway, but during dinner the wind came up and a front came through and the weather went for cool to cold, besides I had pretty much had as much fun as I could stand for the day.

This hotel has a reputation as being noisy, so I took a Valium and slept through the after party.

Today I woke feeling normal. Got up, grabbed a cup’o Joe and went out after being advised to trade my fleece into for a rain coat. Back at the Cathedral, the main doors were open and I stepped through them only to be stopped and a minder. Who said, no tourists, only worshipers. I thanked him, tuned to leave and one of the other minders overruled him and told me to enter. I have no idea what occurred there, but I was happy for it.

Inside was a full Mass. With male and female choir. All the smells and bells you could ask for. Not a tourist in sight. Rows and rows of school girls and boys. A head priest and a couple rows of half priests and a covey of Altar boys. I thought I saw the Eucharist being given t some of the men on the altar. A pronouncement of faith my the congregation and the Lord’s Prayer. This is supposition because it was not in English. I went over to where I had lit my grandmother’s light and there was Mister Earthquakes. So he doesn’t live behind the altar everyday. Sort of off to the side so he can keep an eye on things.

I bought a city tour, that turned into an expedition. I thought were were going to sty in the city, instead we went all over the countryside looking at Incan rocks. I’m sure they were important, each in their own way, but they all blended into each other after a bit. I decided to sit out the last one. I was ready to quit 1 set of rocks before that one. It was getting colder and darker and we were nearing 13,000 feet. Time to know your limits. Back in he city proper we were dropped off and told to go there and turn right. That turned out to be a half mile uphill march back to the main square. Though even with 2,000 feet difference I could feel the difference in the oxygen level.

Back at the hotel, a bowl of soup and a beer. Tomorrow the train to Machu Pichu. I need to pack an over night back pack and eave the bulk of my luggage behind to pickup on my return.

I‘m tired, I’m quitting this – good night.







Monday, April 15, 2019

Last days are lucky days

Sunday, April 14 2019 – evening Cuzco

The day started out as any other day. Way, way too early. I couldn’t remember if the boat left a 5 or 530am, so got up at 4. Turns out it as five thirty, and at five fifteen Fiona was shining her laser like head light in my face. Mary Ann was also on this trip. They had a 2 hour layover at Refugio since both she and Fiona were leaving Puerto Maldonado later than the rest of us. I was looking forward to a leisurely 6 to 8 hours on a fiberglass canoe with an outboard on the back and no toilet facilities. That sounds like something directly Heaven sent. Not.


The ride was the ride. The engine noise in the rear, the wind in my face. The guides yacking among themselves. I am occasionally nodding off and occasionally awake. We’ve past this same river several times now Crap ! I could almost helm the boat. Just as I am starting to relax, someone up front is making a big commotion and pointing at a sand bar. Then I hear the word “Yag War”. Yag War ?!?!? Not Land Rover or Aston Martin, Jaguar !?!?!?!? Well so went my nice relaxing time. I sort of see it waayyy over there, and pop a iPhone shot. It isn’t worth getting out the Nikon. The guide says “we’ll wait here.” - I knew it - “and go back when he starts to cross the river.” - REALLY !! Time to get the lens cap off the telephoto. The cat got in the water and the driver pulled around and got almost too close got my telephoto. It was a real treat to just see this head in the water with a small wake behind it. When it got to the shore I guess it didn’t view us as harmful, because it loped along the river bank for several minutes before squeezing though the bamboo and back into the jungle.

Everyone on the boat was jacked on Adrenalin. And it took a while before the doldrums returned. Fiona and Mary Ann got off and a new tribe got on. Half way there, only 3 and a half hours to go. We didn’t have any adventures from that point until the port, bus ride and airport and still no drama. My last view of Puerto Maldonado was Fiona waving good bye to me. Some way she and Mary Ann made it before I left. A two hour break would have been sweet.

