I'm finally at the airport in Lima, Peru! I already cried on the first flight because of how amazing my trip has been. I couldn't exchange my soles back to dollars so I went on a little shopping spree, where I bought water, a llama pen, gummy bears AND sour gummy worms!! My gate number isn't showing up yet so I'm just going to sleep until closer to my departure time!
I dreaded waking up this morning, because today is the day I leave Cusco :( i woke up, got ready, and packed all of my things into my two overly heavy suitcases. Then I went out to San Pedro Market one last time. I had an avocado and cheese sandwich, an olive and cheese sandwich, and a churro at the local stands inside the market. I also bought a piece of art from a local artist! Because it was such a nice day, I went to relax on the benches by the water fountains in San Francisco Plaza. I watched as the teacher strike took over the plaza. A local man started a conversation with me, asking me what I thought of the riots. We talked for about an hour. The strike has been going on 3 weeks now, meaning that the children have been out of school. The strikes won't stop until teacher wages are increased, but the government seems very unresponsive at the moment. Because the strikes disrupt everything, the economy is quickly dropping in Cusco. Now I wait until my flight to Lima at 6pm! Ciao!
3 July 2017
I missed my train to Cusco last night without realizing but luckily the next train was pretty empty and the director let me get on for no extra charge. I got back to the hostel at 2am and slept very well for once! I woke up to meet Elise and Bethany to get the tattoo I have been planning to get for three weeks now. I was so nervous but it really didn't hurt that bad and it only took 10 minutes. They only charged 100 soles ($30) and I absolutely love it! Afterwards, we had our last lunch together at Peru Juice, where I had a chicken empanada and a strawberry smoothie. We walked to our favorite gift shop, Asunta, and I bought some last minute gifts! Saying goodbye to Bethany and Elise was so hard, and we all teared up a little. Then I spent the rest of the night at the bar. I made some friends and they asked me to play pool and I was ridiculously bad (I even hit the balls off the pool table) so they taught me how to play and I finally know how now!!
2 July 2017
Today I visited one of the 7 wonders of the world: MACHU PICCHU! I made a friend Katherine last night and we woke up at 3:30 to stand in line for a bus up the mountain. We arrived to MP at 6am, where we had a 2 hour guided tour. MP is tucked away in the jungle, many miles from other incan ruins. At first, it was so cloudy from last nights rain that I couldn't see but several feet in front of me. As the day went on, the clouds pushed aside and I got to take in all of the panoramic views. The entire ruin was MUCH bigger and cooler than it looks in the pictures. It felt so surreal that I was standing in the same places where the most important Incans once stood. What was most fascinating to me is that MP was not discovered until 1911 and there are many remaining mysteries and theories! I spent the rest of my afternoon walking around Aguas Calientes looking at statues, shopping, and eating my 4th spaghetti meal of the week. Now I wait until 8pm to catch my train back to Cusco!
1 July 2017
I woke up super early, checked out, and got in a tour bus headed to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We stopped first at the Pisac ruins, afterwards visiting Pisac market. Then we visited Ollantaytambo, which were my favorite ruins by far! My video camera wouldn't work there so i'm sad :( The tour guide was so knowledgable and I learned so much about pre-inka and inka civilizations. He explained the structures as theoretically impossible because no one knows how they could have been made, and apparently even the Incans said they DIDN'T MAKE THEM! This kind of stuff makes my head spin but I love it! Then we got dropped off in the plaza of Ollantaytambo. I had a strawberry smoothie at a rooftop cafe, and then went to dinner at an andean fusion restaurant. I had wonderful taqueños and a spaghetti with aji sauce. In a few hours, I will take the train to Aguas Calientes, the town outside of Machu Picchu! I am more than ready for a restful night of sleep in a quieter hostel.
