On the Home Stretch… Making my way back to Lima

With the most gruelling part of my trip home behind me, I am barely 24 hours away from arriving at the Toronto Airport where my mom will be waiting to give me a giant hug.

I had to take four flights from Patagonia to reach Arica at the very north of Chile, each of them varying from 1.5 to 3 hours. The first leg of the trip was my favourite with mountains out the window and I sat next to a Russian-Canadian Outward Bound instructor turned life coach. I received some unsolicited advice, got a high five and he told me all about the 12 books he is working on! What a character! And very chatty for a 6am flight!

The next three flights were less fun. For one of the flights I sat next to this couple that were kissy kissy pukey pukey in love and couldn’t keep their hands and lips off each other! I put in my ear plugs so I wouldn’t have keep hearing them express their “amor” to each other.

The next two flights had no less than 7 babies on board. At least one was crying at all times…. Out came my earplugs once again!

Finally I got to Arica and it felt so surreal to be back in the sandy desert landscape. I crashed at a small hostel across from the bus station and I was up early to cross the border into Peru.

I shared a cab with a few strangers and breezed my way across. I have grown to love locals in these situations because inevitably someone swoops in to take care of me, the clueless gringa. This was no exception where a kind young Chilean woman would wait for me after every check point, smiling with a thumbs up and then a hand wave to follow her or sit next to her while we waited. It’s so sweet and I hope foreigners find the same kindness when they come to Canada.

So just like that I was back in Peru. I knew it immediately because the horns were honking obnoxiously and crossing the road became a life threatening activity again. I had booked a ticket on a 6pm bus to Lima… I knew I would be early, but I totally forgot about the TWO HOUR time change. So my 6 hour wait turned to 8 hours. Thankfully the kind folks at Cruz Del Sur bus lines were able to switch my ticket and I was on the road by noon.

I have never flown first class, but I think first class on Cruz Del Sur is much like it. I had a big reclining lazy boy seat (wide enough I could bring my feet up to sit in a ball shape), leg rests, and personal TV screen (with English movies too!). They bring you food every now and then. Drinks too! And we played Bingo! Luxurious! For my 20 hour bus ride, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

The only downfall was that I ate too many Pringles (they taste so good!)… so I spent a couple hours battling with nausea. Finally, mid-bingo I couldn’t stand it anymore and barfed in the bathroom. It was disgusting and not ideal but I felt so much better after. I slept and listened to podcasts the rest of the journey.

(PS! Can’t wait for Serial’s podcast finale on Thursday! Did Adnan do it!??!?!)

So here I am in Lima! I splurged a little for a single room in a quiet B&B. Yesterday I did tons of shopping, trying to buy all the souvenirs I refused to buy/carry over the last few months.

I also stopped at this park that was full of cats!!! It took about 5 minutes to walk through the park, but I saw well over 20 cats just wandering around or sleeping in the weirdest places. I’ve gotten used to the stray dogs everywhere, but this cat situation was new and very funny to me!

This was my favourite because the cat in the front was terrified of my iPod, but also really wanted to be petted… The poor thing was frozen in limbo, but ultimately ran away….

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So that’s that. Sorry there is only one photo this time, but the last few days were relatively uninspiring! I didn’t think you would want to see a photo of my barf (jk, I don’t have a picture of it… probably a good thing because this post is so boring that I might have actually posted it).

I have a couple more blog entries I want to write… I’m just hanging around today waiting for my flight that doesn’t leave until 1:30am, so hopefully I will get them done and uploaded!

Keep on keeping on!

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