the truth is stranger...
Well, that was a fun little vacation in scenic Peru. Rather than bore you with endless stories about Machu Picchu, let's play a game. 23 of the following statements are true, and two are lies. Whoever guesses correctly will win a very special prize, brought straight from that horrible city to you. Ready? Okay!
On vacation, Texas in Africa:
- spent a miserable night flying to Lima due to food poisoning from the yogurt she ate for dinner from the Au Bon Pain in Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
- got knocked out by the combination of food poisoning and the 11,000-plus foot altitude upon arrival in Cusco, thus precluding any actual "hiking" or "getting out of bed."
- saw a folk festival that involved a man having to carry a table on his head for no apparent reason.
- recovered by spending three days rafting a river that is the source of the Amazon through a canyon that is 5,000 feet deep at several points.
- acquired approximately 153 bites from DEET-resistant sandflies that the rafting guides called mosquitoes.
- "got" to try the local special of roasted guinea pig prepared by the rafting guides.
- pondered with disbelief the fact that there are no fish to catch for dinner in said river because river otters swam up from the Amazon ten years ago and ate them all.
- went cliff diving on the same river.
- spent most of the day at Machu Picchu speaking French and wondering what would possess anyone to build a city there.
- have a new Parisian friend for life due to a mutual inability to not giggle when the Machu Picchu guide told us to absorb the energy from a "special rock" on the site and the Japanese tourists obliged.
- heard several disturbing Andean panflute renditions of "The Sound of Silence" and various Beatles classics.
- found the guidebook's description of Puno as "somewhat less than appealing" to be a bit of an understatement.
- ate dinner at Machu Pizza.
- visited not one, but two human zoos on Lake Titicaca.
- was forced by the Titicaca guide to folk dance with a Belgian architect during an "authentic" lunch.
- learned that the waters of Lake Titicaca are indeed tranquil and blue, thus making the trip to Puno worth it.
- enjoyed a Belle Helene crepe for breakfast on the first morning in lovely Arequipa.
- pondered exactly what the point was of becoming a cloistered nun 400 years ago if you were allowed to build your own house in the convent and keep four servants to manage it.
- found the "best empanada in Peru" to be pretty mediocre.
- saw the mummy of a child sacrificed by the Incas.
- visited a colonial house in which the occupying family was allowed by the state to keep their crazy son in a pillory in the back bedroom.
- pondered the unbelievable excesses of the Jesuits, and decided that it was no wonder that they got kicked out.
- listened to three Alabama good ole boys at the next table discuss hunting for ducks and panthers and wrestling anacondas with their perplexed hunting guide.
- scrambled up rocks to see condors flying in a canyon that's twice the depth of the Grand Canyon.
- went paragliding over the Pacific and the cliffs of Miraflores with an instructor whose mama is from Pampa, Texas and whose daddy is a Texas Aggie.