30 June 2017
All the boys in the room made fun of me for sleeping so much because I didn't wake up until 11am even though I had gone to bed early last night. I got ready, took my clothes to the laundry, and met up with my friend Elise at the crepes restaurant in San Blas. I had the same delicious crepe as last time with andean cheese, mushrooms, leeks, bacon, and tomatoes. Afterwards, we sat in the plaza for an hour and watched the teacher strike commence again. All the locals agree that their wages are extremely low and all schools have been off for a few weeks now. Soon I will need to go to my trip meeting for Machu Picchu because I leave by train at 6:30am tomorrow morning. I need to pack everything for two days and check out of my room again! This also means that I will embarrass myself by trying to carry my two heavy suitcases to the storage room. But until then, I will be laying in my bed again! I cannot believe my time here is coming to an end; I really would never leave if I didn't have to
29 June 2017
I took the overnight bus back to Cusco, and as soon as I arrived at 5am, I already felt better! I didn't have enough coins to get home, so I had to bargain a lot. I checked back into the hostel and slept until 2pm. When I woke up, I felt 100% better, so it must have been the altitude. I took a long hot shower and ate spaghetti with meat sauce for lunch! I went back to sleep again because I was incredibly exhausted. I woke up around 7pm to have dinner with Elise, Bethany, and Emma (from the house family.) All of them are moving out because it has gotten really hostile there. Anyways, we met up specifically to have Cuy (roasted guinea pig) for dinner. We all split one plate because we didn't know if we would like it.. but i loved it! It tasted like dark meat chicken but had a lot of fat on it. You have to eat it off the bone like wings. Afterwards, we met up for drinks. I went home early and just slept. It was a great experience because my new room is all boys and they all snore loudly!
28 June 2017
I woke up sicker than ever with an aching body. No medical care within 4 hours by boat. I ate breakfast at 6am and then hiked down the mountain to depart from the island. Another hour boat ride later, we arrived to the final island. The tour guide told me I could stay on the boat, but I decided to hike the hour to the top of the island. We went to the plaza with markets and restaurants. There was an exhibition of knitting men (the only place in south america where men knit), a photography museum, and a lookout point. The lake was huge so the view was incredible. I could see the Andes mountains and Bolivia. I tried to stay hydrated but kept throwing up and getting dizzy. We finally had lunch at at a restaurant, but all the restaurants serve the same exact dish: quinoa soup, rice, and the local trout. I could barely eat it because I had no appetite at all. We hiked back down and took a 3 hour boat ride back to Puno, where I am now happily awaiting a pizza for dinner. Prayers for me :(
27 June 2017
I arrived in Puno at 5am and took a taxi to the house of the tour operator (weird i know). He let me sleep on his couch until 8am, when I took a taxi to the boat dock. As soon as the boat started moving, I felt nauseous. We stopped at the first floating island (their houses float on the lake, look up pics) and learned about their daily activities. I got back on the boat, immediately threw up, and didn't even get back off the boat to see the next island. We took another 2.5 hour boat ride to the final island (not floating) where we spent the night. I met my host mom, Magda, who was super sweet! She took us to her house, where we had lunch. Instead of going on the hike with everyone else, I stayed in bed until dinner just trembling with sickness. After dinner, I felt slightly better so I went to the fiesta, with live music and dancing! I even got to dress up in traditional clothes! I went back to the house early and cried the whole night because I felt like I missed out on a lot :(
26 June 2017
Today I woke up late and hung out with my new friend Dylan from Canada. We went to a bagel shop for lunch and then to the supermarket. After getting back, I had to check out of my room and carry my heavy luggage to the storage room because I am headed to Puno (Lake Titicaca) for 2 days. I took a nap in a hammock at the bar, had a few drinks (really bad decision), and finally took a taxi to the bus terminal of Cusco. I paid for my ticket and taxes and I have just boarded the bus. It is a very fancy two-story bus, with reclinable chairs that turn into beds!! I have eye shades so I can sleep the whole night away. In about 7 hours, I will arrive in Puno to start my tour of Lake Titicaca. LILY TRAVELING COMPLETELY SOLO BEGINS! This is a completely random side note but today I realized how much I have learned to love myself here. I think this is the first time I have felt that others have genuinely cared for me and I have realized that I deserve to treat myself with the same respect always!
