So today began at the Super 8 with Lawrence. It was an early start for both of us but especially him because he had to drive back to Redford that day. We ate a small breakfast, him more than me as I can’t really eat in the morning. We got to the airport and by a stroke of luck we managed to find the right terminal the first time. We checked me in went to security. Saying goodbye was a lot more difficult that I thought but we got through it with some good humor. There was only one line open in security and it was the body scanner. So, I got body scanned, some TSA agent got to see probably more than he wanted, and it was over. When I went to collect my belongings one of the TSA guys asked if I wanted to chug the water that was in my backpack or throw it away. I told him he could thought it away but after some convincing he had me dump it and go back through the check point and fill it on the other side. The second time he didn’t make me go through the scanner but just a metal detector. I found Heather and Andi already at the gate waiting. It was nice to see familiar faces. I don’t mind flying by myself, I did last summer, but it was still nice to have people to talk to. Our first flight was to San Salvador. Nothing really notable about the flight except the free alcohol which we did not partake in. There was a large man in front of me that kept snoring, that was kind of annoying but then when he got off the plane he was in a wheel chair and it took two attendants to put him up into the terminal. The El Salvador Airport was wholly unremarkable, lots of duty free stores and it was kind of dirty. We only spent about 45 mins there until we were on our flight to Lima. I slept for about an hour after the meal was served and arrived in Lima in the dark. We collected our bags after arriving and talked a bit with a Canadian girl volunteering in Cuzco. After going through customs we looked for a sign with our names on it but did not find one. We found one taxista with Emily’s name on it and we told him that she was not on our flight and after some deliberation he took us to the hotel. We checked in and spent a good portion of the night trying to figure out how to get back to the airport the next day. We knew a bus was coming but we didn’t know when. We tried calling René and emailing him, we searched our itineraries with our any luck. But the hotel had wi-fi so I was able to skype with Lawrence and that calmed me down a bit. We were very hungry and very tired and very very slap-happy. Eventually we decided to go to bed for a few hours until our next flight.
Cuzco Day 1
We have finally made it to Cuzco. After a night of extreme confusion, hunger, and exhaustion we met out host families today and started to get settled. We arrived in Cuzco early this morning after arriving late last night. When we got into Lima we found “our” taxi driver. He was holding a sign that read “Michigan Emily Bassman x4.” So, after much debate because Emily was not on our flight, Heather, Andi, and I went to the hotel in Miraflores about 45 mins outside of Lima. We checked in and we starving but the kitchen was not open so we resorted to eating some puppy chow that my mom had made, some of Andi’s left over scone, and some water that she managed to get in Chicago. From here the night only became more frustrating. We knew that we had an early flight the next morning at 5:40am but had no idea how to get there or who was taking us or what time they would be there. We asked the front desk and they didn’t know. Half the night was spent scouring our emails and itineraries looking for any information about our transportation back to the airport. Eventually, after 3 more people had shown up, we decided to go to bed, not knowing (also not knowing where the other two members of our group were). Around 2:30 Armando and Aubrey arrived at the hotel and I quickly went back to sleep. We awoke around 3:30 to knocking on the door and being told our bus was there. From that point it was a hurried rush to put together our packs and get outside to the bus. By this point I hadn’t eaten a real meal in 24+ hours, had drank very little water, and we severely sleep deprived. Needless to say I felt less than my best as we took a minibus to the airport. After checking in, going through security, and finding our terminal I decided that I needed to drink or eat something. I found myself paying $6.50 for a bottle of water. From there we headed back to the terminal to wait to board. When they began boarding it was different than before. They did a general call for all passengers and I could not figure out why they did it that way until we made it to the gate. There was a general boarding call because we did not board the plane directly. We got loaded onto a bus that shuttled us out to the waiting airplane. After boarding the plane and takeoff I don’t remember much because I fell asleep quickly after. I had finally given into my exhaustion. When we arrived in Cuzco we collected our belongings, except for Aubrey whose luggage was lost in Lima and went out to meet our host families. As it turns out my host-dad drives the taxi bus so him and his wife took me, Armando and Amber with their host families. When I got the Cesar and Belinda’s house they gave me Coca tea and some bread then I took a short nap. When I woke up no one was here so I stayed in bed and read. That’s how I spent most of the day, napping and reading. I can’t seem to shake my headache though. Thought it was a hunger thing but I think it might have to do with the altitude. I have notice the difference in altitude a lot. I get out of breath walking up the stairs, I’m hoping this is because of the lower oxygen and I’ll acclimate soon. Tomorrow Ursula is going to walk me to school and show me around a bit. For lunch today I had a spinach soup and chicken with pan fried potatoes and a salad. I have also drunk more tea in the past 12 hours than I have ever drunk in my life. I not 100% confident with my Spanish at this point but I am hoping that it will get better as time passes. I need to upload my pictures from Chicago so I’ll have room for our walking tour of Cuzco tomorrow.