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.




Parrots on the lick, at last

Friday April 12th 2019 – a different someplace Amazon jungle – evening

Dawn comes early ‘round these parts pardner. Around five thirty I decided to give up on bed. I had a solid 8 by then and it seemed like a good time to see how bad my leg was. Turned out not all that bad, certainly not 100% but 70% or so. Up from last eve’s 50%.

At breakfast on of my table mates said she had flowers, a balloon and a bottle of wine to celebrate her birthday 4/11. Only rub, she was born November 4th. One of those lost in translation times. But being a smart woman, too the card and the wine. It would have been bad form to refuse, you know.

It was the same drill as yesterday only at a reasonable time. Down the trail and steps to the boat and wobble across 1x12’s and aboard. A different boat. Instead of a bench seat the length of the vessel we had individual front facing padded seats. It was luxurious. We went back to the same clay lick as yesterday and had a chance to visit with my new tribe along the way. A pretty good tribe. Part of the tribe is a family with 4 or 5 children, maybe more. On the way the littlest one wanted to see a Jaguar from the boat. The guide pointed out a huge tree,I think it was a Kapok tree. Her father asked her what the guide said. She said the best reply of the trip. “Just another tree”. I didn’t have any complaints with yesterday’s tribe, but this current tribe is more interesting and has more depth.

At the cove where the lick in located we grounded the boat and like Springbok leapt ashore. That might be a slight exaggeration. This group took the ‘Shut the fuck up ! And whisper” rule to heart. Not like yesterdays semi zoo. The Macaws were on the other side of the lick today and I was afraid it was going to be a repeat of yesterday’s solo clay Macaw. In pretty short order one flew down to the lick and then another and another. The all joined in, the Scarlets, Green Wings, and Blue and Golds, all jockeying a place at the table. There were a few territorial spats but for the most part. I was amazing, hat I was hoping for and expecting. This was the reason to come to Peru. We didn’t stay an awfully long time but we certainly stayed the right time. We stayed long enough to see the Macaws and for the teenagers to lose interest and start taking cutely posed selfies.

Back on the boat to unexplored scenery on the was to Tambopata. The river was low but running fast. We got grounded once and it took two men with poles to get us free. The guide said that in the dry season they will make some of the passengers get out and help push across the various bars. Arriving at the lodge I was thrilled to see that we only had a single flight of steps from the water sedge. Not like Refugio where I had to climb 50 steps to get to the 80 steps to get to walk uphill for 20 minutes. The area was flat !

We did the usual safari check-in a refreshing drink, and a lecture on the lodge and then the list of activities. Then we were escorted to our rooms. I had room 1. Everyone else in my tribe went one way and I went the other. I kind of figured it was D. Mengele pointing the healthy to thee right and old and lame to the left. Room 1 was a very short limp from the kitchen and dining area. The room is small and really uninviting. I have the feeling it is a room that is used by the staff since staff are on either side of me. But it is close to the main areas. One of my tribe told me that these room were over twice as far as they were in Rufegio. Except fr sleeping and toilet I’ve spent as little time as possible in there.

My tribe is cool. A couple potters, not Harry types. A fashion designer, male clothing

not female. An actress, who I don’t think I’ve seen, but think I will. Lunch of course was served. It had been at least 5 hours since we last ate a full breakfast. Gave us a chance to chat and bond. After lunch an outing was offered but I opted out of it, I was motorvating pretty well in the flat floor, but not so sure about on the trail. I typed a bit before my batteries died and looked at pictures of what I saw on my vacation, through the view finder of my camera.

At 6 a the sign up for tomorrow’s activities time. I (of course) did the local clay lick. I provisionally put my name down for a mi morning hike and an evening sunset boat ride. I think the term they used was ‘cruise’, it’s a boat ride with a drink at sundown, but you have to buy your own drink.

Since the clay lick call time was 445am I thought it would be a good bedtime of 9pm. Shower, a bag of ice, and some mosquito netting and ta-ta.

You can't travel without drama. Right llama?

Thursday April 11th 2019 – Evening

Last night was an early to bed night I was probably asleep by 9pm. Not a real sound sleep but it was more than being awake. The Howler monkeys were at it living up to their name with a vengeance. Why they had to do it a soon as the lights went out is beyond me. Then since there is no barrier between my room and the great outdoor, the critters came. Played tennis on top o my mosquito net for a lot of the night, with the spectators running on the roof and walls. I the middle of night nature called, not the Amazon nature, it as already calling, the normal nature call. The the decision, flashlight and wake up or no flashlight and step on somebody squishy or stingy. This took several minutes of thinking and eventually the flashlight over came the sound of crunching underfoot. The flashlight would have won out anyway. Is DARK! In this jungle when the lights are out. On Africa safaris, here is always starlight, if not moonlight. Here the stars can’t even penetrate the canopy, so it is like being in a mine.

