Last night when we arrived in Peru, there were people everywhere in the airport…moving an inch we would run into the next taxi driver who was trying to get us in their car. There was no official taxi line, there were no meters in the taxi and it was dark outside. We felt a bit uneasy but finally chose a driver who was very persistent.
Once we were in his car and driving the 25 minutes to our hotel in downtown Lima…we realized the area we were in was far from a good neighborhood. There were bars on the windows, abandoned buildings and people just hanging around on the streets. The air was so full of fumes…it was hard to breathe in the polluted air. The taxi driver was very friendly and we chatted with him about the area and his daughter. He told us the area and Lima were not safe…I believe he used the phrase, “there are many pistoles” (guns).
We arrived at our hotel, checked in and got settled into the room. It was midnight so we went straight to bed…we made sure the door was locked!
After sleeping in from our long flight, we hit the city. There were quite a few people on the busy streets, and the sidewalks were a bit tired…making it important to watch our steps over and around broken cement. We noticed again the lack of clean air…it smelled of old car exhaust with no breeze because of the city buildings.
We followed the city map up the street to the two main squares. We took pictures of some of the buildings. There was some great architecture when we looked hard enough amongst the city grime. We did see their “changing of the guards”. There was a crowd of people trying to watch and many “policia” standing around, some with their shields just in case there was a problem.
We continued walking through the city looking in the various stores for a camera battery. We realized we had left it in the wall of the hotel in Atlanta. No one seemed to have the charger…not good. As we continued our search, we ran into the Casa de la Gastronomica. It was a building full of both past and current facts on the various foods in Peru. They had statues and signs and maps of information. We walked through it for a while trying to familiarize ourselves with foods of different regions.
We saw a grocery and went in to grab some bottled water. As we were standing in line to pay, we noticed each checkout counter was piled with cartons of eggs…the way you would see magazines stacked right before checkout. We thought it was interesting the eggs here aren’t refrigerated.
After much more walking around, we found our way back to our hotel without a camera charger. If we can’t charge the battery we can’t take pictures. We were starving and feeling a bit sick from the pollution but asked the concierge if he knew of any battery places. He helped us look some things up on the Internet and then back out we went…a cab dropped us off at a cannon store but they didn’t have the charger either. We went to the next place which was a “black market” type place with tons of vendors selling all kinds of electronics. We bargained back and fourth and finally found one.
Back at our hotel and ready to eat anything at that point, we ran upstairs to plug in the charger to make sure it worked…it didn’t! Back we went…the vendor actually gave us our money back and we bought a more expensive one from another guy. That one ended up working. We sat down to eat at the hotel restaurant for dinner. We ordered a couple authentic Peruvian dishes. One was a beef stir-fry with rice and peppers in a salty brown sauce and the other was a chicken in a cream sauce with big corn kernels and rice.
We scarfed our food down and went upstairs to pack and get to bed. Tomorrow we fly into Cusco which is where our 4 day Machu Picchu hike departs.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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2 Replies to “Day 193 of 400: Lima – Peru”
I cannot wait to hear about Machu P. & the hike. I’ve dreamt of going to Peru for, forever!!! Have an amazing-magical time. Xo Alexis
Hey Alexis! How is Seattle?? One of our favorite spots…we could end up there.. Machu P was so amazing, a definite highlight of our trip so far, make it happen-you will LOVE it.