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Monday, October 13, 2014

Peru: days one and two

We're back from vacation in Peru, tired but invigorated from the break. Our trip to Peru started with our first experience with TSA precheck, which I think was worth the money: we went from entering the airport to sitting at our gate in under 15 minutes- and that included checking bags. Security took only a minute with the nonexistent line and no need to remove shoes and layers. Our connection was in Miami, and since I'd run far that morning ad hadn't had time to eat more than an apple I'd grabbed on the way, I planned to grab lunch there. No such luck: our plane sat on the Tarmac for close to two hours because a power outage earlier necessitated a computer reboot, and we had to wait for an IT tech. By the time we got to Miami, our plane was already boarding. And then its takeoff was delayed, too - never did airplane food taste so good as when they fed us dinner on that flight! We arrived in Lima late, and our travel agency, Andean treks, picked us up. By now we were so late we went straight to sleep in our kind of dirty hotel, which did not have hot water! 
It appears that the base of the sink was an after-thought
Our complimentary breakfast, though, was my first introduction to Peruvian style coffee: a hot coffee concentrate that you dilute as you desire with hot water. Since I drink my coffee pretty strong, I loved it. I was looking forward to good, strong mountain coffee on this trip and I wasn't disappointed. 
We took a cab to the airport and far the  first time I noticed how far a dollar goes in Peru; the Peruvian currency is the Nuevo sol, and the 30 minute ride to the airport was just s35, or a little over $12. We flew from Lima to Cuzco on a short flight, noticing at once how efficient and polite the Peruvians were. Throughout this stay, I kept observing that workers in Peru 1. Work hard and 2. Are trusted to make autonomous decisions to improve crowd control, traffic flow, service, etc.  
Cuzco is at 12,000 feet of elevation , which is 12,032 feet higher than where I live, so obviously I was concerned about altitude sickness. To prevent it, David and I asked a doctor friend of ours to prescribe acetazolamide. We took it two days prior to travel, and for the first day in Cuzco. When I arrived at our hotel, I was slightly out of breath, but we didn't have any headache or nausea, and in an hour or two I was breathing just fine. Perhaps the coca tea helped: it is a local remedy. 

Hopefully I won't have a random drug test at work, since coca is the source for cocaine and will show as such on a u-tox!
Coca tea = leaves in a cup
We checked into the he TikaWasi hotel, which was a mid-level option from our agency, but the cutest little place ever. We had a room with a great view of the city and the lush hotel gardens. I definitely would recommend this hotel- we loved it. 
View from our hotel
As soon as we checked in, we were picked up for our Cuzco tour. And that's another post, because this post is long enough! 


  1. I noticed the efficiency on my flight from Lima to Cuzco as well! Loved my trip to Peru!

  2. OMG OMG OMG. Cannot wait to hear more about this trip!!

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  4. I'm laughing at my previous comment because it was totally something from another piece I was working on. Thank GOODNESS it was appropriate when I hit paste and publish! good grief! Ha! What a I meant to say was: How exciting about Peru!! a dream trip for sure!! #bucketlist

    1. LOL I've done that. Sometimes I'm lazy and copy and paste words with a lot of accents in them so I don't have to mess with that keyboard, then I've accidentally hit paste again mid-email. I've emailed my boss with a heavily accented French name inserted in the middle of the text for no reason.

  5. I didn't realise that there was a drug that would help with altitude sickness. Apart from cocaine, that is. You learn something new every day.

  6. That photo! Who needs a sink base - just plug it right into the wall. :) Glad your tiny dose of cocaine helped with the altitude sickness - remind me to try it the next time I'm there and then never be able to come home again. That would be an awkward tox screening.