I set the alarm and set a timer to go off at 4am. I had showered before bed so it was mostly jump out of bed and into clothing, Ala firemen, but no pole to slide down. We made the trek down the path to the steps leading o the water and the boat. I was sweating by 5am. We hopped on the boat in the dark and were up river in a flash. I was surprisingly chilly after the sweat blew off, I was happy the guide advised bringing a light jacket. I was glad Matt suggested that I pack my Uni Bomber fleece it worked well, especially the hood. An hour of going up steam around sandbars, clearing some of them by no more than a foot, if I was reading the depth pole the navigator was using.

We pulled up to a sand bar and stepped ashore to watch the birds an Macaws for a while and have breakfast. Breakfast was pretty basic, not C Rations, but not gourmet. Some Macaws and some other birds came and flew around, but none ventured to the clay lick. We hung out a while then leaped like Salmon back into the boat to go around the corner to a different part of the same lick. Same thing happened as the previous lick. Lots and lots of Macaws and vultures and even a Toucan (they don’t eat Fruit Loops, they eat insects). Finally one brave sole Macaw made it down to the lick, but that as it. Lots of pictures were shot, I looked t them at lunch and I’m not really happy with what I shot, but with lick and no rain maybe I’ll get to make then right tomorrow or Saturday. Our guide was asking everyone for their call phones and took several good ones through the telescope. Back to the boat around 11am and back to sweating.

The boat ride back to the lodge was only transportation. The guide tried t show us a few critters along the way but no one seemed to have their heart into it. Back to the steps up the riverbank and the uphill jaunt and sweating yes again. I have been pouring water in but it is only coming out a perspiration. I’m not sure if I should worry or not. I am not. Lunch was a full meal and pretty tasty. Passed the time with some unknown people and listened to known people retell their adventures.

After lunch I found a few winks in my bed and was back at it at 330pm to walk to the Ox Bow lake, there the Piranha’s live. Instead of my well traveled hiking boots, the guide instead on donning big black knee high rubber Wellingtons. They were tight around my calves and a little loose in the foot. Plus they were HEAVY! Not only would they protect my tootsies from the exterior damp, they guaranteed that my socks would be wringing wet by the end of the walk, since their breathabity does not exist. Off we clomped into the jungle, stopping from time to explain something, like an ant or a Brazil Nut, or a termite. We ended out way down the tail avoiding anything that even looked damp. Good golly why are we wearing the ‘Wellies’ if we are going to step around all the wet ? I could have worn my well loved hiking boots from what I've seen so far. Then we stepped across a damp onto a root and the Over-boot slipped and I felt my calf muscle pop ! Fuck ! Shit ! Hell ! In two steps it was sure I was out of going any further. and dreading getting back to the lodge. “Do you want to go on?”. No thank you. “Are you okay?” Limp, step, ouch – No I am not. Limp, step, ouch on I went. He stuck with me, at least he didn’t shoot me and leave my body for the carrion eaters, but he kept asking if I was alright with the inclination in his voice saying – You are fine. I sure a fuck didn’t feel alright. He walked e back as I half stepped all the way back to the lodge What took 20 minutes to walk took an hour to hobble. As soon as we got to the lodge it was Adios Muchacha and he was about to take off. Then e saw I was struggling with my right boot so (I felt) if not begrudgingly, at least inexperienced y assisted me getting that sucker off. Then he hit the highway, I had to call him back to give him a couple bucks.

I am putting it down to inexperience and not ineptitude. But I ma be a whiny bitch, I at least expected him too walk me into the lodge or notify staff. Instead he melted away like the morning mist. The lodge manager found me later and gave me a bag of ice and a pain relief spray. I am not sure the spray did anything but it sure felt good going on.

I have the ice on a few hours and then went to be among people for dinner,, grabbed some more ice from the bar tender and hopped into bed with ice and elevation and drifted off.




Alot about a little

Wednesday April 10 2019 – 7 pm – Someplace in the Amazon jungle

Sorry to tell you, Dorothy, but I have been seeing other birds. I saw several today and deep down in your DNA they are your relatives. There were three wending their way across the river, they were too high to photograph, so I guess if there isn’t digital it didn’t happen. So forget the previous few sentences.

It was a long day of not too much. Travel, travel – rinse and repeat. Taxi, big bus, airplane, small bus and finally over three hours on a boat. You have read the routine before, check out of the hotel, get to the airport. Find you misspelled name in some guy’s and follow him to your next piece of transportation and finally arrive at your night’s lodging.

