Our big trip to Peru was to begin on July 8th and, in a sense, it did. We didn´t leave America though as we were supposed to that day - which was okay since we became members of Sky Team! But I´m getting a bit ahead of myself. JooYeon, myself, Wes, and Jenny drove up to meet Wes´cousin for lunch in Chicago. The girls had their first taste of the travelling woes as JooYeon picked up her bag and realized how heavy it was and a bird promptly pooped on Jenny.
But we recovered and made it to the airport with sufficient, though not excessive, time. Wes and Jenny made it through, but Joo and I had the unfortunate luck of coming across a new worker who was a stickler for details and firmly stated that she would not allow us to fly to Peru because we only had a one way ticket. I begged, reasoned, modified my story, and then Wes came over and did the same, but to no avail. She said we could purchase a one-way ticket back (for $3000, mostly refundable if we cancelled) but that there were no possible sources of the Internet around. I called several friends to see if they could order for me, but no one seemed to be home. As the time for our flight neared and panic set in, Wes and I appealed to another lady who seemed to be higher up. She let me back into the Delta personal area where there was a full internet room, shaking her head and apologizing for the other lady. She helped me order the pseudo-tickets, print them out, and I ran out, jumping the bagging check, and we were on our way.
Or so we thought. We were delayed so much that by the time we got to Atlanta at 11:57 pm, our flight had left without us for Peru at 11:55pm. So we waited for our bags, which we eventually realized would never come, and then headed for ticketing where the lady gave us a coupon for a hotel room at a reduced rate of $60 a room. I know this would probably be great for a businessman, but for a backpacker, that´s quite a shock to the pocketbook- where did the days go when you got a room for free??? Wes talked to the hotel clerk while the rest of us snuck around, so at least we all got in for the price of one room. We did have some nice kits from Delta including a T-shirt, which we all put on and dubbed ourselves Skyteam!
The next afternoon, we flew out, JooYeon and I on First Class because they were the only seats available. There were some concerns amongst the group that the Skyteam was becoming divided into classes- we were now Bourgeousie Sky Team and Wes and Jenny were the Proletariat. Being upper class though, we soon forgot about our poorer half and enjoyed the high life with a five-course meal and full service. We were somewhat philanthropic though and after Wes broke through the curtain and begged me on his knees for just a lick from our bottles of rick water, I secretly snuck a couple extra First Class complimentary kits for them.
We arrived in Lima, Peru late at night and quickly secured a taxi to our hostel. We were the only ones on the second floor and Wes and I kept exclaiming how great the room was while the girls looked around in horror. I must say that the lady working the desk was cute though!
We explored the city for a morning- quite polluted and depressing to be honest- and then boarded a plane for Iquitos which is on the mouth of the Amazon. Our arrival there was much more friendly with all the locals playing around and reaching in to slap or talk with our taxi driver as he took us to our place out at the edge of the jungle. We stopped for an evening meal of fresh fish and rice which was delicious, even considering the basket full of raw chicken heads sitting a foot in front of our faces. Arriving into THESE arrangements was even a bit more shocking for the ladies- an outhouse (which had recently been remodeled with a pink toilet seat to keep the bats from hiding out right below the open lid)- no running water or any water for that matter - no electricity, but they handled it well (as in, they didn´t try to get a taxi back to the airport to leave!)
The following few days were a series of ups and downs as we all adjusted to the travelling scene and began to meet people, realize which local foods could and couldn´t be eaten, took windy bus tours around the villages, shopped in the crowded street markets, etc.