Peru Trip 2018, Part 2

Hey all,

Last time I was on here I posted a segment from the traveling to Peru portion of our trip. Now I would like to tell you a little bit about what we saw and experienced while there for eight days. (Apologies for the segmented posts, but we all know that this time of year can be hectic!)

The morning of September 23, 2018, we landed in Cuzco, Peru. Off the cuff, life was the same, but entirely different. One woman on our flight was transporting a 5 gallon bucket of strawberries from Lima to Cuzco, and Sunshine made her laugh when he expressed excitement over the sight of fresh fruit.

Leaving the airport was our first challenge, we did not book any kind of package, which likely would have included all the convenience of being picked up at the airport, and so on, but we preferred the adventure of hoofing it! One of our Air BnBs had offered to pick us up straight from the airport, but they were going to be our second Air BnB of the trip so it made no sense at the time.

Upon walking out of the airport, one is instantly targeted as a sale to be had. Needless to say, we had no issues getting a taxi from the airport to downtown Cuzco, but we were obliged to listen to a synopsis on the 20 or so tours that this company offered in addition to taxi services.

Our taxi driver, who called himself Miel, was very talkative and it was almost entirely in Spanish. He asked if I spoke Spanish and I told him, “Yes a little bit,” to which he replied that we would understand each other. He then asked if we were from France, to which I replied, “No, los Estados Unidos,” and then noted how he seemed less enthused for it.

However, we were soon on our way to Carmen Bajo, where our first Air BnB of the trip was located, and he began to talk. Sunshine sat next to him up front and Miel would look back at me when describing the city around us as we passed through. I was able to ask him several questions in Spanish, and he told me I was very good with the language and simply needed more practice.

Miel was the first to teach us about Quechua, the language of the Incas prior to the invasion of the Spanish in approximately 1532(?). He told us that there were five other peoples in the area before his own ancestors, the Incas, and that the Incan history was not too terribly old (all supposedly after Christ).

Miel drove us through the modern portion of Cuzco, from the airport, and we noted the roads became much more narrow as we got closer to downtown. He told us that this was because the roads constructed in this area were meant for alpacas, llamas, and humans, not cars. This brief cab tour gave me more confidence to speak Spanish in the city throughout the week.

When he dropped us off on Carmen Bajo, we were met with a small blue door against a fresh white stucco wall. Looking up and down the street, we quickly understood that cars had the right of way and that pedestrians better hop up on the curb and hug the wall to keep from being hit. The street was narrow, and there were several small shops right across from the door where we were dropped off.

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Blue doors on white stucco, a common theme throughout downtown Cuzco.

Hoping for the best, not knowing what to expect, Sunshine reached to the top of the door and rang the bell. Some minutes later, a little girl in a cute blue dress pulled the door open slightly and peered out. Sunshine asked her if this was an Air BnB and she nodded, then I asked in Spanish if we may enter. She nodded again and opened the door wider, she could not have been more than nine years old.

Behind her, we could see through a short, dimly lit foyer to an open atrium beyond. As we walked forward we were greeted by a white cat with a few spots, who seemed to run the concierge. The little girl turned to say she would get her brother, who then asked us some brief questions (he could not be older than ten or eleven). He soon pointed across the balcony from where he stood with his little sister to say that our apartment was just there and to go on in. I wasn’t sure what to think after being greeted by a cat and two children, but Sunshine seemed to think it was all okay.

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Sunshine made friends with all the animals we met on our trip; this was Tamí, she appeared to run our first Air BnB.

The atrium was a beautiful oasis, and from the street outside one would never realize it existed. The colours consisted of lots of blues, browns, and some red. The room itself was lovely, and I thought to myself that it would be the perfect apartment. Perhaps over time it may be too small for two, but for a vacation home/destination it was wonderful and greatly exceeded my expectations.

While I was in the bathroom, Sunshine met our host, a former Irishman called Gary. He suggested that we rest today, before our trek with Alpaca Expeditions in the morning. Before doing that, however, we took to the streets to change some of our money, and explore for a couple of hours. When it felt right we found some food at a covered market, where various vendors had their shops set up. There were piles of fruits in the center, and along the walls there were Peruvian locals cooking meals for other locals and those of us tourists who happened by.

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“Trucha frita con arroz.” It was very good!

After having some delicious food, and of course the coca tea to prevent altitude sickness, we went back to the Air BnB and passed out for several hours. We woke up in the late afternoon, with plenty of time to touch base with our Machu Picchu tour service, Alpaca Expeditions, which was a small adventure in its own. Once we found the location of the office, we had to climb up a set of dark staircase and wait in another atrium, until the trekkers in front of us finished their debriefing. The short discussion that followed put us at ease to wake up at 4AM the next morning and be picked up by a stranger in a green “Alpaca Expeditions” jacket.

Once all of our business with the tour was settled, we went about getting to know downtown Cuzco in the dark of evening, which seemed to be when most folks were out anyway. We quickly realized a few things, all the shops have very similar wares, even though they all claim to be originals. The students selling art from their homemade leather portfolios in the street doubled as drug dealers (weed or cocaine, typically), if the locals are in traditional garb it’s probably their occupation (to pose for photos), and though the main industry now appears to be tourism (due to Machu Picchu) Peru is still an unusually spiritual destination.