25 June 2017
OKAY my room in the hostel is overlooking the bar and the music runs from 10am to 4am. I learned that Loki is known as the craziest hostel in Cusco, and I definitely see why now. Let's just say I didn't sleep AT ALL last night! I finally woke up at 2pm and took my first long shower since I've been here. I got yelled at by some guys for taking too long lol. I headed out to find some food, and ended up eating an amazing spaghetti with andean cheese and kalamata olives. I also bought another strawberry smoothie! I accidentally stumbled across a huge parade in Plaza San Fransisco, where all of the locals were wearing hand-carved, hand-painted masks while dancing through the streets. It's amazing to me how festive this city is in June! Next I went to the supermarket to buy some toilet paper, water, and coca candy! I am now headed to the all you can eat pizza dinner night, and then I'll probably hang out at the bar for a while since there's no way I can sleep with all of these crazy people!!
24 June 2017
Today was the biggest festival of the year, Inti Raymi, which celebrates the Incan sun god. My friends and I woke up at 5 am to arrive to the Sacsayhauaman ruins by 6am. The normal entrance is $120, but you can get there early and sit on the mountains above for free. While waiting, we ate snacks and slept. Around 11, it got really crowded, but the procession didn't start until 1pm. As soon as the procession started, everyone started chanting and we were confused. As I began to listen, I realized we were in the middle of a strike/riot! Everyone had signs about the university professor strike. All the professors had chants, threw rocks, and pushed the crowd forward. We decided to leave because we couldn't hear or see any of the ceremony (true bummer.) We ate delicious pizza in San Blas and then headed home. As soon as we got home, I packed up all of my things and got in a taxi to leave for Loki Hostel, my home for the remainder of my trip! Now i'm really all on my own! Wish me luck!!!
23 June 2017
Last night my wallet was stolen so I lost all my money, cards and ID. My beautiful mother was able to wire me some money so that I can survive for the next 12 days. I spent all day trying to get the money, my passport name didn't match the website, I went a total of 3 times, and I had to cry inside the bank for them to finally give me my money. ANYWAYS today was the day before Inti Raymi, so there was a huge parade in the plaza, where each district of Cusco was represented by their different organizations. The funniest part was that the people in the parade throw stuff into the crowd - by stuff I mean lots of hard candies, packets of meat and fried food, entire bottles of soda, and even bags of guinea pig! We stayed for a couple of hours and bought some churros! At dinner, the head director of our volunteer program had a talk with us because we got in trouble last night. Of course the host mom made a meal way better than normal to show off.. Then we went out for churro ice cream!
22 June 2017
Woke up, headed out, and got a brand new PIERCING! I was so nervous but it hurt WAY less than my belly button piercing did. The shop looked super scary but everyone was super friendly and they happened to be friends with Mila. I had lunch with my friends at Yola before heading out to my last day of volunteering :( There was a HUGE dog fight at the shelter today because one of the dogs pushed into a room of another pack of dogs and they don't get along well. Mila had to use a shovel to push them apart and they were so bloody. I mostly hung out with the neighbor's dog today. His name is Chatín and he is a spoiled BRAT! It was SO HARD to say goodbye to Mila and all the dogs and all my friends and I cried way too much. I just felt so connected to each and every dog and it was bittersweet to leave them all. Since tonight is the last night of many people in the house, we are going out one last time together. OH AND theres this old lady in our homestay and she hates us so shes moving out!!!!!
