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.)

Backup Plan in Case Blogging Doesn’t Make Me Rich: Entrepreneur

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my future. I share the dream of most Americans in that someday I want to boss people around, have them do my bidding while they make me great sums of money on which I can lounge all day in a chinchilla bikini. What I’m saying is, I’d make a great entrepreneur.

Isn’t that right, Carla Bruni? Looking good, former first lady of France.

However, I am no Steve Jobs or that Zuckerberg kid. I really, really need to find that one great idea. But it just eludes me. Every time I hear about some genius idea, I think to myself: “ugh. I could have thought of that.” But I didn’t.

So, I’m trying to keep my eyes and ears open for that next bazillion dollar idea. Here are a few recent ideas:

Temporary heel tips – I really thought I was on to something here. I lost the tips on one of my heels recently right in the middle of the day, which meant that for the remainder of the day, you could hear my one-legged metallic clacking echoing throughout the marble halls of my work building. Not to mention the sparks flying from metal-on-cement when I left the building for various errands. I tried sticking gum on the metal, but that, of course, didn’t work and left strings of green gum everywhere.

What I really needed, I told myself, was just something to tide me over until I got home. Just a patch. Wisely, before I went charging ahead on my new brilliant idea, I did a Google search and discovered that this product already exists. Of course, I’ve never seen these wondrous things anywhere, so it’s really an issue of this company needing my skills to help them with their marketing and distribution, not inventing the actual product.

Even celebrities like Eva need my tips to go.

Depends for Runners – I mean, we wouldn’t actually call it Depends, but something similar-sounding, like, RearEnds. It seems to me that a lot of runners have bladder control issues. I speak from experience on this one. And yet, the only advice I ever read is to don’t drink water, lose some weight and do Kegel exercises. What the hell? I’m sweating to death – I need to drink water. I’m obviously trying to lose weight, that’s why I’m running. And on the Kegels: I’m running, isn’t that exercise enough?

We need something that will let us pee on the run, without breaking our stride. I can actually see a whole line of running gear coming out of this idea – extra absorbent socks, pee-protection lined shorts, butt-covering t-shirts. Whatever your incontinence needs, we’ve got you covered.

Or maybe I should sell porta potties aimed at runners.

Phone covers with badge holders – I personally do not have this problem, but a lot of my co-workers tend to forget their work badges and then need to go through a very stringent security process involving calling another co-worker to come down and fetch them and escort them to their desk. I also notice that while these seeming professionals often forget their badges, they NEVER forget their iPhones. So, perhaps, if their badge was attached to their phones, they wouldn’t leave them at home.

Snake venom skin care – I recently read that the Duchess of Cambridge uses a bee venom mask to help maintain her gorgeous skin. It’s supposedly like nature’s Botox. Heck, if it’s good enough for royalty, it’s good enough for me, and I’m willing to take this idea a step further and start rounding up some snakes. But again, it looks like I might be too late on this one. According to this fascinating article on the World’s 10 Weirdest Beauty Treatments, snake venom facials are already popular among Hollywood royalty. As are Bird Poop Facials, according to the article.

Pillows – This isn’t a new idea, and I really don’t have a way to improve upon it, but holy crap. Have you seen how much throw pillows cost? It’s highway robbery. It is not at all uncommon to see a single pillow going for $70-$80 on One Kings Lane or Joss & Main. And good luck finding any pillow anywhere for less than $15.

Ah, that explains it. The pillows are lined in money.

What’s more, there are TONS of people out there making them. You would think the market was flooded with them, but no. The demand and appetite for decorative pillows must be INSATIABLE.

And here’s the dirty little secret: I’ve actually dabbled in sewing and let me tell you something: pillows are stinking easy. It is quite literally two pieces of fabric and some stuffing. It’s not neurosurgery. Hell, it’s not even upholstering or painting, both of which are significantly harder.

So, maybe coming up with a product isn’t going to work out from me. Surely there must be some service that has not yet been thought up.

Nit Picker – I’m really good at going around and pointing out problems and flaws. Not solutions. Just flaws. I could come to your house and critique your furnishings. I could weigh in on what’s wrong with your outfit. I could probably even give you an earful on some personality flaws you might want to fix. Relatedly….

Nay Sayer – Similar to above, I can give you a million reasons why something won’t work.

Marketing person: We want to give candy to children?

Me: What?! Are you crazy? What happens when they get all hopped up and start running around high on your beneficence and run into the street and get hit by a bus? Or, what if they’re allergic to candy? Just think of the lawsuits. No, definitely not.

Marketing person: Well, what about just giving people money?

Me: Do you have any idea how disgustingly dirty money is? All the germs? What if people get sick and die from some dollar disease. Or, worse yet, they DON’T die, but they live and have to stay in the hospital for months recovering and even then, they have some long-term side effect like flaming hot ears. How are they supposed to work with flaming hot ears? You can’t answer a phone if you’re ears are on fire. Then they’ll sue the company because they can’t make a living. Do you want to support those people for the rest of their lives?

Marketing person: I guess we could just hold a contest with a prize.

Me: Well, good luck with that, but I know for a fact that legal will never go for it. It would draw too much attention to the company and with increased attention, comes increased regulation and oversight. I really don’t know what is wrong with you. It’s like you’re trying to get the company shut down.

Then, I would ever-so-subtly suggest that instead they give away some soft and lovely Poe Pillows instead. I might be able to swing a deal and get them for the marketing person for the cut-rate price of $59.99. Just don’t ask me to put the company logo on them. I wouldn’t want to be a sell out.