Cruel and unusual. Ok, jerks. I can SEE online that there are nice, leisurely afternoon flights to Cusco from Lima. SO WHY ON EARTH am I on a 7am flight?? I regularly book flights leaving between the hours of 11am and 4pm because I’m not a crazy person. Alas, Condor Travel had other plans for me. Problem is:
• It takes FOREVER to get from my gated compound here in La Molina to the airport.
• LIM asks domestic passengers to check in 2 HOURS before.
What this means for me? 3:30am taxi. (I want to cry just typing the words.) Heaven forbid I don’t make it to the airport by 4:15am for a 7am flight! The night before, I lay down for a “nap” at around 9pm and at least got a little sleep. Here we are, pulling up bright & early behind a long line cars at the Lima airport:
Early bird chirping away. Being a “national” (domestic) flight and all, security and check in went pretty quickly. So lucky me, I got to sit in the waiting area while the lively rubenesque blonde (pictured here, center) graciously shared every thought rattling around her hollowed-out melon. “Why does he do that?! He knows how I feel about him! We got back and he’s just sitting there talking to Julie – or wait, was Amber there? I don’t think she was… So yeah, Julie about dinner plans or something as if we’re not all just standing there like…and you know what I’m thinking. Dude, what am I, sliced ham or?…” No, dear. You are like, a whole entire ham.
I can switch off my brain. A nice bonus of going through a tour company is having someone meet me at every plane, bus, and train I exit. I’m not prone to getting lost, but in this case, I couldn’t if I tried. It’s nice to not have to navigate an unfamiliar place for a change. The Condor Travel rep was waiting outside the Cusco airport, sign in hand, to take me to my hostel, Christo Blanco.
One night at Christo Blanco: $15/night. (My three nights will consist of 2 cheap hostels and one very expensive hotel.)
I checked in around 9am, with 4 hours until my 1pm tour around Cusco. I didn’t catch my host’s name – a nice older woman who spoke nice, slow Spanish (the kind that I understand.) After I set my bags in my room, she served me a cup of Mate de Coca tea, which I learned later, is illegal in all but 4 countries (Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador). ♫ I know what presents I’m bringing back to the US! (BTW, if coca tea is illegal in the US, how is it available on amazon?)
Feeling weird. I don’t know if it was the early morning, the 11,000-foot (3,400m) altitude, the coca tea or a combination of all 3, but my small headache would be raging by bedtime. I took a 2-hour nap which helped a little. The thermometer on my travel alarm clock told me it was 58°F (14°C) in my room. Br-r-r-r!
My review of Christo Blanco on hostelworld: Charming, out-of-the-way hostel with eager-to-please staff. This hostel-with-a-view takes some effort to get to. (So many stairs at 11,000 feet would not be ideal for everyone.) Located on the outskirts of the valley, this hostel was very quiet and peaceful. My cab from the airport had to stop when the road became inaccessible, so I had a 5-10 minute hike uphill. The two dogs – especially the black one – were barking like crazy but I found them both to be all bark.
Hospedaje Cristo Blanco, APV. Toccocachi, Calle Cristo Blanco A-2, San Blas, Cusco, Peru • tel: +51 84 26 12 65