Updated: Feb 11
I have so many stories to share from the first 2 days, but the people I typically share with have lives. Hopefully, you don’t! In that spirit, I will unburden most of my thoughts.
Note: I’m not editing jack. I’m lying in a tent in 90 degrees writing this.
First, I typically love flying United, but they have bungled this trip for me from the start. They scheduled all my flights too close together, making the last person to board each plane after my first. The door was either closed or closing each time. While that alone is not worthy of a complaint, my luggage being 4 days late is. My father was instrumental in forcing me to pack for every possibility, and that strategy has now paid off twice. I had all my essentials in a carry-on backpack (more on this in a moment), so I have been able to survive “sin mi maleta” (without my bag). Hopefully, it arrives in the next day or so, even though I’m already camping at my first destination with a borrowed tent.
The other issue I had with United was about my backpack. I carried onto two flights with no issues, and the last leg they tell me it can’t go on the plane. I almost lost public composure. However, again, I was prepared. I had a bag inside my bag for just such an occasion. I was hopeful my backpack would survive, and it did. BUT! They lost my favorite water bottle and an attachment for my GoPro in the process. Freaking great.
I’m in Lima by the time I realize this perfect storm of incompetence has struck, and I decided not to let it hold down my trip. Originally the first morning was going to be recovering, but my good friend Lewis suggested we go bird banding with the STEU Crew, and I cannot say no to bird banding. Ever. Ever. Ever.
It would not have been such a rough day, but when I arrived at the residence I was staying at (family of another friend), we stayed up and talked until 2 AM, even though I knew we’d be leaving for banding around 6 AM. I’m not logical when it comes to adventure. Between the little sleep, time change, and stress, I’m surprised my little rubber band of a brain didn’t snap on Sunday. Especially when you account for the transportation system in Lima.
El Diablo Rojo
Okay, there were no buses actually named this that I saw, but there sure could have been! Between the buses and taxis, humans are pushed together with the lack of space that usually requires a wedding ring.
The taxis do have more space, but they also have more leeway to take advantage. They see two gringos ripe for the picking, and will often try to exploit your ignorance of the area. Lewis, however, was trained to understand the Lima transit system well. Though we did still have issues. (More on that in another post.)
The last thing I will mention before abruptly ending this post with no warning is that the family I’m staying with for much of this journey is amazing. They are friendly, understanding, and loving. Even though my Spanish is subpar, they make every single effort to teach me. While staying in a resort sounds nice, connecting with a real family from a different culture is far more rewarding. And of course, the food is amazing.