Tomorrow is crunch day, with a list of things I MUST get done. Last Rabies Shot, Currency exchange, solving an ongoing Canine/Vet situation. Early to bed, as my flight to Toronto leaves first thing Friday. I have a day to shop, a day to visit family, and then my adventure really begins!
My itinerary as it stands right now. Not written in stone by any means, except for the first 10 days or so.
Jan 19: I am slated to arrive in Lima late in the evening, where I will spend time convincing the customs officer that the picture in my passport resembling an old Russian/Italian woman is in fact the young, vivacious and attractive unit standing in front of him. Then off to pick up my ABSOLUTELY NOT LOST luggage and out into the airport to look for someone carrying a sign with my name on it. I will then be safely transported to a hostel where I can collapse in exhaustion.
Jan 20: After a return trip to the Lima airport I will take a flight to the Andean city of Cusco, once again pick up my ABSOLUTELY NOT LOST luggage, and be transported to the student housing at Amauta Spanish School. I will get settled and then get my first real look around. Might find some food at this point. Will no doubt collapse from exhaustion and my first dose of "soroch", or altitude sickness. Will begin drinking copious amounts of Coco Leaf Tea to try and acclimatize to 11,000 ft above sea level.
Jan 21: Day recommended to take it easy and acclimatize, what with my planned trek over the mountains starting in just a few days. More Coco Leaf Tea, lots of filtered water (don't need the runs while I trek, now do I?). Food might also be a good idea.
Jan 22-24: Hables espaneol? Me neither, so private spanish lessons start! I think my first request will be to be taken to the market so I can learn to buy food, ask to find the bathrooms, figure out the money...
Jan 25-29: The famed Inca Trail and Manchu Picchu. Now I will find out if this out of shape middle aged body will take me where I want to go, and survive the process. I will either have my photo taken at the 13,770 ft. summit of "dead womans pass", or I will be brought down looking rather green on the back of a donkey. Mostly will depend on how my "acclimatization" goes...
Jan 30 & 31: Painful recovery from very long hard trek, and more spanish lessons.
Feb 1-8: Spanish study and cultural time in a town called Taray, in the Sacred Valley. (you know, the one with all the spiders apparently). See what interesting things I can find to eat and do; maybe get to learn a bit about the local weaving techniques.
Feb 9-22: More Spanish in Cusco, with as many field trips as possible.
Feb 22-Mar 1/2: Manu biosphere reserve. What can I tell you, I am looking forward to getting really wet and dirty so that I can see, hear, touch, taste and smell what is called one of the lushest and most diverse areas on the planet. Time will tell if the mosquitoes, bats, ants, snakes, SPIDERS or foot rot do me in and have me babbling in fetal position all the way home...
For the rest of my time I have no fixed plans... just lots of places I want to see.
March 12 should find me back enjoying the tail end of an Ontario winter. The plan is to be back in Courtenay March 19th.