(Am not normally the type to be blogging about my life. But think thisPeruexperience merits keeping a record. Thanks Tom for creating this blog para mi! I will try and make you proud!)
Sunday – Fly from NJ to Germany
Following Sunday – Fly from Germany to NJ
Monday – Fly from NJ to Peru:
The weight limit is 50 pounds. My bag is 56.
– Can I just pay extra?
– No. You can’t. Not toLima. You can buy another bag though and pay $70 to check that one.
– I don’t have TIME to buy another bag, can’t I just pay you 70 bucks for this one and we can pretend its two bags?
– No. Not toLima
I throw out 6 pounds worth of stuff. It’s more than you’d think.
“Peruvians fly differently than the rest of us,” reports the very Jersey flight attendant while we’re boarding, “This shit happens every time.” She and I are standing in the front of the plane watching the chaos unfold before us. The head flight attendant repeatedly announces that people must take their seats. Their assigned seats. Assigned. This doesn’t stop them. No one will sit down, and they’ll be goddamned if they’ll look at the seat number on their ticket to do so. Everyone is standing around and yelling to one another like we’re all up here just waiting for a bus. And either everyone on the plane is related, or they’re pretty chill about who they pass their babies around to – a number of babies are being transferred between 15 or more different people. I hope nobody passes one to me.
I tell the guy at customs I’m going to be in the country until the end of May and I need a visa through until then. He stamps my passport. I walk away and check the stamp, it says “30” on it. I walk back:
– I said the end of May, this says 30.
– End of May. Yes.
– But it only says 30.
He switches to English to confirm. – Yes. End of May. 30.
I walk away hoping that 30 is maybe a code for something. Maybe it means like Special Visa Number 30. I meet the house manager and she confirms it does mean 30 days. “They earn money by charging you for every day you overstay your visa, that’s why they do it.” Awesome.
The arrival hall is comical. There is only one terminal and about 5 international flights arrive at once. There are probably 100 people holding signs and yelling. I look for my name. No dice. I scan the crowd for the one white girl. Check.
The house manager is central casting hippie do-gooder. She’s wearing a bandeau bra under a long loose tank top and cut-off shorts. Colorful woven messenger bag. She asks me where I’m from and offers that she’s from NY. “Originally.” Originally. I know what that’s code for. That’s code for: I’m not really from NY at all. It’s the only place in the world that people want so desperately to be associated with that they have to pretend to be from there, even when they aren’t. I’m from just outside of NY (New Jersey). I’m from nearNew York City(Westchester.) I’m from NY, originally (‘til I was four.) I was born in NY (my parents were on vacation there when my mother went into labor.) This doesn’t happen with other places. I’m from just outsideCalifornia. What? Nevada, you mean? Mexico? Just say where the fuck you mean for god’s sake. She’s sweet though, and she knows a lot. And if anyone can forgive her for this slip, it’s someone who is from just outside of NY herself.