Tag Archives: Lima

And I’m Proud To Be An American

Where at least I’m kind of free.  At least my refills are free.

Yes, I have reluctantly landed back on American Soil.  I have been here, in Los Angeles, for about 48 hours now, and I’m not too happy about it.  My final month in South America was wild and fun filled.  Most of it was spent in Buenos Aires, what many call the Paris of the south but what I found to be much more akin to New York City.  This isn’t going to be a full article on my time there, since I still have yet to organize and upload pictures.  When I do write my piece on it, I will have a large number of complaints to file, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.  I adored the nightlife, which begins at 2am, and though I don’t think I could do it for more than the month that I did, I experienced some of the most fun clubs, interesting cocktails, and inexhaustible crowds I’ve ever seen.  I also am proud to say that my pen pal of 6 years, Lucho, who I had never met, was able to come from his small city north of BA to visit me, and I adored him.  I don’t think I have ever before met someone with whom I have felt such a strong connection in such a small amount of time.  Unfortunately I had to leave him behind, but I hope our friendship grows.  But more on that mess later.

For now, I’m focusing all of my efforts on getting out of Los Angeles and back to the haven of the east coast.  Fortunately I have been able to book a cheap ticket to Boston for this coming Monday.  I plan on spending some time with the wonderful friends I have there, and then heading back to my home in Maine where I will crawl into my bed and weep quietly for a while and eat lots of American food and watch Battlestar Gallactica on my computer, before rising again to reasses and move on.  Odds are that I will be spending a month or so in Maine recooping before picking up and moving to Ohio to live with my sister and her boyfriend Luke in Columbus.  I just can’t stop moving, which may be beginning to manifest itself as a problem.

When I left Buenos Aires, the hot weather was quietly slipping into a subtle fall.  Now I’m here in LA and winter is blooming into spring.  How fitting it has been, to spend this transitional time of my life in such shifting times of year.  I can’t believe it was only 6 months ago since I went into the sleep study.  Now that money is gone and I feel like a different person.  I’m terribly sad to have to end my adventure in those mind boggling places with those complexly wonderful people I met.  At times like these, I think most travelers feel worn and confused, and it’s difficult to see into the nebulous space in front of me.  I have to enter it, just like I entered Peru, with fear and worry, but try to grapple for some faith that whatever comes next will be ok, and probably wonderful.

For now, I’m thankful more than anything for friends.  For Laura, Diana and Kyle who became so close to me in such a short time as we adventured together, and now for Brandon, Kady and Krystyna who are sheltering me in this City of Angelish things to protect me from completely losing my mind.

And as for the blog?  It’s going to be doing some transitioning as well.  In the nearish future I’m hoping to take some classes on web design and blogging, to get this baby up to full speed.  Soon I’ll be buying a domain name and moving all this to a bigger and more organized space.  Keep an eye out.  For now, I hope you keep reading as I catch up on the stuff I’ve left out:  the rest of the sleep study, more creative writing, more on volunteering in Peru, Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Lima, travel tips, and my upcoming attempt to insert myself into the gay rights movement that I have neglected for so long.  Stay tuned, tell your friends, give me a thumbs up on stumble, and for christ’s sake leave a comment if the mood strikes you!

Liam as a Ted Kazcynski Look-Alike in Lima

DISCLAIMER:  If you are a member of the FBI, CIA, any other like minded organization, or Dick Chaney, I am not in any way a terrorist, and the title of this entry is a joke.  You all could use a laugh.

Krystyna, my love, dropped me off at LAX around 10pm.  The line for check in at Taca, the Peruvian airline I flew with all the way, was out the door.  I felt like shit waiting there in line, probably because I hadn´t slept in a real bed for a few days, and simply had not been taking care of my body. 

I had about an hour to kill after I made it through security.  They pulled my bag aside when they saw my flask, but the ornery little TSA man gave up trying to pull it out from underneath all of my tightly packed things and let me go through.  Good thing I´m not a terrorist.  I fell asleep quickly at my gate, and even quicker once I was on the plane.  I woke up only for food, a nasty mess of alfredo pasta and a roll so hard you could bounce marbels off it.  When I woke up the next time we were landing in El Salvador.

I had 5 hours in the tiny airport, and wasn´t confident enough to leave.  The El Salvador airport is situated in the middle of a wide field ringed with short-stumped, long-branched trees that resembles, oddly, pictures I have seen of the Sahara.  There wasn´t much to do besides sleep and read, so thats what I did.  Here´s a picture of the place.

The El Salvador Airport

The El Salvador Airport

I reboarded my flight, and was surprised to find that Taca airlines serves unlimited free alcohol, even to the pleebs sitting in coach. 

TRAVEL NOTE:  When flying to Peru, book your tickets through Taca.  It is an excellent airline, the staff is friendly, and the prices are cheaper through their website than on expedia, travelocity, etc.

It was a managable 7 hour flight, nothing particularly special to comment on.  The real fun began when I arrived at Lima at 7:10pm. 

The Lima airport is a bustling, hyper-modern airport.  It is a hub in South America, and therefore very crowded and chaotic.  Unfortunately, flights to Cusco during the rainy season only take place in the early morning hours because that is when it is clear enough to fly a plane through the valleys of the Andes.  I was booked for Taca´s first flight, but that was still a good 10 hours away from when I landed.

Fortunately, you can sleep in the Lima airport.  However, it is a terrible experience.  First, a picture of my lodging that night.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Note the brightness of the place.  That never ceases.  Most airports and train stations have a personalized jingle that plays before an announcement is made over the loud speaker.  The jingles in France are particularly frightening.  The jingle in Lima is only three notes, the first three notes of the song “Happy” by Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins.  Not too bad, except that those three notes, and subsequent ear-shattering announcements made first in Spanish and then in English, occur at a frequency of about 1 every three hundred miliseconds ALL NIGHT. 

Lastly, Lima is a very warm, very humid city.  It makes sleeping akin to lying in a shallow puddle.  And yet, somehow, the airport in the middle of the night was very cold.  So I had to keep my sweatshirt on.

And this is how I came to resemble the sketched image of Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, while sleeping on a row of chairs at the Lima Airport.  Sunglasses on to protect myself from the lights, headphones in and playing Sovay by Andrew Bird on repeat to drown out (unsuccessfully) the announcements, and hood up to protect my sweaty head from the cold. 

Three times during the night a man riding a miniature zamboni around the airport would wake me up and tell me to stand up.  Then he would drag the row of chairs, surprisingly unbolted from the floor, to a random location in the airport, so that he could Zamboni where they once were.  I felt like a stray dog.

Finally 3:15am arrived and I was able to join the long line to get my boarding pass.  Sleeping by the gate to my flight was a similar experience, so I resolved to stay awake since I was anxious about flying anyway.  When I did get on the plane, the pilot announced that there was a delay because the clouds had settled.  It only lasted a few minutes, and I got into a pleasant conversation with the older Canadian woman seated next to me. 

The flight from Lima to Cusco only lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes, but it is one of the most breathtaking flights I´ve ever been on.  Outside the windows, the peaks of

Snowcapped mountains reach up through the clouds.  As you approach Cusco, little villages with red roofed houses come into view, growing in size until the low, bowl-like city of Cusco comes into view.

Examples below.

The Mountains Through The Clouds

The Mountains Through The Clouds

 

My New Home

My New Home

 

Coming up next, my first exhausting and strange few days in Cusco.  Should be up the next few days.