Friday, August 30, 2013

the 24th, travel to Peru

We had a 2:30 wake up call for a 7 AM flight and I got up very grudgingly. But as usual, Juan Carlos knew what he was doing. We left the hotel at 3:30 and got to the airport about 4:30. This new airport was built farther from Quito, the old one was wedged between a mountain range and the city. They are building a new road that will cut down on the travel time. When we got to the airport there was a huge crush of people waiting to check in. We got in a very long line of people who needed to check bags. There was one person working that line and it was moving very slow. The lines for people with only carry on had 2 people working and was going pretty fast. The people in our line were fussing and fuming. Then about 5:30 some folks with 6 AM flights tried to push ahead and I thought a riot was going to break out. A man who had waited in line and missed his flight flipped the script and was yelling and cursing.  About 6 AM they put 2 more people on our line and it moved pretty  fast. You have to go through the duty free shop to get to the gates but we got there before they started boarding. Finally they called our flight and we headed out. I was 1\2 way down the gangway when a lady from the gate came running after me calling  my  name. Seems I had been selected for a random drug  check.  My  first  question was,  will they hold the plane? "Of course,  miss  lady,  please follow me". So, out of the gate area and down into the bowels of the airport. I identified my bag, showed my passport and opened my bag. Guy #1 pawed thru my stuff, checked my passport, checked my bag for false sides or bottom, put a sticker on it and said okay. So, then we went outside to a second area, where there were soldiers and dogs. First, the dog has to pee pee so they send him off about 200 yards to some grass and wait for him  to come back to sniff my bag. I know he smelled cat, I don't know if that's what set the whole thing off or not. So, Mr Soldier says, open the bag. He starts taking things out, opening little bags, looking at my toiletries. I just bought a pair of scissors yesterday in the Old Town and I'm thinking I'm going to lose another pair. No, he checked the bottle of unopened  water and then pulled out my lock box. The key was in it so no problem, just some meds and small things I had bought because I had transferred my Peruvian money to my money belt last night. So, Mr S checks my passport, fills in a form and has me sign it, then puts all my carefully packed stuff back in my bag in a big wad 

Then the airline lady and I head back into the terminal, I have to put all my carry on stuff back through Xray, then back to the gate and down the jetway. They have already closed the plane hatch and are getting ready to close the indoor hatch. I yelled, “No Salee por favor”, which I hoped meant don't close that m-f-ing door til I'm  on that m-f-ing plane. Luckily for me there was one other man with me who also had his bags searched and he spoke Spanish. I didn't understand anything except, no me culpa. It looked dicey for a minute. The people on the jetway were looking at each other blankly, then one woman started talking into her radio, then they started tapping on the window in the hatch of the plane. We waited and finally they opened the hatch and let us on the plane. I told Margaret what had happened and that I hoped they hadn't been too worried. Well, they hadn't even noticed I was missing. That was VERY reassuring. Evidently my roommate had never heard of the “buddy system”. 

After I sat down and started getting my stuff organized I realized that my boarding pass for Lima to Cusco had somebody else's name on it. Luckily our Go Ahead tour guide for Peru was meeting us in Lima and he was able to sort that out with no problem.

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