We’re home?

2 12 2012

Man, oh, man, I still can’t get over our jungle experience. Now, we have finished out our final week of the journey and are back on US soil. And it’s so weird! I’m having reverse culture shock! We landed in Seattle to a bunch of white people speaking English and never lifting their eyes from their electronic device of choice. So weird! Oh, right, I already said that…

So after the most amazing week ever ruling visiting the jungle, we had just one week remaining in Peru. The trip had already kind of peaked in my mind, and it took some brainstorming to map out the rest of our plans. We didn’t have quite enough time to get all the way to the salt flats in Boliva, or to Huarez and the huge Cordillera Blanca mountains. What we did have time for was Puno and Lake Titicaca. (I double dog dare you to say that without laughing.)

Off we went on the night bus, leaving behind my beloved Cusco. After an uncomfortable, sleepless night on the stupid bus, we arrived, checked into a hostel, and spent what might have been the laziest day on the trip thus far. We napped, we watched a movie, I read a book, we barely left the room. It was a much-needed break day.

The following day we went back to being sheep. We were herded onto a boat (called the Calypso – that’s good luck, right?!) and motored across the calm waters of the world’s highest navigable lake. Our stop was one of the floating islands of Uros where they showed us how the island was made, then tried to get us to buy their trinkets, their crafts, their boat ride. It was cool, I guess, but they only do it for the tourists now. The people don’t have to live there, they just do it for the money folks will pay to visit.

A 2.5 hour boat ride took us to the natural island of Tequile. The people here do kind of live in the traditional way, with the exception of a few shops selling Fanta and the restaurants. Their dress is especially impressive, their clothes produced by women spinning and men knitting. Different articles of clothing mean different things and are made for very specific purposes in very specific colors. Its such a big deal that their textiles are protected by UNESCO for their cultural significance. Cool, huh?

It was alright. We ate an expensive yet mediocre lunch then spent 3 hours on the boat back to Puno. All in all…it was just a big lake. The giant peaks of Boliva we could see on the other side – now those were impressive. But I guess at least we can say we went, we saw, we checked it off the list. We did eat at a fun restaurant in Puno that night, which also happened to be Thanksgiving night. We celebrated with some Peruvian folk dancing and cuy. That’s guinea pig, in case you were wondering. And no, it’s not that great. Alpaca is 10 times better.

The time had come to make our way back to Lima – no easy task! First, an overnight bus to Arequipa on a bus that had no heat, no blankets and definitely no snacks. J and I were huddled down in our jackets, staring longingly at the couple next to us under thick blankets they had brought. At one point I scraped frozen condensation from the window. Needless to say, neither of us slept much. We arrived in Arequipa insanely early and managed to get back to the hostel we had stayed at the first time through, despite the fact that we weren’t actually staying a night. They gave us a double bed which we immediately passed out in.

That afternoon we went to a venue with kids from the hostel, a place called “Mr Fish”. It was kinda weird, like a big club almost, with jammin music and beer and dancing…at 2 in the afternoon. But it was the happening place to be for the young well-to-do crowd, and we had a blast, rockin the afternoon away.

We jumped another bus from Arequipa to Lima, a nice bus this time. One with heat. And meals. But this trip was 14 bleeping hours – we needed the nice bus! And we arrived a couple of hot messes, hair sticking up, breathe rank enough to kill, legs numb from sitting so long. A brave taxi driver took us to a beautiful bed and breakfast in the Barranco district where a hot shower and nap brought us back to life. Listening to our stomachs, we walked to a little restaurant and soon realized we were in a different part of the country: the rich side. Right on the water, the houses were big, the shops fancy, the people light-skinned. We ate insanely delicious ceviche in a crammed dining room of a super popular joint called “Canta Rana”. Afterward, we walked the cliffs, breathed in the ocean air, strolled the tree-lined avenues. A lovely afternoon. We went back to the hostel for a little rest before dinner, but never made it back out. I passed out by about 7:30 and didn’t wake up until 8 the next morning. Musta been tired!

Our flight wasn’t until late late late, so we spent all that next day wandering Lima. We did some shopping, ate more good food, relaxed among the beautiful Peruvian people. As the sun started dipping down, we grabbed a taxi down to a park where they have big fountains that light up…or something. It’s supposed to be really cool. We never saw it because we picked the one day they aren’t open. We then proceeded to walk for like 2.5 or 3 hours all the way back. At least it had stopped raining!

We survived the harrowing cab ride to the airport, 2 doses of security, and 9 long hours in the air to finally land in San Francisco at 7am. Seattle greeted us around noon. We’re home. And it’s so WEIRD!

The fun part is that we don’t get to go “home”, per se. We don’t have a home. Our stuff is in storage, we moved out of our “home”. After a day in Seattle so I could work, we continued traveling on to Hood River, where we stayed with more kind friends. Finally finally, Thursday after work, I got to meet my new house. By the time J finished showing me around, I was completely smitten. I absolutely ADORE this house! The movers arrived bright and early Friday morning with all our crap, and we have spent the weekend drowning in packing paper as we attempt to sort things out and find a rightful place for everything.

I can’t believe our travels are over. I love Peru and it’s fabulous places and beautiful people. What adventures we had! I plan to re-do all my posts from the trip with the photos added…once I get around to messing with the photos. Hopefully soon. And our adventures here at home are just beginning! We have a whole new town to explore, a huge house to decorate, and new friends to make. After meeting some neighbors and coworkers of J’s, I’d say we’re off to a splendid start.

Who’s coming to visit?!

😀

Comments from J: Most memorable quote from the trip: “I’m gonna need a bigger shoe!!” (In reference to the giant scorpion he needed to kill behind my bed in the jungle…the night of my bday, no less.)

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