October 5, 2007: After sleeping only one hour for myself and four hours for my husband, our friend Nate graciously picked us up in the wee hours of the morning and drove us to San Francisco International Airport. We had no issues checking into our flights but with all the hustle and bustle with the counter and security we had no time to eat before we flew four hours to Houston, Texas. We had a three hour layover in Houston which gave us enough time walk through this giant airport and enjoy a long lunch of delicious hamburgers.
The flight to Lima was seven hours, during which we did crossword puzzles, watched "Surf's Up" and "Kicking and Screaming" along with some "George Lopez" sitcoms. Traveling days are so tiring, on both legs of our flight we told ourselves that we would sleep but we couldn't sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time, either from the excitement of traveling internationally or not being able to get comfortable.
We landed in Lima in the middle of the night and what seem like forever to get through Peruvian immigration. Prior to leaving the States, I had arranged with my mother's cousin, Rafael, to pick us up at the airport. I am really confused about what my mother's cousin is in relation to me so I just called him, Tio (Uncle) Rafael. I have never met Tio Rafael before and had only spoken to him by phone, so we had agreed that he would be waiting for us with a sign with our names on it.
My Tio Rafael and his wife were waiting for us in the midst of a wall of other people with signs and I said to myself, "I hope that guy is my Tio Rafael". Of course he recognized me because apparently I am the spitting image of my mother and I had a tall gringo as my husband. Jesse stood out Peru, especially in Iquitos not so much Cuzco with all the European, Australian and American travelers. We crammed our four giant luggage in a taxi van my uncle hired for us and headed into Los Olivos, the neighborhood my uncle lived in. The following is a recounting of Jesse's first observation of Lima and ultimately Peru, an engineer's point of view:
The house's are all in "in progress", most rooms don't have floors and some halls are open to the sky. Nothing is done, there is always a floor being built up top.
We finally arrived to my uncle's house once again in the wee hours of the morning, had some chicken soup, and rearranged our luggage. Jesse and I only had about two luggage worth of stuff, one luggage for Iquitos and another luggage for our trek in Cuzco/Machu Picchu. The other two luggage were from my mother and Tia (Aunt) Elita from the States, FULL of American goods for our extended family in Lima and Iquitos. We had to arrange what stuff we needed to take to Iquitos and leave our heavy duty hiking jackets in Lima. Everything was finally set and more than 24 hours later I could finally sleep.....
I always like pictures, so here is my extended family in Lima, my Tio Rafael is in the middle, thank you so much for your hospitality. This picture was after our big hike to Machu Picchu, I can tell because my nose got burned from the cold wind.