21 June 2017
I decided to wander by myself this morning. After eating 2 avocado sandwiches and a watermelon, I found a random art exposition on the 2nd floor of a bank, with modern Cusco art. I met a 75 year old local man there and we talked for so long about life; it was uplifting to talk with him! I kept wandering and out of nowhere I ran into an environmental sciences display put on by a local university about the concerns of mining in Peru. I was able to converse with the students and give them my opinions from what I learned in my water management course this year- it was so cool to see my knowledge in real world context! I wandered into random stores and found an artisan market, where I bought a new bracelet. At the shelter today, we made chicken liver, painted the walls, and gave the dogs attention. Next, I went to a ceramics class at the volunteer office, where I made a vase and a small bowl. Now I'm sitting at the mall eating ice cream with friends! Never happier, never leaving
20 June 2017
Today I headed by myself to the Monument of Pachacuteq, the Inca leader who ordered the construction of almost all the ruins I have been to + Machu Picchu. The statue is 38 ft tall not including the base. I got to walk up spiral stairs to the top of the monument, and there were floors to stop at along the way with info about his leadership. I could see almost all of Cusco from the top. Afterwards, I bought a fresh pineapple and an avocado sandwich for lunch. I met up with Emma and Elise to visit the Coffee Museum, where I had the best caramel frappucino. Emma and I shopped around San Blas again and I also bought a poetry book by Ruben Darío, one of my favorite spanish authors. We passed by the famous incan 12 angled stone (look at the pics for explanation). We saw our first strike, where all the teachers in Cusco were protesting for public school equity and higher wages, so the Plaza was practically shut down. For dinner, we went to Chili's again and I got a dessert at Burger King!
19 June 2017
Today was a day well spent by myself. I got up and headed to Qorikancha (built in 1500s), considered "the richest temple of the New World before European Conquest." There were enormous religious paintings on canvas, real gold art, and the extravagant Cathedral of Santo Domingo. I couldn't take many pictures because it wasn't allowed, but it was a sight I will never forget. I got chills just walking through each room and imagining the saints in the high choir room. I spent at least 2 hours there but could have spent all day! Afterwards, I had alpaca steak for lunch and it was truly the best meal I have EVER eaten in my entire life. At the placement today, we just decorated the walls of the shelter while listening to music, so it was a relaxing day. After working, I got a $10 1 hour massage because my back was killing me. It was better than other massages where I had paid $70! After that, I went souvenir shopping in a small market and bought a sweater, a t-shirt, and some gifts!
18 June 2017
Today I slept in before bussing to town for a warm ham and cheese sandwich. We got into a tour bus and headed an hour away into the mountains, where we loaded up on to ATV/4 wheel bikes (its ok grandpa my head is still screwed on and i wore a helmet). We did a few practice circles around the yard before heading out. I ended up crashing into a ditch about 10 minutes in and it was very scary but luckily I am NOT injured and my only punishment was some scary spanish yelling. We drove all the way to Moray, which is an ancient Incan terracing possibly used for agriculture. Then we headed to the Salt Mines, where we saw over 3800 terraced squares used to extract salt for sale. It is owned by two neighboring villages and they even sell the salt in a gift shop there. I had the best chocolate with quinoa and their salt in it! On the drive back, I was able to attach my camera to my jacket and get some great videos of me driving! I can't wait to show you guys my video compilation when I get home!
17 June 2017
Today we walked throughSan Blas, which is considered the "hippy district" of Cusco. There were so many cute shops and cafes. We ate savory crepes for lunch, and then walked around more souvenir shops than I can count (i got some really good deals!) After arriving back home, I took a 3 hour nap before dinner. Dinner tonight was especially good: chicken tacos with guacamole! After dinner, we headed to the plaza for a HUGE concert of a famous peruvian rock band called Lucho Benzaquen! It was more crowded than anything I have ever seen and there was literally no space to breath because my body was squished between other bodies. My hair literally got pulled out and I fell multiple times. It was a miracle that I didn't lose track of my friends. The concert ended with an amazing fireworks show! Afterwards, Emma, Elise, and I went to a bakery, where I had a pineapple smoothie and a strawberry cupcake! I'm definitely ready for bed, and I hope I can sleep in tomorrow!
