|Start location:||Columbus, Ohio||[umap id=”33051″ size=”t” alignment=”right”]|
|End location:||Los Angeles, California|
|Min altitude:||126 ft / 38 m (LAX)|
|Max altitude:||815 ft / 248 m (CMH)|
|Min temp:||50-ish (Milwaukee)|
|Max temp:||81-ish (CMH)|
15:00 Port Columbus Airport. My great amazing trip to the mountains of Peru starts with… a dinky flight to Milwaukee. At least I made it through check-in and security without issue. My checked bag was only 43 pounds, so that should have been doable – I can stuff 3 pounds in my jacket or something (actually way more than that, but don’t tell Ryanair).
My carry-on, however, I weighed at 39 pounds… which is in fact ridiculous. (Check out the contents in the photo below.) A lot of it I can put in my duffel once I get there, but it’s stuff like chargers and power supplies that I would be screwed if the airlines lost my luggage. Underwear I can buy. A charger for a state-of the-art camera might be trickier.
So… a college friend of mine is traveling around South America and just entered Peru a couple of days ago. He immediately brought me up to date on the news: riots and rebellions in the Amazonian parts of the country because the locals don’t want foreign mining companies ruining their environment. Several people have died in clashes with the Peruvian Army. (Our trip is sponsored in part by foreign mining companies.)
Now here at the airport I log in to an email from him that they have declared a state of emergency in most of Peru – including where we are going – due to extreme cold. Yikes.
Glad mom won’t read this until I am already on my way to LAX. :-) Hi Mom!
Don’t know why this seems strange to me, but Lima, Peru, is very nearly due south of Columbus, Ohio – a tad east, actually. I guess I figured the west coast of South America was further west. Nope! Too bad I had to go out of the way to LA first.
4:28am Ohio time, 1:28 LAX. Got to LA just fine. Had a nice talk with Kimmy in the seat next to me, tried my hand at DJing on her MacBook. If you’re reading this, guess what: we ate at La Cabana. Didn’t see you!
So we landed about 15 seconds off schedule, my bag was one of the first off, and basically within minutes of landing I was on the curb meeting my college friend David and his wife Beth. They were kind enough to provide airport shuttle service, waited while I dragged my scraggly stuff through the pristine lobby of the LAX Hilton, and then took me to dinner.
My burrito verde was muy grande. (Bad photo is my fault – couldn’t deal with extra-wide angle and flash and… I blame exhaustion.)
After dinner we toured Venice (Beach?) and stopped in at David’s store/mini-factory, www.imprintrevolution.com which was pretty cool to see, even though by then, after a big burrito at 1am MBT (Mark’s Body Time) I was only partially coherent.
Then, after explaining that there was some kind of state of emergency due to the cold (I still don’t understand exactly what, since different news reports say different things, and the weather reports say something altogether different – 69F is not emergency cold by anyone’s standards) David and Beth tried to convince me to borrow a down coat… after checking Cajamarca’s temp and seeing 39-69F, I decided against the extra bulk. Hope that wasn’t foolish.
Oh, this adds to my apprehension of this trip too: when I travel I like to read a book (fiction) that takes place in the area where I am traveling. Preferably by a local author. My choice for this trip was one of Peru’s finest authors – a world-class story teller – Mario Vargas Llosa’s Death in the Andes, about, well, people getting killed in the Andes primarily by Shining Path (communist rebel) guerrillas. Including two tourists pulled off a bus and stoned to death. It’s fiction, Mark, fiction… right? I mean, the Shining Path stuff ended… 10-15 years ago, and the last communist rebels I ran into, back in Nepal, politely gave me a receipt for the permit fee to enter their territory and smiled for my camera .
It’s 5am MBT, I’m pooped. Buenas noches, slaap lekker.
More photos >>