Peru in 16 Pictures

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In a complete departure from my usual blogging style, this post is going to be light on text and heavy on visuals. This is because I’m currently in the ongoing throws of a “food bourne illness” to put it delicately. Day seven of the ancient Incan stomach bacteria that I’m lovingly calling WuaynaKihlPhoe (sound it out).

So….yeah. I have an appointment tomorrow morning with le doctor.

BUT, even with all that, Peru was amazing. It’s beautiful, diverse and enigmatic. You’ll hear all about it in additional posts, I promise. In the meantime, here’s a taste:

Other Category on incoming customs form
The incoming customs form. We, of course, filled in the “other” bubble.

The marital status question on the incoming customs form. We, of course, filled in the “other” bubble.

guinea pig pottery at Gastronomy Museum Lima, Peru

Guinea pig pottery at the Gastronomy Museum in Lima. They love their guinea pigs there. Especially around dinner time.

Brass band in Lima, Peru

A brass band serenades us at the Governor’s Palace.

Dinner at Astrid & Gaston, Lima Peru

17 course tasting menu at Astrid & Gaston in Lima. Including cuy. (I swear, I only had one tiny bite)

protest in Peru
That would be a highway closed by protesting fishermen on our trip to Peru.

While on our way down to Paracas on the Panamerican Sur highway, we got caught in a protest involving 200 fishermen. We were stuck for two hours and according to this story, the line of cars stretched back 5 miles. Listen, I’m all about civil unrest and all that jazz, but it seriously cut into my pool time and I was not amused.

tuk tuk in Peru

One of the most popular forms of transportation are these super flashy little three-wheeled cabs. I totally want one. I’m looking into it. I plan to decorate it pretty obnoxiously, of course. Lots of fringe and stickers.

Classy in Paracas

In Paracas, we stayed at this super fancy resort full of overpriced beer and snacks. So, we walked 5 minutes down the road to the small seaside town of El Chaco, where even with gringo prices, we paid a lot less for beer, sodas and snacks. Here’s me on the way back with my Cusquenos (Listen, it was hot and I was thirsty after watching all those protestors.)

Sand duning in Paracas

Action shot: We went sand buggying in the deserts outside of Paracas. We even gave sandsurfing a shot. I sucked at it. XFE was actually pretty good.

fruits at Lima mercado

Back in Lima before we traveled to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, we swung by the Surgillo Food Market. Not pictured: the innocent looking and 0h-so-tasty coconut palleta that started all of my stomach problems.

sunset in Lima, Peru

Last night in Lima. This was the sunset from our room at the JW Marriott in Miraflores. Pretty stunning. The calm before the stomach storm.

Birthday cake at Tambo del Inka in Peru

Birthday cake number one (oh yes, there were two) from the wonderfully nice people at Tambo del Inka resort in Urubamba. Amazing, amazing resort. (the cake, ironically, was coconut, but no hard feelings. Can’t hate on a cake).

Peru Rail

The slowest train in the whole damn world. That’s because everybody — people, cows, sheep, backpackers — use the railroad tracks as a road for walking on and blocking.

Llama at Machu Pichu

What’s that? Oh, yeah, no biggie, just a freaking LLAMA hanging out at Machu Picchu. There were like, 5 of them up there. CRAY-CRAY.

Me at Machu Picchu
You can’t tell, but this not-so-young lady is wondering where the nearest bathroom is.

Not to be outdone: Poe at Machu Picchu. I look like a giant looming over the ruins in this picture. Hilarious. Machu Picchu looks like a tiny little board game that I’m about to smash with my giant-ness.

Birthday cake at the Sanctuary, Machu Picchu Peru

Cake TWO: this time, from the staff at the Sanctuary at Machu Picchu. And it was chocolate. And it was delicious.

Peru procession

I’m not sure what this was. As we were driving back to Cusco for the start of our very long flight home (about 24 hours of travel, including a looooong layover in Lima), we came upon this procession. I thought it was some sort of parade for like, a saint’s day or something, but it actually might have been a funeral. Yikes. Awkward. I would never knowingly photograph a funeral. But all of these guys seemed so happy! I was confused.

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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. (Wait....do 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.)