16 June 2017
I woke up at 2am last night and threw up EVERYTHING I ate yesterday! I was up all night with nausea and it was not fun at all. I realized that I ate a semi-raw egg yesterday and I'm allergic to eggs so that explains that. I just got out of the bed for the day and it is already 6:30pm. I missed my placement at the shelter today and the massage I was going to get with my friends. Hopefully I can get up for dinner that starts in 30 minutes!! I don't know what I'm going to be doing for the rest of the night, but probably just sleeping:(
15 June 2017
Today was INCREDIBLE. We woke up at 7am to arrive at the plaza for a Catholic Mass, but we only ended up staying for 2 hours because many people got bored (not me, i thought it was really cool to worship in a new way). There were thousands of people singing, bringing offerings, and reciting prayers. I had another delicious Lomo Saltado at a restaurant called Yola with everyone from the house. Then Julie and I ended up hiking to 6 different historical sites: Saqsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puka Pukara, Tambomachay, Cristo Blanco, and Templo de la Luna! Thanks to Grandpa Robinson, I have always loved history, and my history nerd definitely came out today. We walked into Incan caves, climbed ruins, and took SO many pictures. Each site was unique, but my favorite was Saqsayhuaman because of how insanely large the rocks were. My favorite part of the entire day was when a llama spit it my face - 3 TIMES!! I'm exhausted from all the walking but today was definitley a day that I will never forget!!
14 June 2017
I woke up super late today, but walked the hour into town by myself. It was so nice to be on my own for a while and eat lunch by myself in a cafe. After getting into town, it was already time to take the bus to the shelter, but I was on the bus for an ENTIRE hour because the streets were insanely crowded with traffic and parades for the holiday tomorrow, which is called Corpus Christi. The bus even broke down halfway there and the wheels started rolling backwards. (FUN!) When we arrived to the shelter, we took almost all of the dogs out on a hike in the forest behind Mila's house. I fell multiple times, but the view at the top was totally worth it and I got beautiful pictures. Tonight, one of the girls in our house is having a fundraiser at a club for the orphanage she works at, so we will be leaving shortly for that! Because Corpus Christi is tomorrow, everything is shut down (even our placements), so I can't wait to spend all day tomorrow celebrating such a huge tradition!
13 June 2017
Slyvia and I walked an hour to get to the Choco Museo, where I learned about the history and production of chocolate in Peru, with LOTS of free chocolate samples and the best hot chocolate I have had in my LIFE. Afterwards, we bought the best street sandwiches (avocado, tomato, onion, salt, and salsa) and then sat in the Plaza de Armas to watch the daily dance festival. It was the perfect sunny day to relax on the benches. I have been more at peace with myself in these past several weeks than I ever have in my entire life, and I think I really am learning to love myself and how unique I am by giving myself this break that I deserve. At the shelter, we painted a mural of a dog for Mila on one of the walls. We just traced the outline today and we will add colors tomorrow. We listened to music and painted for the whole shift, and it was so relaxing! Tonight, I convinced all my friends to come out to dinner at Chili's in the mall, so I am very excited to eat my favorite "American" cuisine!
12 June 2017
In the morning, I took my clothes to the Lavandería to wash my dirty clothes from the weekend. Then we walked for an hour from our house into town and stopped at small markets until reaching San Pedro Market, where i bought even more souvenirs for you guys! They also have fresh food in the market, so I got a cheese & avocado sandwich (BEST EVER) and a fruit smoothie for only $3! At the dog shelter, we sanded and painted a room, then cooked liver for their lunch. Mila owns a ceramic factory, so she also let us make some pottery pieces today. After work, Cassidy and I took the bus to get some churros (30 cents!) and then we watched the nightly dance festival in Plaza de Armas! It was incredible to watch traditional dances and mainly locals were there to watch. The streets are starting to get much more crowded because the biggest festival of the year (Inti Raymi) is only two weeks away. That means daily parades, pop-up markets, balloons, and traditional dancing every single day in June!
11 June 2017
I woke up this morning tired and sore, so I stayed in bed until 2pm. I went to a small cafe with Emma, Hendrick, and Bethany, where I had a grilled cheese for lunch. Then we walked to RealPlaza (the mall) for ice cream, which was THE BEST ice cream I have had in my life. The mall was really nice and even had a supermarket inside. As soon as we got back from the mall, I fell asleep again until dinner. Several people left our house, but 10 people moved in today, so the house now has 23 people and our host mom is super stressed out!! I am now working on budgeting my money for the rest of my trip and planning my daily sightseeing stops. I think I'll get to bed early tonight, because my body is STILL recovering from the brutal hike! I love and miss you all!
