Nerves of Jello Over Here

I am very nervous about our upcoming trip to Peru, y’all.

I’m not nervous about packing. For once. Although, my new laissez faire “take what you wore yesterday and throw it in a bag (*plus clean underwear)” attitude won’t work for this trip. For one thing, I wore a bulky turtleneck, wool pants and a heavy coat yesterday. That won’t really work for a destination with temperatures in the 60s-80s.

I’m actually following this girl’s advice on packing for a safari, since our trip to Peru is sorta similar in a lot of ways. (Seriously, she has packing advice for just about every conceivable destination/time of year. Very helpful site)

safari packing

This trip is heavy on the moving around and outdoor adventure front, so no need for heels or going-out clothes.

I’m also not scared I’m going to be eaten by sharks, like I was when we were planning our trip to Australia. (Turned out that reef sharks are kinda small and wimpy and are in no way prepared to take a bite out of my flailing body. Also: we’re not diving in Peru. Sooooo…there’s that.)

No, I have lots of other things stressing me out.

Don't worry, Poe! I won't try to eat you. ( llamas bite?)
Don’t worry, Poe! I won’t try to eat you. (Wait….do llamas bite?)

For one thing, it’s our first trip to South America together and well, South America is a whole other ball of crazy coca tea (I’ll explain that reference a bit further down).

Peru in particular appears to be a bit, well, how shall I put this…..flexible in terms of criminal justice and acceptance of bribes. To be fair, it does appear that Peru is cleaning up its act a bit in terms of corruption. According to this lady in Peru who I’m sure has no reason whatsoever to make up such an assertion.

So, I’m worried that we’ll get ripped off repeatedly by cab drivers (related: cabs don’t have meters). Or worse – I really do not want to be shot in the stomach. That would suck.

I’m, of course, scared I’m going to be mugged. This apparently happens a lot. Even in nice neighborhoods in Lima.

I’m worried that we should not be driving on the roads, particularly not out into the desert. I’m worried that my pigeon Spanish won’t be good enough to keep us from being thrown into a Peruvian jail for some minor infraction like not having our side mirror at a 45 degree angle.

If Peruvian prison scares this guy, what do you think a mushball like me is going to do?
If Peruvian prison scares this guy, what do you think a mushball like me is going to do?

I’m very worried about altitude sickness when we go to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. And that to combat said altitude sickness, I’ll have to drink the local cure, which is a tea make out of cocaine leaves. That’s right. Cocaine leaves. Something I don’t need in my life: failing a random drug test at work and trying to explain THAT.

I’m worried that I’ll accidentally eat cuy—guinea pig, a local delicacy. (I’m tipping a 40oz for my guinea pig homies and childhood pets, Peanut and Walnut, right now.)

Also: This British travel website? NOT HELPING. Some snippets:

Spiritual cleansing – Shamans and other individuals offer ‘spiritual cleansing’ to tourists, especially in the Amazon area and Cusco. This service is not regulated and there have been serious illness and deaths following such ceremonies.

Sand buggies – There have been deaths and injuries involving recreational sand buggies, particularly in the sand dunes around Ica and Lake Huacachina. These buggies are unregulated and the drivers and agencies take no responsibility for the welfare of passengers.

Ugh. This is what I do now that I’m in my 40s. I stress and worry. I fret and overanalyze about all the things that could possibly go wrong.

I know—at least in my head—that none of these things are likely to happen to us. That we’re seasoned travellers. That we’ll be safe and smart. I know that we’ve arranged a car service to take us to and from the airports. We know not to get into just some random old hoopty cab and we’ll always negotiate a price first.

I know we won’t carry valuables (I’m not even bringing jewelry, or my phone, or any electronics) and we will stay vigilant in public places.

I know XFE will not let me become a drug mule, and that he’s already gotten a prescription for non-cocaine-laced altitude sickness pills for us.

I know that I will not take part in any spiritual cleansings or drive sand buggies in a reckless manner or eat furry little childhood pets.

I also know damn well that I should never look on the Internet for things to worry about because you will always, always find them.

In Peru, they can hate, they just need to not masticate! (wow. that was bad.)
In Peru, they can hate, they just need to not masticate! (wow. that was bad.)

5 thoughts on “Nerves of Jello Over Here

  1. Anticipating a big trip always stresses me out. Once I get on the road (or in the air), I feel like I can relax.

    One of the families in our neighborhood just took three young kids to Macchu Picchu and beyond–about a month ago. They had a fantastic experience, said the people there were so welcoming, etc. They enjoyed going to some of the sites farther away from Macchu Picchu better, because they were less crowded. Anyway, this is my way of saying that if a 3-year-old can make it, you should be ok. ; ) They did say that when they slept outside (!!!!!) in a rainforest hotel thingie, the bugs and monkeys were so loud, they couldn’t hear their alarm in the morning. ; )

    1. Wow! That family is so brave! I cannot even imagine. We are going a much more spoiled route and will not be camping, but i’m very consoled by the fact that a 3 yr old made it out ok (keep an eye on that kid for long-term effects, will you?)

  2. Thanks for the mention! I’m glad you found my lists helpful! I’ve been to Peru twice once in Summer and once in Winter and both times to Machu Piccu so please feel free to ask any specific questions 🙂

    It’s one of my favorite countries. As for the cab drivers just take the official airport taxis and have your hotel book them. I was also worried about this going on my own but just exercise caution and look for official ones not the ones without meters or signage.

    I was never encountered by anyone offering my spiritual cleansing to my dismay but I did have a mediocre massage for dirt cheap in Cusco.

    You can get altitude sickness pills at the airport or before you leave home. Their pharmacies might have it too. You’ll find Cusco is fully stocked with everything you might ever forget at home to do the trek. Otherwise, just munch on the cocoa leaves. I think you need a million for it to actually have any proper effect…

    Where are you swimming with sharks? I’ve been diving with dozens of reef sharks and even the most “dangerous” bull sharks but so long as you don’t pester them, they’ll leave you alone, even the big guys 😉

    Jeans are a MUST I can’t stress it enough. Nothing feels better than jeans when you’re in a high colder altitude. Maybe a cute pair of light flats for evenings?

    Thanks again for the mention! And don’t worry, it will be incredible 🙂

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