On the plane it is 3 – 3, my 3 was 2.5. The headrest was broken and laying on the seat back on the aisle seat. I settled into my window seat and sat back to wait and see what happened with the headrest passenger. Well wouldn’t you know, he showed up, before even looking at his seat, takes his carry on and pounds it into the bin before his row number. I felt sorry for any squishy someone had put in before him. Then he notices his seat (why the cabin crew didn’t short cut this earlier I not for me too know) and throws the proverbial shit fit. The flight seems to be fully booked and Mr. My bag is more important than our bag, might have to sit on a different plane. The crew found him a seat, darn. Then I see Mary Ann walking down the aisle. She must have gotten herself on an earlier flight. Good for her.

The plane takes off, reaches cruising altitude, starts to descend (just a little) and we land a Cuzco. When I get to the door I see stairs down. This can only mean one thing – stairs up. Mind you we are at 11 thousand feet, and I’m used to sea level, plus 5 feet 9 inches. My calf is still a bit angry so the stairs go slow, in the terminal is a ramp that goes up 20 feet. I refuse to show weakness and tell myself Cuzco is as good as anyplace to have a heart attack, so no stopping! I made it, barely. I did ‘need’ to stop at the top to adjust something in my bag though. As soon as we reached level ground we had to go back down to street level, where we started ! Waiting for baggage, Mary Ann came over to chat. She ad arrived just as they were going o close the cabin doors with 2 seats empty and she got one of them. Lucky. She asked if I wanted t share a taxi, I told her the hotel said they wold send one for 20 Peruvian, but she was welcome. Of course the hotel failed to send one. Some slick as willing to do it for 30, I told him 25, mumbled something bout 5 to park, I said 20. He turned away. A minute of so later he says how much you want to pay. I told him 20. He hollered over to the junkiest taxi with a light on top and off we went for 20. Mary Ann said she paid 50 to and from the airport last time. She said I guess it pays to haggle. I;m glad she was along, with her help the driver found my hotel. We bid adieu with a hug and off she went.

The hotel is nice enough. Close to most of the tourist spots and off the street. It is a little noisy, but the reviews noted that.

I dropped my bags and went for a walkabout, slowly, very slowly. Found the Cathedral and the worlds highest Irish pub. Had a glass of orange juice and a plate of nachos there (Irish nachos aren’t that good) and came back to the hotel. Gasping for air all the way.





Everyone gets a name

Saturday April 13th 2019 – Same place in the jungle

FUCK! It’s dark at 4am here, and the electricity isn’t available then. My iPhone started making it’s alarm noise and only after reaching through the mosquito netting and doing the blind hand dance on night stand was I able to find it and smack it in the right sequence to make it be quiet and let my neighbors get some rest. I turned over to get out of bed and got entangled in the mosquito netting. I am not sure if it is designed to keep the critters out or lock them in. I am obviously staying in the staff area, lots of moving around at Oh Dark Thirty Which is anytime after 1030pm). I am very glad I laid out today’s clothes last night, because no electricity light now and I needed to get dressed by flashlight I think I got my clothing on the right side out and my panties with the legs through the correct openings.

The walkway was a bit damp and I was fearful that it was from rain, but the stars are big and bright .. yadda yadda .. Seems it is just the humidity. I found the coffee bar and took two cups of medicine. I wasn’t bad medicine, I read the Peruvians loved instant, this has grounds in it, so it must have been brewed someway. I was in the dark enjoying the solitude and quiet. Catch the flit of a bat occasional. Really enjoying myself. During the daylight house,I’ve never been alone. Good company, but I am no used to being submerged in so much humanity. Then came down the raised avenue the flicker of a headlamp. Turned away and then the person was standing next to me, I looked op at the sound of her voice and was blinded by a bazillion lumen of over amped LED lights. Fuck! My Swedish princess (Fiona from Shrek), can’t you turn it down or off. Every group has one. Someone who has no clue that they are traveling with other people and that they have needs and wants too. Sometimes it is me, sometimes It is someone else.

Saturday April 13th 2019 – Same place in the jungle

FUCK! It’s dark at 4am here, and the electricity isn’t available then. My iPhone started making it’s alarm noise and only after reaching through the mosquito netting and doing the blind hand dance on night stand was I able to find it and smack it in the right sequence to make it be quiet and let my neighbors get some rest. I turned over to get out of bed and got entangled in the mosquito netting. I am not sure if it is designed to keep the critters out or lock them in. I am obviously staying in the staff area, lots of moving around at Oh Dark Thirty Which is anytime after 1030pm). I am very glad I laid out today’s clothes last night, because no electricity light now and I needed to get dressed by flashlight I think I got my clothing on the right side out and my panties with the legs through the correct openings.

