Step 1: Arrive in Arequipa

August 15, 2015

20150812_142719-2On Tuesday we began the journey to our new temporary home in Arequipa, Peru.

The night before we left a couple friends came over, including my sister, and we had a splendid time of chit chatting, making last minute errands (including printing way too many photos of family and friends to hang on our Peruvian fridge), and crossing the remaining things off of our To-Do List. Friends left before midnight, but Bear and I stayed up until 2:30am or so. I felt like there was so much to do that sleep was not an option. Eventually Bear told me we should get some rest, and I agreed. We had to be up at 5:15am for our flight.

I woke up maybe an hour before we had to leave and laid in bed. My eyes were still closed but my mind was wide awake. I spent some time to myself and then decided to roll out of bed. I peaked at the time and realized why it had felt like we got such good sleep in such a short amount of time! We had slept in. Whups. Of course I found it funny that I had been awake for most of the time we should have been awake. Fortunately we were only 40 minutes behind or so, and there was enough time to catch up and be on our way.

Directly after I woke Bear up there was a knock at the door: our ride had arrived. Bear went downstairs to let them know we had accidentally slept past our alarm, and they kindly waited in their car. We gathered our things, warmed the Burrito Kitchen breakfast burritos we bought for the four of us in the car and said our goodbyes to our pets. Shutting the door to our house felt strange.

It was a nice ride to the airport with my Spiritual Mother and her husband. They had lived in Honduras for several years so their experience with third world living is extensive. They told stories and gave us some tips on various things. We said our goodbyes at the airport and were on our way.

We rolled our four small suitcases into the United check-in line, scanned our passports and headed to security. Security was busy. We made it through and only had to wait a bit before our flight to Austin was boarding. The first flight was smooth and relatively quick. Soon enough we were in Austin and headed to Houston which we soon found out would be the start of our adventure.

The boarding lines in Houston were very long. We were in the last section to board and were glad when we finally found our seats on the plane. We placed our things were we wanted them and got comfy. Movies were free so we both picked one out. Bear and I ended up starting this movie called Tomorrowland, each on our own screens but at the exact same time. (We’re kind of nerdy like that.) There were a few interruptions during our movie from the pilot who mentioned there were going to be some delays. The initial reasons were due to planes having to turn around due to weather, and then we ran out of gas because we were waiting for so long. (Can I please have an airplane savvy person explain to me how we were going to fly over the ocean for seven hours and not run out of gas, but in an hour on the ground we ran out? Is that something I should know?)

Next thing we know the pilot was announcing that the plane was not in proper condition to fly and that we would have to deplane and wait for more information. We were in the plane for just shy of two hours when they finally decided this. Better now that half way over the ocean! The passengers deplaned, and we waited… and waited… and waited. After two hours or so, United announced that our flight would be delayed until 8am the next morning. This was unfortunate because we had a connecting flight at 6am from Lima to Arequipa. We hoped it would all work itself out.

We stood in line to wait for the hotel and food vouchers the airline was handing out. Sometime around midnight (3+ hours later) we were finally standing in front of the airline attendant receiving our vouchers. We tried to remind ourselves that this was all a part of the adventure, and it wasn’t a big deal. Despite standing for so long and being tired it really wasn’t a big deal. After a half an hour or so we found a spot on the shuttle to our hotel with seventeen other people. (We all crammed ourselves into a 12-person bus because we were too tired to wait for the next shuttle.)

The hotel gave us a really nice room. It was not a nice hotel, but we were grateful to have ended up with a suite-type room. We felt blessed by that after a long day of traveling and standing in various lines.

* * * * *

It was an early rise and shine the next morning, but we boarded and were in the air without issue. We went between watching movies and sleeping for the next six hours. We were over water for a long time, but eventually we found ourselves over land, and eventually we found ourselves over Peru! The descent began and soon enough we were in Lima, Peru!

It felt very surreal. We made our way to baggage and then to customs and then to see if we could get a credit toward a new flight. We handed Peruvian Airlines a letter from United explaining the situation, and Peruvian Air couldn’t do anything about it. What did that mean for us? ‘Forking out money for two new flights. (Boo.) We walked around to the different domestic airlines and stumbled upon one way tickets for a very reasonable price. Fortunately, the flight was scheduled to leave that evening and would put us in Arequipa at a reasonable time as well.

We bought the tickets and made our way toward the terminal. As is tradition for Bear and I, we stopped and bought some postcards for loved ones. Then we picked up some snacks for the plane – Inka Kola and plantain chips. The flight with LCPerú was nice and smooth. We were pretty impressed by them as an airline for how reasonably-priced our last minute tickets were. We landed in Arequipa, grabbed our luggage and found our friend who met us at the airport. The rest of the night is history, and tomorrow holds the beginning of this new and exciting adventure.

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