It's been quite some time since we've traveled out of the country... save for our wedding in the Bahamas last year. Seeing as this blog is mostly meant to 1) keep our parents happy with updates that we're safe and 2) preserve our memories for ourselves, we haven't had much need write anything since, oh... 2008 it looks like. And now with a Bambino on the way, it will probably be just as long before we have another trip worth writing about! ;) Sarah tends to do most of the writing, but I'll let you know if it's Jim's voice speaking to you.
Some people have been surprised that I would be traveling to a foreign country while 20-22 weeks pregnant. But this is me we're talking about! This is sort of our "babymoon" if you will and an opportunity we couldn't pass up. I'm in the second trimester which is the best time to go. I did my research and other women have gone to Machu Picchu at this stage in their pregnancies and they report that they were just fine. The best part is that my doctor has done this same trip and she was excited for us to go and not really concerned at all! She was giving us advice for restaurants, etc., it was great. :) My goal of course will be to stay rested and hydrated, and I will keep snacks around and I'll try not to push myself as hard as I usually do. But all should be fine!
We have officially arrived safely in Lima, Peru. The plan for this trip is to spend some time in Lima with our friends Steph and Erik at Steph's sister's apartment (Jessie works for the foreign service here) for about a week, then go with them to Ica (a nature preserve), then Jim and I will break off to go to Cuzco/Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu before returning to Lima then heading home.
A shout out to Daddy for driving us to the airport yesterday morning… thank you Daddy! Sorry it ended up not being the smoothest ride back home for you, but we do really appreciate it.
I learned something in airport security yesterday: apparently a 2 lb. block of cheddar cheese next to an umbrella and over some camera lenses looks an awful lot like a big block of C4 next to a detonator on the security monitors. Luckily we made it through security just fine… it just took quite a while as they checked it for residue, etc. :) Luckily the TSA lady handling us was super nice, and we definitely got to keep the cheese. From now on I will be sure to check my cheese. We brought some cheeses to Jessie, Steph's sister who works for the foreign service in Lima, since cheese is so very pricey in Peru. (It sounds like one block of parmesan can run $20US!) She was thrilled as we unloaded all of the different varieties we brought, so it was totally worth it.
Our flights themselves were fairly uneventful. The only catch was that our flight from Houston to Lima was "canceled" for about half an hour or so… then they fixed whatever problem they were having and reinstated the flight just as we were on the verge of figuring out another plan. For a while there we thought maybe we were spending the night in Houston... which wouldn't have been so bad but we were happy when they reinstated the flight. Huzzah! So we got into Lima a few hours late due to the confusion, but no worse for the wear.
Samuel (the baby growing in my tummeh) was quite excited to go to Peru too, apparently. He was rocking and rolling more than ever before in there as we were waiting to take off from Houston. Jim felt him for the first time so that was pretty exciting for the happy papa-to-be. He quieted down after that though, thank goodness, so that was nice.
Jim has to rant: Dear Apple, please make it more clear that after I "Redeem" a digital copy of a movie by successfully authenticating against the iTunes store, copying it into iTunes and having it appear to be completely available, that I should then specifically Authorize the content prior to being able to play it (apparently with a second inexplicably required login!) We loaded four digital copies of movies we've recently purchased using this process, just to find out on the plane, when expecting to flip open the laptop and enjoy a good movie rather than watch the swill on the in-flight monitors, that we needed the internets to perform an authorization. This is definitely not the "smooth, user-friendly" experience that I have come to expect from Apple, and I'm really sad that we spent 6 hours on a plane with four movies locked away in iTunes and no way to play them. Grrr… /jimrant
Jessie arranged for a driver to pick us up in the airport. After long customs lines and a teensy bit of confusion when Erik and Steph "disappeared" for a bit (turns out they were randomly selected to have their bags inspected at customs), we found our driver and all was well. The views as we drove the half hour to Jessie's apartment reminded us a lot of Manila, with fewer power lines dangling down. Jessie's neighborhood, Miraflores, is very nice though.
Don't get me wrong. Jim and I aren't the kind of travelers that *need* luxury. We're happy in hostels and, while we might spring for one that has its own bathroom rather than a shared one, we're happy in meager accommodations. Driving up to Jessie's apartment complex, though... man, I should join the foreign service. This place is NICE. There are parks and playgrounds along the boardwalk, the building is white marblesque and gated with security, the works. The inside of her apartment has three bedrooms (plus a 'maid's quarters' that she uses for storage), three bathrooms, hardwood floors, is completely furnished for her with nice furniture, has a full dining room with a table with settings for 12, and a private balcony that has a stunning view overlooking the coast and the water below. Staying here for a week will be tough, let me tell you. ;)
Jessie greeted us at her apartment door (it was nearly 2am by this time so she didn't meet us at the airport since she had to get up and work at 6am) by telling us that there was apparently a light 4.something earthquake while we were in the car. I feel a little jipped! Being in an earthquake is one of those things I've always morbidly wanted to do... nothing damaging at all of course, I just want to feel a slight little earthquake that just shakes things a bit. But since we were in the car, none of us noticed at all. Boo!
After a good night's rest and hanging out at the apartment for the morning we will be meeting Jessie for lunch and looking into getting our tickets to Machu Picchu all settled. It should be a good day!
-Sarah and Jim