Home sweet home! Well .. not really .. but it is all relative! When you´ve been moving from place to place, anywhere that you´ve been already feels comfortably familiar 😉
After flying from P. Maldonado –> Cuzco –> Lima, we were picked up by a new tour guide, Edwin, and taken back to our original meeting point hotel in Miraflores. A few people were leaving tonight, and more tomorrow .. so we decided to hang out on the rooftop patio with a few beer and enjoy the last bit of our time together. That evening, Edwin took us to dinner near Parque Kennedy again .. and we had a lovely seafood dinner (better to have it in Lima which is coastal, than Cuzco which is definitely not). As per usual, around 933pm my eyes started feeling heavy (as did most of ours!) and it was bed time by 1030pm. Honestly, my internal clock is so specific these days it is insane! Wake up automatically at 440am and get tired without doubt just after 9. If I make it into DDs (double digits) I am ecstatic. Not that this is much different from me when I am at home … 😉
Anyways, the next a.m was technically our checkout / tour end. At around 11, Katy, Liz and I headed out for a relaxing day together. We got mani/pedis and man oh man did it feel good! I think my feet shrunk at least a shoe size given it´s been 7 weeks mostly in flip flops. Mmmmm … nice image right? We then headed down to the water for ceviche (yayyy!) and it was an absolutely beautiful (a poke at the Aussies 😉 combination of flavours. The mixto was: octopus, calamari, muscles, shrimp and white fish. The sauce was spicy and tart, and it came with choclo (cooked large kernels of corn) and sweet potato. I would love to try making it at home but am a little bit unsure with regards to the whole raw seafood thing (it is basically marinated in vinegary sauce and therefor partially cooked by the time you eat it). In any case, I bought a Peruvian cookbook and plan to give some of the delicacies a try!
We wandered and later on said our ¨see you soon´s¨ to Ali and Graham, who were heading back to the UK. Can you tell I don´t like goodbyes? 😉 I checked into my new hotel (the one I´d stayed at when I was on my own before the tour) .. as I would be spending two more nights in Miraflores before heading home. That night, Edwin offered to give Liz, Katy and I a lesson on how to make Pisco Sours! What a great way to end off the trip .. and even after the tour was technically complete.
I met them on the rooftop of our old hotel and he brought all the fixings. I have to say, I wasn´t all that enamoured with the drink when we´d had it at restaurants .. it tasted like an overly sweet melted Margarita. HOWEVER .. tonight, I realized that a good Pisco Sour is actually very delicious! We watched him first, then made our own.
This is the recipe:
– 3 shots of Pisco (to tell if it is good quality, apparently you shake the bottle and the longer the little tornado of bubbles in the middle lasts, the better!)
– 2 shots of simple syrup (essentially boiled sugar and water 1:1)
– 1 shot of fresh squeezed lime juice (no seeds, for obvious reasons)
– 1/2 to 1/3 of an egg white (raw, yes!)
– a few cups of ice
– ¨Bitters¨ or cinnamon sprinkles (for decoration)
Essentially, you add the first two, blenderize, add the 2nd and 3rd and some ice, blenderize .. decorate with the cinnamon or one drop of bitters, and your done. I don´t think it matters too much when you decide to blenderize as long as it is frothy and mixed well. I may be wrong, though!
Anyways .. after that, the girls left to the airport and I headed out on my lonesome so the new (but old because I´d stayed there before) hotel for a good night´s sleep. The next day and today have just been low key as I think I´m coming down with a cold and my knee is still hurting from that trek! I´ve had some down time and finished my souvenir shopping for family .. so that makes me happy 😉
Today is my last day and I´m leaving to the airport in the evening to catch my 130am flight to Toronto, then to Calgary (tight connection so I hope I can make it) and finally .. HOME SWEET HOME, Vancouver :).
I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to travel for 7 weeks .. both in terms of leave from work, and also in terms of the coordination with those whom I could share these experiences with. I am also glad I bit the bullet and booked all of this a while ago, because nearing the day of my departure I did second guess what on earth I was thinking going for 7 weeks alone. It only took a few days before I realized those pre-travel jitters come … and then go… fairly quickly :).
I am ready to come back .. definitely .. but am happy to say that I am leaving on a positive note, and feel like i´ve left when things are still ¨going¨ in the sense that it was the right amount of time. I think, in part, this trip has gone by so fast because I was able to combine three different experiences into one: Brazil with my parents (how amazingly unique is that?), Argentina with Ryan (such a vacation!) and Peru (a mystical world all it´s own). My alone time has been a few days in each country (3 in Brazil, 2 in Argentina, 5+ in Peru) so I´ve not had the chance to become lonely .. and in fact have really enjoyed my time alone when it comes around.
Having said that, being involved in the intrepid tour was an amazing experience – and a first for me – as I usually travel with someone from home. I have to say I learned a lot about myself being with other people; it´s funny how insights into your own character can be gained from interactions with strangers .. who later become friends. I think there is always something to be said about the blank page; when you are travelling and you meet someone, they know nothing about you and you, nothing about them. Your past trials and tribulations, successes and failures, jobs and experience .. these are part of your life, but not necessarily who you are. Who you are is what you have become on the basis of these experiences .. and that´s why I think travelling is such a unique opportunity to see what´s at the core of ¨you¨ .. it´s usually not demographic information or scholastic success. 🙂 I really appreciated the honest conversations I had with people and learned a lot .. so thank you.
Something else that I´ve been mulling over, is that this trip has been somewhat more effortless than those in past. Maybe I´m becoming a seasoned traveller .. maybe I was able to treat myself a bit more (i.e take taxis!) now than during my past backpacking endeavours .. or maybe it was just the right mix of places and people and my own changing level of independence. One thing I do know is that this past year has been so full of change, it probably made it easy to travel out of a backpack and have no place to call home. Moving jobs and moving houses 3x, as well as repacking clothing and living out of tupperware bins .. can make one feel unsettled and nomadic, so this was actually more freeing because I had less baggage to look through and less opportunity to misplace my belongings. It´s an interesting thing because travelling really reinforces how little you need in terms of material goods .. in that way, this trip has highlighted what I’ve begun to really learn this year – that one can always declutter and reprioritize one´s life .. and sometimes it takes situations imposed on you unwillingly (such as job change, moving, etc) to get that ball rolling. It´s a good thing, I think, to peel away the extra stuff and learn what is really important to you.
Well .. this has been a phenomenal ride .. and I will be sad to say goodbye to Peru and its people, but am also looking forward to coming home. I feel more rejuvinated than I have in a long time, and hope that this will be a starting point for a great year.
Thank you for those who followed my blog, I really appreciate the feedback. I´m looking forward to catching up soon .. and for the summer months to come :).