After a lovely send-off from our daughter, Emily, at the airport, we set out on our adventure to Peru. We’d been training long and hard for this, working on our fitness, our elevation exposures, and the distance and steepness of our hikes. Many thanks to those who have helped us with their support through our training this summer, accompanying us on mountain hikes, giving us advice and encouraging us along the way! Our spirits were high as we left, knowing we’d done all we could to be ready for this “Fit at 50 Adventure” we’d planned.
Our journey to get to Peru from Edmonton to Lima, via Toronto, was a long one, leaving the house at 7am, Edmonton time, and arriving in Lima just after 1:45am (there’s only a one hour time difference). We had a wee sleep at the airport hotel and headed out early-ish in the morning to fly from Lima up into the highlands of Cusco, arriving just around noon. It takes a while to travel from fall to spring on this big planet of ours!
The customs forms we had to fill out as we landed in Peru had something on them that our guide-book didn’t warn us about… look at the list of electronic items you are restricted to bringing in. Bring in more than this exemption list, and you are subject to a steep fine/tax. Now, no one checked our bags, but this could be a problem for some people!
Leaving Lima was, as Em loves to put things, a bit of a “gong show.” In hindsight, it was quite funny… even though we’d been warned about the inefficient lineups here and built in lots of time. The line-up for domestic departures filled the cattle-call area of the concourse, where they switchback you through a series of barriers, and then all the way out that, and down to the far side of the airport… so the entire airport concourse length, and at times 5 people deep or so!
It reminded me a lot of Chile, when we flew down to the northern tip of Patagonia on a Monday morning from Santiago. We had no idea that, like many of our Fort McMurray workers, that many of the miners flew into their job sites from their homes in the big city. The lineups were insane! Just like today. And there must not have been carry on restrictions there as they all had their headlamps, helmets and toolboxes with them. It was a great slice of life moment, like many we would be having on this trip.
I wish I had photos to show you of the crowds there, but there were policia all over, and signs with “no fotos” messages and I just couldn’t risk it. I actually begged the guard at security to let me take a picture of their plexiglass box filled with confiscated items… it was hilarious! There were machetes, box cutters, a giant hammer, folding knives, hunting knives, etc. But he emphatically denied me that thrill, wagging his fingers at me as he said, “no tourismo!” with a cross, impatient (exasperated) look on his face.
There was still one glitch (thank goodness we left lots of time), where despite having our boarding passes printed and seats selected before leaving Canada, we still weren’t “in the system” when we got to the baggage check-in desk. They tried to fit us on an earlier flight, but to no avail. Then the flight check-in attendant disappeared for about 20 minutes, all told, and fixed it, “no problemo” and sent us to the gate with a ticket with no ticket number (which got rejected with a loud beep as we went to board the plane!!), but no one seemed concerned and it really went quite smoothly (and no one tried to sit on our laps to Cusco!).