There really isn’t much to say, before the river. No fat farters next to me on the plane. I did try the local soft drink, Inca Cola. It is a bright yellow with bubbles. Tastes like Double Bubble chewing gum with a hint lemon or lime in the background. It sounds worse than it is, I was expecting to be overpowered by sugar and as happy to find myself wrong.

The plane landed and I found the right guy and found myself on a bus with twenty other people. Then to the boat with a few more and we were off to our night’s rest. Along the way we passed various birds, a huge rat like create called a Capibura (sp?) and some Camen (mini alligators). A saw a couple Macaws over head but was too slow on the camera draw to capture an image of them. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better Macaw day.

The resort is an Eco-lodge which means the lighting is dim. The shampoos are weird. At least he water isn’t rationed. My room is a movie set. Not that is is plush or anything, what I mean is that there is no 4th wall. Three walls and then jungle. I was told if you on a movie set you seldom will see a ceiling, to hold the lights. Well my room also doesn’t have a ceiling. There is a roof but no ceiling. It is so open you can hear the people in the next room snore and I assume more.

I am tired, so off to thee room for a shower and bed at 9pm, a 4:45 call to get to the boat to see the clay lick tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Paragliders and the three dollar church

Tuesday April 9th 2019 – Lima,, Peru – Morning

Yesterday was me being just another tourist. After getting back to civilization with a SIM card in my phone it was off to find the places that Lonely Planet tells me I will find more of my kind. The Wandering Tourist.

In past cities I can’t walk 50 feet without a taxi, truck or motorcycle honking and asking if I needed a ride. Here that doesn’t seem to work. I think standing at the side of the road with your arm in the air might work, what I found was to lurk near an intersection and wait for a red light. Then spring from the sidewalk and tap on an empty cab’’s window, and stealthy slip into the rear seat.

The taxi I found knew where I wanted to go and quoted me the tourist price (six bucks). I sighed and made the “Oh, God you are ripping me off, but I guess I’m stuck” noise. Well half an hour later, after a myriad of twists and turns, a bit of freeway driving and then some more twists and turns we got to my destination. Not exactly what I wanted but within a few blocks. I am finding that my Arabic is better than my Spanish, and I thought I understood that the street I wanted was closed, but maybe he was saying I’d over stayed my welcome.

As soon as I stepped onto the pavement was accosted by the money changers and the water sales men and women. I knew I had reached my goal, or at least the general area. The cab driver did explain that one of the street was pedestrian only so I headed down that. Lots of up scale stores and people in a hurry to get someplace else. Not panic some place else, just big city someplace else. Then the was a gaggle of people. Some gawking and some watching a single person facing them talking as they gawked behind him/her. Yes I made it, my first sight in Peru.

A wonderful carved granite fronted church. Really intricate and quite imposing. The guide book said it was where the first mass was said in Lima. I stared and took a few photos before wandering inside. There was a small Mass going on, so I tried to be respectful and not clomp or click too loudly. I really like it, it felt intimate even though it was huge. The icons and carvings were well done and the chanting and response of the congregation was soothing. But enough of peace and tranquility, I had other things to stare at and hardy understand.

So back to the no autos street and onward. Another block or two the street opened up to a huge square and across the square was a two block long building surrounded by a high metal fence. My destination. The governor’s palace. Everyday at noon there is a changing of the guard and with cops, trumpets and brass band. I had arrived about 20 minutes late, but the brass band was still playing and the trumpeters were on the steps looking like something out of King Arthur. The view through the iron bars of the fence was awful and the sidewalk was a No-Go area, enforced by police with riot shields, Glocks and compact machine guns. There was no photo op for me, so I just watched. The band Umpahed and the trumpeters honked and then everyone marched away. – then the sidewalk was accessible. But only yo the nearest crack in the concrete before the fence, about 2 feet from the cold black iron. I walked down towards the ornate gate and stood my respectful half a meter from it’s jaws and raised my Nikon and the nearby machine gunner motioned me forward to the gate to be able to slip my lend trough the bars to get an unobstructed view of the open plaza and edifice beyond. I felt honored, but honestly the picture wasn’t worth the data it took up on my memory card.

Then off to follow the red line in the Lonely Planet. My first stop was a museum that looked interesting on the outside, but I wasn’t willing to spend the money to go inside. Next was the Cathedral. Thick oak doors, studded with short spikes and protected with lion heads. Inside there was a fee. Three bucks to go to church. I thought of the doors and wondered if there was an exit fee too. I really like the previous church better than this huge prayer to cash. There was the alcove dedicated to John the Baptist. I’d seen his head in Damascus – next ! There was the alcove to Mary, I’d been to the place they lived in Cairo – next ! Then Saint Peter, Damascus again – next ! I think I’m a little jaded. Of more importance, where is the Saint John. It had been a long time since my hotel’s bathroom. I fund the toilet and suddenly the art and geegaws were much more interesting. There was a silver stick hung on the wall and people were coming up to it and placing their hands on it and praying. T had belonged to one of the church’s notables and was thought to have the power to answer prayers. – Now I’m no biblical scholar but I thought that for Christians belief in Jesus was sufficient and idolatry as forbidden. I’m so confused.