(To be cont.)

Busyness

Day-to-day, we as humans struggle and strive to keep busy, to make money, to progress and move forward. It’s no wonder that we’re all so anxious, as there’s little time to just breathe and embrace life.

Personally, I have been struggling with the mundane, with the daily sameness of a job that makes money, but is deeply lacking in creativity and energy. It’s strange that such a slow-moving gig can be so draining on the mind and even the body.

Recently, I have taken up oil painting at home in whatever “free” time that I can spare, which while working 60+ hours every week is little to none. However, the few moments I’ve stolen with said paints has been truly liberating.

I won’t claim that I’m any kind of painter, at least not yet, but studying the colors and learning from YouTube videos how to create shapes from these colors fascinates me to no end.

All of this to say that creativity, especially in adulthood is overwhelmingly underrated. It is a kind of personal therapy that everyone should discover and take advantage of, at each opportunity.

Life is too short and precious to merely be whittled away in what my boyfriend calls “wage slavery.” Seek happiness, not just money, in the day-to-day and it all becomes less of a endless grind.

Moving In

My boyfriend and I are planning to get married in time and have decided to move in together, so begins yet another adventure in our journey. The past month has been tough on us both, and due to external forces I was moody, weird, and cried a lot for what seemed to me absolutely no reason. It pained me that my love had to witness and endure this time in my life as he inevitably thought that my tear-fests and abrupt mood changes were because of him. This could not be further from the truth though, as he was the only thing keeping me sane during this time.

Excited as I am to begin to feel like myself again and to be taking this step together, I do trust that we are making the right decision here. It is still strange and new to have another person around all the time, but I think in this case I will learn to love it. We are both so similar in our lifestyles and even in our stubbornness that I understand we will, no doubt, butt heads from time to time. That’s life though, even two people as similar as we can be will eventually find something they don’t agree upon or understand in the other.

It seems that when this happens in this day and age, a lot of times people will claim it’s just not working, move on, and do the same thing again with the next person they choose to be with in life. This is not my way, however, nor his. We both have an intensity about us in our commitment to this friendship, relationship, and our future together. There is just something about him that’s not like the rest and I refuse to let him go, so long as he continues to love and wish to be with me, and I believe he feels the same way.

There is absolutely no such thing as perfect, so I don’t endeavor to make myself or anyone else believe that he is; there is, however, perfect for me, and that he most certainly is. I find it hard to believe that we haven’t known each other all these years as I simultaneously feel like we have grown up together and been friends for much longer than we have. It’s very nice to come home to a good friend and ally every night.

Peru Trip – Finalized

We have finally finished booking everything for our trip to Peru this Autumn. Woohoo! There is a sense of relief and excitement in knowing what awaits us there. Among other things that we hope to find there, we have scheduled a trek with a local tour company for Machu and Huayna Picchu. Both of which are typically booked out many months in advance, now we know!

Due to the popularity of the Inca Trail treks, we settled on selecting a kind of mini tour. Two days and one night, with hotel and food included. This works out perfectly for us as we hope to just Airbnb and hop around to local spots found by word-of-mouth for most of the trip anyway. This is the first time that I’ve planned a trip around any kind of tour booking, so that was a different experience for me already, as I tend to fly myself out to a place then figure it out when I get there from talking to locals.

Our trip had to be a bit more planned than per usual, because Machu Pichu is so popular and we are budgeting really heavily in order to reach all of our goals. The entire trip is on my boyfriend’s Southwest card and we have a plan to pay it back by the time we leave. Another one of our goals is to open a CD in June to begin saving at a higher interest rate for our idea of moving to Europe within the next few years.

As we already have that money set aside, or earmarked, we are beginning to save to pay off the card immediately. After we return from this trip to Peru, we will begin saving for our trip to Costa Rica to become TEFL Certified in early 2019. Tell you what, saving becomes easier once you have goals that you’re wholeheartedly invested in. Some may call us crazy, or simply think we’re dreamers with our heads in the clouds, but I believe in us and he does as well. That is everything we need to set our goals and to crush them in time.

Unshakeable Goals

Let’s talk about how we’re all working at least 60 hours a week. The reasons vary person-to-person. For one brother, it’s debt reduction from having obtained a college degree he never used. Another brother took out money with his father-in-law to purchase his wife’s dream farm house and fix it up into a proper home, all while continuing to crush it at his day job in the city.

My mother has her own debts, between the three kids having gone through college, her own credit card debts, etc. My boyfriend and I are each struggling along for that good life one day, as well. The one we both witnessed in our own grandparents, the love they had for each other, as well as, the passion they had for hard work and progress.

We all talk about sixty hours of work a week as though it’s this new phenomenon, however, listening to our grandparents when growing up it seems this has always been the way. Granddaddy worked every day, never quit working until he passed in fact, and came home to be an incredible daddy for four children every night.

