The adventure began. It was 6 a.m. inside the Lima, Peru International airport. Having heard tales about fake taxis, it was a relief to discover a kiosk where you could prepay your taxi for the destination before exiting the airport security area. The government had, to our delight decided to waive the foreign visa fee in order to promote tourism (when you're a traveler on a budget every cent helps). With a warm welcome from our assigned cabby, myself and my travel partner were hurried into the minibus as he stuffed our bags in the back and we shot off. Perhaps it was a bit early to let my guard down but I was exhausted from travel and ready for a nap.
Looking down at my ebony watch I was surprised to see how much time had passed. I realized that Lima wasn’t so different than San Francisco during rush hour! We inched our way through the traffic toward Miraflores district. When I say inched I mean there was a literal inch between the bumpers of the minibuses as they weaved in and out to get ahead. With a mixture of exhaust and urban sents commingling in the outside air much like an Uber ride through downtown San Francisco, I was reminded of home yet far from it.
After a much-needed nap in hostel-esque Airbnb, we met with our friends from Loom Imports to show us around some of the local markets. The kindness of the vendors combined with the diversity of the handmade products ranging from wood carvings to alpaca textiles awakened the inner Inca treehutter inside of me. Woven watch and bracelet bands lay atop what looked like hand made rugs while women adore in Peruvian fashion worked tirelessly away. After a cold Cusqueña (Peru's beer of choice) and a few plates of ceviche later and it was time to rest up for an early morning flight to Cusco!