Back outside, a bottle of water from a disabled woman and a stroll down a couple streets. A glance at the ruins of the old city walls and I’d had about as much fun as I could stand. It was hot and the sun was high, time to head back to Casa Radisson. The taxi was the same price as before, I am glad I had my phone, to show him the hotel’s web page for the address. Again the language barrier got grossly in the way. Why doesn’t everyone here speak English ? I mean, come on ! We are I the same time zone for chrissy sakes !

Back at the hotel a power nap and a little soap and water and life was again worth living.

The restaurant I wanted to eat at only had a two month waiting list for reservations, so it was out. The concierge suggested one a two block walk away. Well, fine ! Well, fine, it was indeed. Jammed full of people, fresh fish, attentive service. Ceviche like I fell from Heaven. Sweet, spicy, fresh and attractive. It was the best thing I had eaten in a month. I tried a Pesco, the local booze. I was advised to avoid the ice and to avoid the whipped egg white garnish for biological reasons. The drink was nice, and I don’t feel that it was lacking anything by omitting those ingredients. It was a wonderful dinner. The price ? About the same as breakfast for two back home at the local diner.

Back towards the hotel it was a bit more wobbly that it was going. That drink surprised me. Safe in my room, I finished the last few pages in my e-book. Turned out the lights and slept soundly until my normal wake up time. Morning routine and breakfast and ready to it the streets for more looking and walking.

According to the bell man the beach is just a short walk away, short walk for him. He isn’t old and overweight. We’ll see. --- Seems he is right. What was to be 2 blocks was more like 5 but basically he as right. I found myself on a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Down below was a long pier and bobbing in the water were the morning surfers. It seemed as good a place to stop, I mean I did already walk five blocks, don’’t you know ? Nice little coffee stand with n reason to be there except there was a view. The Americano espresso was passable and the view was impeccable. Heck they even has a water station for the dogs. How could they be more welcoming. Sitting and sipping I exchanged instant messages with a friend back home. Take a photo, and it is there in a minute or two. I am in awe of this electronic marvel called the internet.

After coffee it took a walk south, I had a goal in mind, but it was very flexible. Past the shoperia with names that you would see in any upscale mall in any where in the world. The bike rental station was near. A couple dollars an hour for some well maintained bikes seemed a fair deal. Since I am afraid of the tap water I haven’t been drinking as much as I should. There what should I spy but a little stand with fresh fruit and bottles of water. I got a small water and then found out what I had been warned about. No one has change. He had to dig into several boxes and pockets and a bag to even find a close approximation of the 2 dollar (10 Soles) bill I gave him. Well that taught me, when you have a chance to get a bill broken do it.

Half an hour later I realized I was going in the wrong direction. I supposed to cross the bridge at the dog water cafe, not walk away from the bridge. A simple U-turn past most of the same vendors I had declined previously. When I got to the shopperia, they must have a public toilet. Shoppers have to pee too. Well of course thy do. After that chore lunch seemed like a good idea. Mango Restaurant smelled like a good choice. It was. There was a buffet and an Ala Carte menu. I took the Ala Carte path, with another ceviche choice. This one with an Asian theme. Nice fish marinated in a sweet soy and ginger sauce, served on half an Avocado. It was really good, not as good as last night’s Civeche with Coconut milk, but certainly in the running. I watched the waves, and the Para-gliders soar and had a really nice lunch.

Back on the trail, past the dog cafe and across the bridge and here was the para-glider’s airport. I found a shady bench and watched them take off and land for the next hour. Tandem and solo fliers flew gracefully in the sky. I came to Peru to see the birds, I didn’t plan of watching human birds. The passenger would raise their feet, the pilot would take a step towards the cliff edge and one step on earth and the next in air. I don’’t know how long a fight was, but I had the feeling that the riders got their money’s worth. The two men next to me, cheered the take offs and squealed at the close call landings. They were as much fun to watch as the fliers.


I’m back at the hotel now. A glass of wine at my side, thinking about what to do for dinner. Tomorrow it is Bye-bye Lima and off to the Amazon. It is 72 degrees here in Lima and 86 at the nearest city to the Amazon. Guess I better pack some extra deodorant.


Pigeon porn, with everyone watching