The walkway was a bit damp and I was fearful that it was from rain, but the stars are big and bright .. yadda yadda .. Seems it is just the humidity. I found the coffee bar and took two cups of medicine. I wasn’t bad medicine, I read the Peruvians loved instant, this has grounds in it, so it must have been brewed someway. I was in the dark enjoying the solitude and quiet. Catch the flit of a bat occasional. Really enjoying myself. During the daylight house,I’ve never been alone. Good company, but I am no used to being submerged in so much humanity. Then came down the raised avenue the flicker of a headlamp. Turned away and then the person was standing next to me, I looked op at the sound of her voice and was blinded by a bazillion lumen of over amped LED lights. Fuck! My Swedish princess (Fiona from Shrek), can’t you turn it down or off. Every group has one. Someone who has no clue that they are traveling with other people and that they have needs and wants too. Sometimes it is me, sometimes It is someone else.

Lucy the guide arrived and after finding my hiking boots among a 100 other boots of the same style (No boots allowed in the lodge) we were away to see more Macaws. Different location from yesterday and the day before. Four of us in the group. My hobbled self, our Swedish Fiona, and a boy/girl couple. Lucy is a walking machine, I am still hurting and running at about 80%, but can mostly keep up. Toes down are alright, toes up, stretching whatever muscle is attached to the Achilles tendon wake me right up ! A very short boat trip, a shot set of stairs an a stroll in the woos and we were at the lick. Similar to yesterday, but a little more vegetation on the clay cliff. The Macaws were calling and flying. He kept getting closer and closer then some silent warning went trough them and an explosion of feathers and they were off. Coffee and cake with Fiona asking every question in the book, monopolizing Lucy and the birds slowly returned. Finally a few came down to the the lick. Not nearly as impressive as yesterday, but way better than the first day. A nice Toucan and a few other sights, but too seen we had to hit the boat. We just HAD to get back for breakfast ! I’d of rather pass on breakfast and waited for the Macaws. But this train that the lodge runs has to stay on schedule.

Breakfast was breakfast. Some cereal, an egg dish or two, potatoes (of course ! They were invented here), juice and coffee.. food. The train started up again about 930am, and Fiona was there. Sigh! Back down the trail to the boat and back to the same drop off point as the clay lick, only this time we went left, not right. It was billed as an easy Island walk. I was feeling pretty close to normal, but it was best to not push it. Along the way, Fiona found a Scarlet Macaw feather, a weird flower, 2 leaves, several sounds up in the trees and down on the ground and she needed to have each and everyone explained and take the perfect picture, no matter how long it took to get the right frame. Also along was Jimmy Olsen Cub Reporter, well actually he had nothing to do with the news, he was an avid birder. He knew exactly how many different species of birds he had identified and was looking for more. Unfortunately looking for birds is a full time avocation and don’t leave much room for the social graces, like a response with more than 4 words. We took a long pause at a pond and examined the critters. After a while the critters got bored watching us, so we left back to the boat.

Lunch, ya know? It had been almost 4 hours since we last ate. It was nice to see the old tribe fr lunch though. The Not Harrys, The Skipper (he brought us all together), the Professor (Mrs. Skipper taught school), Ginger (Not because she was dumb or an actress, but because she was very stylish), Mary Ann (our down to earth actress). Once in a while we might get a guest star or two, but mostly it as us. The Skipper old us this grand story of going to Chile in the 60’s and getting stuck making subsistence ages to get enough money to get back to the US. I think I told the Southern Comfort tale. After lunch we had a short break, before our Sunset Cruise.

Who is my seat mate? Yes, Fiona. The Professor and Ginger (Wow! A red head to boot) were off learning about making drugs from The forest plants. Skipper skipped. Mary Ann was doing some sort of strenuous outdoor activity. It was a boat ride, and we had ordered and bought our drinks, except not everyone got that memo. So I split my beer with a couple from Poland, maybe that will offset the Karma for the free ride in Krakow. There were monkeys in the trees, and birds, and furry creatures, but honestly who cares? There were no Macaws.