Grammie also worked hard every day, but it looked a little different from what we know now, so people may initially discount it. Working in the home and looking after four children, all while giving piano lessons for some extra take-home for the family. Her work was just as important as his work, and they looked after each other through it all.

Perhaps perspectives have changed drastically since then, because people somewhere along the way decided that the forty-hour work week was it. Our grandparents meanwhile, never stopped working even when they got home from work and will continue or continued to work until their last days.

In the last post I had briefly gone over the goals we, myself and my best friend (also known as, my boyfriend), have set for ourselves in the next few years. Now I will begin to discuss how we plan to get there, particularly financially.

Spain will be the most difficult goal to reach in the next three years, but we’ve set our minds to it, which is at least thirty-five percent of the battle, I think. Our first step towards this goal, is to open a CD together in order to start saving money at a faster rate.

We’ll likely go with a 6-month, that way we can add to it more frequently than some other longer terms. Essentially, we’ll treat this CD as our savings for the international move, adding to it what we can every six months, and preferably letting it continue to grow even after we take out what we need for the move and a few months abroad at our new jobs (to be determined).

June 1st is the goal we’ve set for opening our first CD together, that of our Spain fund. It’s quickly approaching and last night we finally put our airline tickets to Peru on his Southwest card. The idea there is that we currently have that money, but we’re going to put that toward a CD for our larger goal.

With that in mind, we intend to pay a few months interest on his card, while we save up to knock out that small debt. We leave for Peru at the end of September, so barring any emergencies, we will have our trip paid off before we leave. I have also set my own personal goals to have my college debt eradicated by the time we leave for this first trip.

Wish us luck. All those good vibes.

We’re out here doing it, and yes we could fail–the naysayers have and will continue to point that out–but until we do we intend to act as though we can’t and continue to prepare for these goals as well as any unexpected events that life may throw at us.

Globally Minded

Starting life with my best friend.

This is the first blog post I have written straight into the site, without working it out in Google Docs or Word/Pages first. My main objective in this post is to get some goals out there, into the void, to begin percolating. Here goes something quite real…

My best friend and I have been daydreaming of late, and last week I scribbled out a precise budget to get us to each of these goals in the next year or so. The first goal is to visit Machu Picchu in Peru, the second to become TEFL certified in Costa Rica (or another spot if it works out better), and the third/long goal is to move to Spain together.

There has been quite a lot of encouragement from various people in our lives, including my aunt and uncle, his father, and all of our bosses (we both work two jobs and at least 60 hours a week). The goal is language immersion and visiting bucket list sites, as well as not living and dying where we grew up.

One person in our lives has been quite a struggle to convince, but we believe that in time she will see that we are not just crazy dreamers here. The naysayer is my own mother, who we have deduced is simply terrified of losing her best friend (me) to the world. However, we have goals and plans and are going to reach out into the universe to make them happen.

Hopefully, in seeing us do all these things and make our own dreams come true, she will decide to do the same for herself. Now her goals are going to look a little different from ours, but they will be just as legitimate and important and we will encourage her once her own journey begins.

Her dreams took a hard detour when she became pregnant, then continued having children until I came around. I have always been the one to stick around so my moving around the world will be the most difficult change she will have to endure, but I believe that it is time for her to start her life and for her to let me start mine.

More to come.

Growing Up

Just friends. That’s what Miley and Trevor were to each other, nothing more, but nothing less either. One Autumn night they comforted each other in a much more intimate manner than that of friends and that was that, they did not forget each other, nor did they ignore each other, but they just kept on.

There was too much to contend with at the moment. No more room for a deeper kind of intimacy, that of a romantic relationship. He was taking care of his family’s affairs and seeing that his grandmother, eighty-six years old and suffering from dementia, was cared for properly. She was busy trying to go somewhere and be something, and not trying to get tied up in anything too serious.

They weren’t just friends, they were the best of friends, even if just for six of the longest months known to man, in their view. He confided in her and loved her deeply, and she opened up to him about her truths and experiences. The two of them could have made it, if they had truly wanted to and had tried, but there were always things to do and time was constantly slipping away from them.

In two short weeks, she was scheduled to board a plane and head to Spain for as long as she cared to work for her current company abroad. He could leave, and may have if she had asked him, but why would she do that? It was obvious that he felt a kind of familial debt owed to his grandmother for having brought him up when his mother had walked out on him and his father at three years of age.

There was no way she would even suggest the idea to him, when he clearly had something he already needed to do. So she did not tell him what was on her heart and mind, and he let her go in spite of his own hopes for their future. His dreams were pure and good, but he could not bring himself to put her first when his grandmother suffered so much and needed him to stay.

Eleven days before her departure, she noticed a change in her physical state and realized the truth of her situation. At twenty-six years old, full of promise and hope for the future she was embarking upon, she was pregnant, and all alone in life. Miley considered telling Trevor what she knew, but she could not do that to him at this time. Trevor had something that he had to do, an unspoken promise that had to be fulfilled and upheld. Perhaps one day, when the time was right, she would contact him and let him know all that had transpired, but for now she was moving alone to a foreign country with a little person growing inside of her.