Day 24 | Wednesday, November 16, 2016
We hop back on a plane for Lima this afternoon at 2:40 pm. We were supposed to check out of our apartment at 11:00 am but we have gotten permission to check out late so we have an extra hour and a half to get up, get ready for the day, and finish packing. It is nice not to have to rush around in the morning and not have to be at the airport before the sun rises. Our Airbnb host has arranged a taxi for us to the airport so we just have to make sure we are out in front of the building at 12:30 pm.
The Arequipa airport, although an international airport, feels more like a small regional airport which is kind of nice until you get to the empty security line and they have lots of time to scrutinize every item you put on the conveyor belt. Today I am carrying all the essential oils and I pulled the whole case out to get to my laptop and decided to just leave the case with all the essential oils in a tray on the belt. My mistake. I have left the full case in my backpack a couple of times now and it has gone through security without issue or question. I am sure part of what drew the security teams attention was the pelican 1120 case we are carrying the oils in. Poor Steve he got to deal with the majority of the scrutiny from the security team as I was still being screened. Fortunately, I did a bunch of research around traveling with medications and I decided to follow the recommendation to have your doctor write a letter stating the necessity of the medications. I also took the time to have the letter translated into Spanish and we are carry both an English and Spanish copy of the letter both signed by our doctor. Thankfully between the letter and some very broken Spanish explanation we managed to pass through security without too much hassle.
A quick hour and 40 minute flight and we are back in Lima venturing back into Miraflores.
Some days are fraught with hoops to jump through. We ended up arriving at the apartment building a little early so the manager, Cesar, of the apartment we are renting isn’t here yet. Fortunately, the building has some seating in the lobby to relax in and while we watch the traffic and people rush by outside.
Finally, Cesar arrives and he doesn’t speak any English and our Spanish is getting marginally better but is not great. There are definitely times people will speak to us and neither of us will understand a word they say and we give them our dumb American look and fumble around for words in Spanish to ask what they have just said or to explain that we don’t speak Spanish very well. To add another hoop to this whole process, Cesar is presenting us with a 5 page contract, all in Spanish, to read and sign before handing over the keys to the apartment. Steve is adamant, which I think is wise, that he is not signing the contract until it has been presented in English to his satisfaction. Cesar finally gets Luis, the gentleman who is actually listed as the host on Airbnb and the person we have been communicating with this whole time, on the phone. Cesar reads the contract line-by-line over the phone to Luis in Spanish and then Luis repeats it back in English for us. Luis is obviously feeling a little defensive because he also adds an explanation for each line item of the contract even though Steve insists that he understands and prompts him to continue translating. Luis also takes the time to explain that this contract is necessary for tax purposes in Peru, which we find a little strange as this is the fourth Airbnb place we have stayed at in Peru and the first time we have been presented with a contract to sign. Also, Luis did a TON of upfront communication (All in English) once we booked the apartment and mentioned that we would need to sign a contract, but failed to tell us it would only be in Spanish. After two full pages of terms Steve signed the contract.
Now that — that is done we have some grocery shopping and a quiet evening ahead of us.
Day 25 | Thursday, November 17, 2016
A quiet day in Miraflores. Steve worked from the apartment and I began catching up the blog.
Day 26 | Friday, November 18, 2016
We have to be checked out of our room by 11:00 am this morning and we catch a bus at 2:00 pm this afternoon for Nazca for the last leg of our 2 week adventure. With 2 and a half hours to burn before we can head to the bus station we are camped out on the rooftop deck of the building enjoying the view of the surrounding city.
On the bus we go for another 7+ hour bus ride South to the town of Nazca. This will be a quick trip. We will ride the bus down, spend the night in a hotel, catch a quick flight over the Nazca lines and then hop back on a bus for Lima.
As Peru bus trips seem to be going for us we are arriving about an hour late so instead of getting in at 9:30 pm we are getting in around 10:30 pm. Fortunately, I am armed with a decent amount of information. I know that our hotel is about a 9 minute walk or a 4 minute car ride from the bus station and I know that Nazca is not some place that we want to walk around at this hour of the night for safety reasons. In preparation I have written the name and address of our hotel on a piece of paper to make negotiating a taxi much easier. Fortunately, taxi drivers in Peru are predictable and are standing in a large flock just outside the gates of the bus station clamoring to snag a fare. Steve surveyed the group and picked the one that he felt the most comfortable with, zeroed in on them and began the negotiation process. Within just a couple of moments we were loaded up and on our way. While loading our luggage the taxi driver had tried out several different languages on us attempting to determine our native language. Unfortunately for him he didn’t make much progress as we were very slow to respond in our exhausted brain fog. Finally in the car he broke the silence and we discovered that he spoke English quite well. He had actually lived in San Diego for some time and had been to Portland, OR before on vacation. It is amazing what a small world we live in. Before we knew it we were pulling up in front of our hotel. The taxi driver advised Steve not to open his door into traffic as the oncoming cars would simply take the door right off and most likely hit Steve in the process. We unloaded our belongings from the car and checked into our room. Time for some sleep as we have a 7:45 am pick-up time for our flight over the Nazca lines tomorrow morning.