May 5, 2018 – Puno to Lima, Peru
We did not have to get up at the crack of dawn this morning as we didn’t leave the hotel until 10:20. We met, however, at 10 a.m. to celebrate Donna’s birthday. Cheo had gotten a cake for her with one candle on it (smart fellow). It was a really good Black Forest one. After that we headed out to the airport. Puno is so hilly that we had to drive for an hour outside of Puno to reach the airport.
When we got there we got checked in for our 1:30 flight. The airport is a fairly small one, and there weren’t many places to sit. There was, however, a lot of shopping. We all grabbed some snacks or sandwiches for lunch which is a good thing. All of us, except Richard and Susan, were seated in the last 3 rows. The flight was 1.5 hours, and only the 1st 16 rows got anything to eat or drink. Richard and Susan were in row 17 so they didn’t get anything either. I was in the very last row in 29A. 29 B and C had signs on them which said do not sit here. So I had a whole row to myself. Either I was very good or very bad. I’ll let you decide. One thing though – as soon as the cabin was pressurized, we all began to breathe easier, and it was a delight to be able to walk in Lima with no panting. None of us had particularly suffered from altitude sickness except that the slightest exertion had us panting. A couple of us had stopped up noses and/or a slight nose bleed at night. I think all of us at some time had a slight headache. On the last night in Puno, Diane had to have oxygen. The respective altitudes we are at: Lima 5080’; Arequipa 7,740’; Cusco 10,800’; Ollantaytambo 9’150’; Machu Picchu 7,950’; Puno and Lake Titicaca 12,420’.
When we arrived in Lima, the bus picked us up. That is when the saga began. It only took a little over 2.5 hours to get from the airport to the hotel. There was at least one pro-life parade, and I don’t know what else was going on, but traffic was snarled in such a way that at one point, it took half an hour to go 6 blocks. We left the airport about 4:30, and we had dinner reservations at 7 just a couple of blocks from the hotel. Needless, to say we were late. Fortunately, it wasn’t a particularly busy night, so we didn’t lose our reservation. After all, how could we leave Peru without at least one more pisco sour?
We had a great time reminiscing about the trip and what a joy it was to have such a congenial group. We didn’t leave the restaurant until almost 11. I think we were all reluctant to break up and be going our own separate ways.