Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas vacation 2010-Peru Part 1

As it turns out, Martina Navratilova and I have more in common than the obvious (you know, my stellar tennis skills!). But, more on that later. Peru, was an interesting trip and to really bore you, I'll write about it in a number of posts.

Leaving Richmond was not an issue, except that Shelley didn't get the message that we were having pre-trip massages and arrived at our house to drive us to the airport early and then nearly drove off with out us! All our flights were good, and the flight from Atlanta to Lima was not too bad. We arrived in Lima around 1 am and then had to wait until 4:30ish for our flight to Cusco. The airport is nice enough to have benches that one can sleep on, so we dozed after trying our first Spanish food ordering. Karen got ice cream, which ended up being a cookie tube with some ice cream inside for 7 soles. I got a cappacino. We napped until our flight and then off to Cusco.

Cusco at 8am was interesting, got a taxi ride to Hotel Prisma and discovered the crazy driving in Peru. Lanes are wherever and horns are the means of communication. The drive through Cusco was informative, and I can best describe Cusco as old, but still unfinished. Many, many buildings are not complete, with pillars and rebar sticking up on the top floor as if the next floor is under construction, but of course it is not. Dilapidated adobe brick buildings set next to new sort of shiny buildings. Roads both paved and not. Very chaotic and unorganized looking.

After checking in and sipping our first cup of cocoa tea, we set out for some breakfast at Jack's. More cocoa tea, and a satisfying breakfast in our belly's we wandered out into Cusco. Wow, we were not expecting to be so accosted by Peruvians selling all manner of trinkets, paintings, sweaters, scarves, carved gourds, etc. We made the mistake of looking at Pepe's paintings and then were swarmed by a lady selling sweaters, another guy selling paintings and two girls with baby lambs or llamas who thrust the baby animal into Karen's arms and tried to get us to take a photo, which they would then demand money for. Thankfully, a policeman scooted them all away. We eventually learned to keep walking and say No gracias or No quiero very firmly. Peru is for sale people, one trinket at a time.

We did small stints out into Peru the first day, walking around for a bit and then napping in the hotel. We walked around a good deal, venturing up the hill to the artist area where we were again accosted by people selling themselves for photos...this time two old ladies and a grown llama. I made Karen take their picture and pay them....Ha. Everything is negoitiable, and we also learned to low ball the price of what we would buy. We had dinner at Green's Organics which was very good. Of course we got there at 6 and while they were open, we were the only diners for most of the meal! Crashing for the night by 9 pm, we both slept a bit fitfully and I awoke with a killer headache. Should have begun to pay attention at this point!

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