Back at the lodge, the Skipper and I told one another tales of wild abandon in our youth. He’s really smart, funny and a true gentleman, the Professor is lucky to have him. Dinner was lunch only bigger and different topics. After dinner as the Macaw research center talk, a PBS pledge drive with some knowledge thrown in. I didn’t pick up any new information, I wanted to ask a few questions, but he made it clear he didn’t approve of captive bred Macaws, so I crunched down and slid away to bed.
Lucy the guide arrived and after finding my hiking boots among a 100 other boots of the same style (No boots allowed in the lodge) we were away to see more Macaws. Different location from yesterday and the day before. Four of us in the group. My hobbled self, our Swedish Fiona, and a boy/girl couple. Lucy is a walking machine, I am still hurting and running at about 80%, but can mostly keep up. Toes down are alright, toes up, stretching whatever muscle is attached to the Achilles tendon wake me right up ! A very short boat trip, a shot set of stairs an a stroll in the woos and we were at the lick. Similar to yesterday, but a little more vegetation on the clay cliff. The Macaws were calling and flying. He kept getting closer and closer then some silent warning went trough them and an explosion of feathers and they were off. Coffee and cake with Fiona asking every question in the book, monopolizing Lucy and the birds slowly returned. Finally a few came down to the the lick. Not nearly as impressive as yesterday, but way better than the first day. A nice Toucan and a few other sights, but too seen we had to hit the boat. We just HAD to get back for breakfast ! I’d of rather pass on breakfast and waited for the Macaws. But this train that the lodge runs has to stay on schedule.

Breakfast was breakfast. Some cereal, an egg dish or two, potatoes (of course ! They were invented here), juice and coffee.. food. The train started up again about 930am, and Fiona was there. Sigh! Back down the trail to the boat and back to the same drop off point as the clay lick, only this time we went left, not right. It was billed as an easy Island walk. I was feeling pretty close to normal, but it was best to not push it. Along the way, Fiona found a Scarlet Macaw feather, a weird flower, 2 leaves, several sounds up in the trees and down on the ground and she needed to have each and everyone explained and take the perfect picture, no matter how long it took to get the right frame. Also along was Jimmy Olsen Cub Reporter, well actually he had nothing to do with the news, he was an avid birder. He knew exactly how many different species of birds he had identified and was looking for more. Unfortunately looking for birds is a full time avocation and don’t leave much room for the social graces, like a response with more than 4 words. We took a long pause at a pond and examined the critters. After a while the critters got bored watching us, so we left back to the boat.

Lunch, ya know? It had been almost 4 hours since we last ate. It was nice to see the old tribe fr lunch though. The Not Harrys, The Skipper (he brought us all together), the Professor (Mrs. Skipper taught school), Ginger (Not because she was dumb or an actress, but because she was very stylish), Mary Ann (our down to earth actress). Once in a while we might get a guest star or two, but mostly it as us. The Skipper old us this grand story of going to Chile in the 60’s and getting stuck making subsistence ages to get enough money to get back to the US. I think I told the Southern Comfort tale. After lunch we had a short break, before our Sunset Cruise.

Who is my seat mate? Yes, Fiona. The Professor and Ginger (Wow! A red head to boot) were off learning about making drugs from The forest plants. Skipper skipped. Mary Ann was doing some sort of strenuous outdoor activity. It was a boat ride, and we had ordered and bought our drinks, except not everyone got that memo. So I split my beer with a couple from Poland, maybe that will offset the Karma for the free ride in Krakow. There were monkeys in the trees, and birds, and furry creatures, but honestly who cares? There were no Macaws.

Back at the lodge, the Skipper and I told one another tales of wild abandon in our youth. He’s really smart, funny and a true gentleman, the Professor is lucky to have him. Dinner was lunch only bigger and different topics. After dinner as the Macaw research center talk, a PBS pledge drive with some knowledge thrown in. I didn’t pick up any new information, I wanted to ask a few questions, but he made it clear he didn’t approve of captive bred Macaws, so I crunched down and slid away to bed.