Saturday, July 5, 2014

Inca Trail Marathon Adventure Day 15+ - Lima -> Houston -> Seattle

"today will be the best day of your life. tomorrow too."
Had a relaxed morning, including a nice long breakfast on the terrace. Got ourselves packed and ready for the day's adventure and the long night of travel…

We checked out of the hotel around 10am, leaving our bags in storage before heading out for one last day.

We walked along the cliff top to Barranco, thinking how gorgeous it would be in summer with the bright sunshine and the blue ocean. Still, a pretty spectacular view. Also, the pavement is marked in 500m increments (maybe more frequently?) and measures out a perfect 5K. This did seem like an amazing running path!

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We arrived in Barranco to find a big parade seemingly about to take place. We traveled backward along the staging area (potentially the route, though no one was parading?). First a large reviewing stand, already full of local officials. Then group after group of school kids, government employees, office workers, and some groups that seemed quite random. Though people were obviously practicing, it didn't seem as if anyone was moving forward. Or anything was really happening.

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this building was pretty amazing

We ended up in the little square in front of the handsome local library and church, watching more parade prep … along with a woman using her very young children to pass out flyers about the dangers of drugs and booze.

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We made our way to the Bridge of Sighs… but it was closed for renovation. (Sigh.) Not that we particularly cared… so we made our way down underneath it and along a very handsome path towards the seafront. Lots of little restaurants and B&Bs on this path -- seemed like a potentially nice, quiet place to stay.

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path down to the seafront

We walked along the seawall, past lots of weirdly empty buildings. There were clusters of large buildings where one would be a restaurant that was clearly closed down, a bit dusty, but available for lease; the next building would be a restaurant doing well enough to have a huge staff (we saw their pre-opening meeting); and the next building had a collapsed ceiling and a speedboat being stored inside.

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again, wouldn't this be lovely with blue skies?

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Eventually found a path back up to the cliff top, then walked around to Larcomar, a famous upscale mall on the cliff. Weird place: really high-end shops, plus a food court with everything from fast food to "fast casual" restaurants including Chili's and Tony Romas. (Weird.) We got food at Bembos, which is the Peruvian fast food chain -- fried cheese, yucca fries, onion rings, and a darn tasty veggie burger. Perfect lunch.

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Larcomar … so odd!

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paraglider over Larcomar -- there were several floating overhead

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lunch at Bembos -- mmmm, fried food

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"at the request of our cows" is what the headline says
We decided to go back to the park to see the kitties again. I heard a man say, "No, no, you can't take one home." I figured it was just an American dad talking to his kids -- but it was Ken! Yes, we all had a little, "Yeah, we know people in Lima" moment. Nice to see them and hear their experiences -- they'd been on a food tour as well as a running tour, both of which sounded very cool.

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our lady of feral cats

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Saturday afternoon dance party

We moved on, stopping to watch part of the Costa Rica / Holland World Cup match over the shoulders of others gathered around a television in a cafe. We also just wandered around a little, taking pictures of the street art.

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loved this random art of a giant man

With still more time to kill, we decided to finally pop in to the "Barcelona" bar/restaurant near the hotel… where we had our final Pisco Sours while watching the end of the game. Sorry Ticos! That, my friends, is Lima.

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(We were also a little sorry that we waited until the last minute to check out Barcelona; the hotel receptionist had suggested it on our first day, but it didn't seem right by daylight. But by night? Perfect. We should had stopped in for a nightcap every night.)

With a few minutes to spare, we went to the hotel to collect our bags, then waited for our Peruvian Shuttle to arrive.

I'm embarrassed that I don't remember our driver's name, but I can't say enough good things about Peruvian Shuttle's service. A very nice, well-maintained car with AC, driving smoothly and quickly to the airport. He even helped with our bags.

Because the ride was so fast, we had LOTS of time to kill at the airport.

First the long, slow-moving line to check in … though because different flights had different agents, we basically got moved to the front of our flight line once we'd passed the person who was sorting folks by flights.

Moved through security quickly (can't get enough of that Samsung ad with Rooney, Ronaldo, and Messi… that was on nearly endless repeat on the big video screens…), did a bit of shopping (becoming, somehow, obsessed with finding a sticker and a patch… but managing to avoid buying a hat, t-shirt, or poncho…), and had dinner, including our final Cusquena beer.

Last-minute search before getting on the plane -- no liquids in the carry-ons. Then on the plane, where we tried to sleep.

Sadly, no vegetarian food options -- so I just turned off my light and tried to relax.

Arrived in Houston, cleared immigration using weird electronic machines that take the worst photo of you you have ever taken. No, really. A cursory customs check, and then we were through.

Had a surprisingly good breakfast somewhere in the sprawling airport… though there was no booze anywhere available. (Is that a Texas Sunday thing? I mean, it really was just a late Saturday night for us…).

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mmm, breakfast burrito!
Flight to Seattle quick and painless, well, apart from being kicked in the kidneys for a few hours by a shrieking child… then we collected our bags and light railed / Ubered home. Arrived to find mellow kitties and a clean house -- we were HOME!!!

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