planes, trains, and automobiles

The last few days have ben travel days. Machu Picchu is pretty far removed from the city of Lima where we’re staying with friends, and getting back there involved a taxi, a train, another taxi, a plane ride, and yet another taxi. We decided to break it up a bit, so the day after we went to Machu Picchu, we had a mellow morning at the hotel and took the train back to Ollantaytambo where we had stayed on the way out.

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Our last morning at the hotel near Machu Picchu, we decided to take a hike to a butterfly sanctuary that was about a 1/2 hour down the winding road to the ruins. This road has no sidewalk and there are constant buses full of tourists weaving around the corner, so every couple of minutes we’d shout “BUS!” and run to the side of the road. Sometimes, the side of the road was a sharp precipice above a raging rivers, and we tried to brace ourselves between a speeding bus and falling to our deaths in the rapids below. Adventure!

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After risking our lives to get to the butterfly sanctuary, we arrived to find that the butterflies were not in season. So we got a thrilling tour of leaves and cocoons.

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I brought several old phones so the kids could each take pictures, so they were content with pretending to be nature photographers.

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After the butterfly sanctuary is a suspension bridge that goes cross the rapids. It sways ever so slightly as you walk across . . . just enough to give you a panic attack.

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After our hike, we had our last meal at Hotel Sumaq. This hotel is a foodie paradise. Kembe ordered a hamburger off of the kids’ menu. It arrived topped with bacon, ham, edam cheese, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a fried egg.

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Every single dish here was so amazing, but my girls wanted nothing of the gourmet fair and ordered plain pasta at every meal. A travesty.

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This was Karis’s reaction to receiving a fancy amuse-bouche before the meal. Her life is so hard.

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The one portion of the meal where there was no complaining: dessert.

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Mark got some kind of mango mouse served on top of dark chocolate liquor.

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My dessert was a papaya concoction with golden cotton candy on top. Oh my word. Delicious, and way too complicated to ever replicate at home. I will have to return someday.

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After lunch we caught a train that would take us back to Ollantaytambo, where we would spend the night before catching a flight back to Lima. The kids promptly fell asleep.

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This trip, we were on the slightly more upscale train, which meant that there was free “entertainment” (heavy emphasis on the hand quotes).  The entertainment consisted of one of the train attendants changing into a devil costume and scaring the passengers while they blared Peruvian techno music. Satan + a pan flute set to a techno beat? Yes. I think this is what hell is like.

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So yeah, this guy in costume . . . the shy, quiet train attendant turned aggressive provocateur after donning a costume and a mask, began sneaking on unsuspecting passengers, most of whom were asleep, and shaking his mask in their face. Anticipating the reaction my kids would have to waking up to this in their faces (hello, screaming) I decided to wake them up and prepare them. I told them they needed to make scary faces back at him. So they did.

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In this picture, Jafta is attempted to make a scary face but it looks like he is trying to flip him off. I love it.

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The “dancing” was followed by a “fashion show” in which another train attendant walked down the aisles in various shawls (that were later available for purchase).  Same techno pan flute playing.  It was so obnoxious that we became completely punch-drunk.

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The “fashion show” also involved everyone getting the chance to feel the various shawls. Which of course my husband only had to further mock by ooh-ing and ahh-ing as he pet each one. We were cry-laughing by the end of the “show”.

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We arrived back in Ollantaytambo and decided to stay at the same hostel: KB Tambo. We loved their big room and the fact that it opened to a courtyard where the kids could play.

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We also returned to the same café we’d discovered just across the street from the hostel: a place called Hearts Café that serves whole foods and donates the proceeds to local charities. Such a great find, and the fact that they had books and games on loan for the kids made it even sweeter.

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And the food. Oh my word, the food. We ate here 4 times during our trip.

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The next morning, we woke up and caught a taxi back to Cusco.

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Most cars in Peru don’t have seat belts, and it was obvious that our driver was trying to make the 2 hour drive in about 60 minutes. We had to ask him to slow down several times. But the scenery was breathtaking.

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Don’t even get me started on how many times my kids have needed to use the bathroom at inopportune times during this trip. God forbid they go when I ask them to, when we are near a bathroom.

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We arrived back in Lima on the afternoon of Thanksgiving.

We had ordered a taxi for six, and they sent a Toyota Corolla. If you’ve ever thought you couldn’t fit 6 passengers in a Corolla, it’s only because you haven’t tried hard enough.

Later this evening, we had an amazing Thanksgiving with the Goodfellows at a hip restaurant in Peru. I’d share a picture but some moron stole my purse and phone on our way home.

We’ve got a few more days here in Lima before we head home. We got a chance to visit Krochet Kids Peru yesterday. I’ll share some photos from that visit soon!


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