Adventures in Peru: Postscript
I got up and ate an early breakfast with my friends and waved goodbye as they left for Puno and further adventures. I felt sad but mostly very tired so, with permission from the owner to stay in the room until noon, I went back to bed for several hours. Next came my first shower in five days, hot, luxurious and so relaxing that I wanted to lie down again.
I walked down to the Plaza de Armas in search of some lunch. I had given Cathy all of my remaining Peruvian money except for cab fare to the airport, so I needed a restaurant that would take American dollars. And there it was: Paddy’s Pub, the world’s highest elevation 100% Irish owned pub in the world. Another soccer match in the World Cup was on TV, and I ate lunch and wrote trip notes and cheered with everyone there.
See, I told you!
Back at the hotel, I packed up, putting all my dirty clothes and hiking gear into my backpack to be checked. I called a cab to take me from Casa Elena to the Cusco airport, one last wild ride in the hectic traffic. I didn’t realize that from the time I left the hotel it would be 21 hours, 3 flights (1 delayed, 1 connection missed) until I walked in the front door of home sweet home.
Oh, and my backpack didn’t make it to Charlotte with me initially. Seems it took a side trip to Iceland. I had packed it with the vague thought of “what do I not mind losing” or “what is replaceable” and my hunch was a good one. However, it was delivered to me three days later, re-entering the U.S. via JFK Airport in New York. Everything was still in it, although it had obviously been emptied and searched, and my hiking poles were taken apart and shoved back into the main compartment.
I caught a cold on one of the flights and was sick and useless on the couch for several days after my return. I was glad to have survived my Machu Picchu hike but had no interest in promoting it to anyone. Fortunately, both conditions wore off and I bounced back. I think I might even like to go again…
"Here I am, safely returned over those peaks from a journey far more beautiful and strange than anything I had hoped for or imagined -- how is it that this safe return brings such regret?" ~Peter Matthiessen