The plane to Lima was awesome. It felt like a 4th grade sleepover where we stayed up late, played video games, and fell asleep next to each other. I passed a couple hours losing to Maury at chess and then promptly regaining my pride with four straight wins at Battleship. It is at times like this that I again realize I have the maturity of a 4th grader, but perhaps such a view on life is beneficial in dealing with the stresses of travel and Mauricio. From my window seat, I could not see the lights of the city until we actually landed which was disconcerting because I was under the impression that Lima was huge.
I was hoping that we would not actually be herded through the normal ramps and connections, but, instead, I wanted to take stairs straight to the ground and breathe Lima’s dirty air as soon as possible. I would have to wait to breathe the dirty air, however, because we had to make our way through customs and immigration and all that business. I am constantly fearful of having to rely on my Spanish (though I know it is not too dreadful), so one can imagine my fear of making my way through customs. I made it through without incident, and I didn’t have to claim my CheeseItz (sp?) as I hoped I would. The highlight of the customs/immigration experience was that Maury was the only one of us who got the red light and had to be specially checked and evaluated by the moustached men from Lima. We all had a good laugh, because it is typical Maury that he would be singled out in his own country after just calling us out for being the foreigners.
The drive back from the aeropuerto was incredible. Imagine driving through the bad part of town in a big city… well, that is what all of Lima is like. There are casinos with short, burly men defending them and dilapidated, graffitied buildings everywhere. The advertisements for all sorts of things, ranging from coke to Chile’s, are rampant, and odd political campaign posters emphasizing continued change are around every corner. I don’t know if it is fair to judge adherence to the road rules by taxi drivers, but, from what I gather, delineation of lanes is unnecessary and some street lights flash green and red simultaneously. It was agreed that we are now all at Mauricio’s mercy because we have no idea how to get anywhere.
*The smell of the air here is unique and, for me, indescribable. I think it smells dirty, but perhaps this is just what Peru or other countries smell like… maybe the US smells bad and I didn’t even know it.
Mauricio’s house is impressive, beautiful, exotic, well-furnished, comforting, lavish, fun and full of love. The large, intimidating stained door at the gated entrance unveils a small slice of Peruvian heaven that the Galdos family has offered to share with us. I would go into detail describing the various rooms and aspects of the house, but, thankfully, the pictures will say all that I can’t. Needless to say, their family has a beautiful home that will house 3 Americans easily, and I am excited to get drunk at their bar, sneak into their maid’s quarters and, hopefully, watch more sunrises over the mountains from their onning.