A Year of Travel: The First 48 Hours


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Hard to believe the day has come. I started my trip saying goodbye to friends and family on a very busy day in Denver. My journey entailed what should have been a 3-hour layover at LAX, but was cut short after some nob on a previous flight decided to flush an unflushable down the plane’s only toilet. I had a hard time deciphering whether American Airline’s decision not to let us proceed with the 2+ hour flight sans working lavatory was a blessing or a curse.

Once we did get under way, I finally made it to LAX, only to find that this is the planet’s worst airport. So I may not have been to all of them, but I’ve seen a few in my day and of those, this one takes the cake. Long story short: The board that listed my connecting flight showed no gate information. Not that it would have helped, since there were no signs to other gates or terminals. After asking a staff member, I was told I would have to exit the airport entirely to change terminals. His snarky comment on my displeasure at hearing this: “What, are you afraid to go outside?”, was met with an equally snarky response: “It’s either that, or the fact that I have a plane to catch in the extremely near future… I’ll let you ponder it while I risk missing my connection waiting in yet another security line.”

Alas, I did make it, and eventually arrived in Cuzco, Peru. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of our landing, but it was so stunning that I barely noticed how unnerving it is maneuvering left and right mere feet above the Andes. Memories of the film Alive came to mind and I quickly did a visual scan throughout the plane, deciding who I’d have to eat, should it become necessary. Then it occurred to me that we were very close to civilization and these green hills looked slightly less treacherous than the snow-covered Chilean Andes from the movie. Ok, my fellow fliers, you’re safe for now.

I hopped into my pre-arranged taxi and headed towards my new home for the next few days: a rented apartment in the San Blas neighborhood of Cuzco. If you’re planning a trip, I highly recommend staying here. I’ve spent time in Europe and seen my fair share of narrow cobblestone streets, but this place takes narrow cobblestone to an entirely new level. The fact that there is barely enough room for the cars and that the sidewalks are about half the width of your average skinny Peruvian did nothing to deter pedestrians from doing their thing while my taxi driver zipped past them.

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Today I did some aimless wandering with no schedule and only a camera in hand – my favorite type of exploration. This is the ideal city for that. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Getting ready for Chris to arrive in less than two days! I’m incredibly lucky to be able to travel both solo, which I enjoy and think everyone should do from time to time, and with company in the form of my boyfriend (and later on this trip, a couple of extremely adventurous friends). Next stop, Inca Trail!

Categories: South AmericaTags: , , , , , , ,

10 comments

  1. Melissa! My dear American friend, have I taught you nothing? It’s KNOB like KNICKERS. The photos from today are bringing back so many memories so I thank you for that. It doesn’t look like it has changed that much in 12 years – especially the local ladies with the mad hats. Don’t smell one though. Please take as many pictures as you can of Aguas Calientes (the town at the bottom of Machu Picchu) – a very special place for me. Disfrutar!

    • Actually Fatima Honeypoy, I originally had “knob” but then doubted myself and looked it up. Everything I found showed the two being equally correct, and I even found a Brit complaining online about people always misspelling it with a k. And we all know that what some random guy says on the inter-tubes must be correct.

      Will take pics of AC JUST for you, my friend.

  2. Glad to see you got a goat pic in…

  3. You are making me so hungry for Hispanic culture. I want to come to BsAs.

  4. The colours in those dresses are gorgeous! Love your reference to Alive and good to know that there was no cannibalism required 😉

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