Day 9 – 5/30 – Travel Day

8:00AM – We got up early to pack up all our stuff and still managed to miss breakfast. I wasn’t hungry anyway, but Alice wanted to try this pastry shop across the street.

10:00AM – We checked out of our hotel, and Carina took us to the airport. She had already checked in for us online and provided us with boarding passes for both flights. As we were saying our good-byes, we were hit with a strong aroma of coffee. She explained that it comes from an area near Machu Picchu. We sampled the coffee, and it tasted pretty good. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t normally drink coffee. We liked it enough that we bought two bags of coffee grounds for $4 each.

11:55AM – We caught our flight from Cusco to Lima. The airport tax was $4.23 per person.

2:00PM – We had lunch at Papa John’s at the airport. If I’m not mistaken, Papa John’s is a take and bake pizza joint in the States. But here in Peru, or maybe just at the airport, it’s a fast food pizza joint. Alice and I each got the 6″ ham and mushroom pizza. The meal also came with a drink. The pizza and drink sure looked bigger on the menu though.

3:20PM – We flew from Lima to Iquitos. The airport tax was $6.05 per person. It’s not that much money, but it kind of sucks that you have to leave the gate, pay airport tax again, and go through security checkpoint once again even when catching a connecting flight.

5:30PM – Since today was a travel day, it was pretty much going to be a boring day. We were supposed to be picked up from the airport, and we were going to call it a day. Little did we know that we were in for some excitement.
As we exited the baggage claim area, we were swarmed by taxi drivers. I tried to politely tell them that we already made travel arrangements. They were pretty persistent though, and wanted to see our voucher and know where we were going. They sounded like they were trying to be helpful, but we were wary of being scammed. At first, we were pretty annoyed, but when no one showed up to pick us up we started to get scared. We were stranded in a foreign country where we barely spoke the language.
With no other choice, we had to trust one of the locals, and he helped us call our hotel. It turned out the the hotel had arranged for our airport transfer and not the travel agency. We were given the wrong information and wound up missing our ride. The local then arranged for one of his taxi buddies to take us to our hotel for 12 soles (US$4). So our lives were in the hands of a complete stranger.
I don’t think he was a licensed taxi driver, or maybe there’s no such thing in this country. There were no decals indicating that his car was a taxi. I’m not even sure you could even call it a car. It was raining, and you could barely see out the window. Because of the humidity, he would have to wipe his windshield with a piece of cloth every five minutes. And every so often he would have to stick his hand out the window to give the wipers a kick start. Oh, and don’t forget about his diving. He was passing up trucks and tuc-tucs (those three-wheeled vehicles that resemble a motorcycle that can carry two passengers in the back) by hopping into oncoming traffic and dodging back into our lane. I kind of wanted to close my eyes until we got to the hotel. And to top it all of, the taxi driver had to stop for gas. It’s a good thing we weren’t in a race for a million dollars!

6:30PM – We finally got to our hotel, Victoria Regia, in one piece. Still scared out of our wits, we decided to stay in the hotel and ate at the CafĂ© Bar. Alice ordered the dorado (catfish) in garlic sauce, and I had the the beef in cilantro sauce. Both dishes were surprisingly good.

11:00PM – We finished packing for the Amazon. We are only allowed a duffel bag’s worth of clothing since space will be limited on the boat. Did I mention that I want to go home? Hopefully my mood will flip 180 degrees when we get to the Amazon tomorrow.

One Response to “Day 9 – 5/30 – Travel Day”

  1. thx2ipo says:

    Hey Gilice. Sounded like an adventure. Sorry about the airport transfer mishap. but enjoy the rest of your trip as you may not be in the amazon anytime soon!

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