10 June 2017
I spent all night worrying about hiking Rainbow Mountain, especially with my asthma scare 2 days ago. We were picked up at 3:30am and took some very bumpy dirt roads (sleep wasn't an option). At one point, the road became muddy and the van slid backwards. We had to push it, turn it around, and take a detour. We stopped for breakfast in a small hut and then drove another hour to arrive at the gates. It was a 9 mile, 3 hour hike at 16000 feet to reach the top of Rainbow Mountain...YOU GUYS WILL BE SO PROUD TO KNOW THAT I DID IT! Out of 10 people in our group, only 4 got up to the top without renting a horse to ride, INCLUDING ME. It was the most strenuous thing I have ever done but i am SO PROUD of myself because I never would have thought I could accomplish something like this. Upon reaching the very top, I couldn't help crying because of how proud I was of myself, but also because of how surreal it was to see God's creation in purest form. After a 2 hour hike back down, I MADE IT
9 June 2017
Sylvia and Bethany came to a cooking class with me today and we learned how to cook Aji de Gallina, which is chicken with lots of aji pepper spices and it is only found in Peru. We got to eat it for lunch and it was FREE! I headed to the dog shelter and we made recycled pillows out of donated clothing so that the dogs can be warmer in the night. After, I went to the market and bargained for some souvenirs!! Now i've got to get to sleep because the bus is picking us up at 3am to go to rainbow mountain and I think i'm going to die because even advanced hikers say its super hard!!!
I woke up at 7am with an asthma attack, so i had to wake up the host mom again and she got really mad at me and started yelling at me in spanish. A doctor came to the house and said i gad strep throat and a 102 fever. As soon as I took the medicines he gave me, I felt so much better! I skipped my placement and slept in until dinner at 7pm. Then we went out to Mama Africa, another club, and I got to try a drink called "Adios MF" and I also did a shot ski!!! I aso danced on top of the bar! Don't question why i went out when i was sick, i still don't know
7 June 2017
I woke up very early to head to Museo de Historia Regional with Sylvia and Julie. We had a guided tour in spanish about peruvian and incan history. I learned a lot about Garcilaso de la Vega, who was an author i had to read for my spanish literature class this past semester. Then we headed to Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, where we saw some really weird art..(look at the pics). fun fact: peru has over 3000 varieties of potato. At my placement, we constructed a new room for the dogs FROM SCRATCH using scraps from around Mila's house. The dogs need the room to stay warm at night. I took more pics with the pups and I'm finally getting to memorize all of their names. After dinner with the family, we went out to a sports bar and then to the Wild Rover club again. Fun fact: alcohol affects you TWICE as much in this altitude. We got in a lot of trouble with our host mom because we forgot our keys and had to ring the doorbell and wake her up at 3am.
6 June 2017
After a wild night at the club (Wild Rover) yesterday, I finally woke up to have lunch with Sylvia in Plaza de Armas. I had a chicken sandwich. At my placement, we constructed a kitchen with a roof for the dogs from SCRATCH. You would be impressed with my building skills! We cooked up some chicken liver (yum), smashed it with our hands (yum) and mixed it with dog food to feed the dogs! Then i took lots of pics with the dogs. If you notice in the pictures, i get to wear scrubs everyday! After, I took the bus to salsa dancing lessons, where I got to meet locals and talk lots of spanish. They all say im a pro spanish speaker! Afterwards we all went to eat at Yola for dinner, where i had a huge plate of beef and fries. And guess what? I finally figured out the bus routes today and I didn't get lost!!! It feels crazy to be out here being independent and stuff but I guess this is how travelling works. After dinner at the home, we played lots of card games and I went to bed pretty early.
5 June 2017
After waking up, i felt much better than last night, although I still drank some coca tea which is known to help. I showered for the first time and went out to lunch at Plaza de Armas with 3 girls from the house. I had Lomo Saltado, a traditional and delicious plate! We walked around the Plaza and went to some local markets for fun. Afterwards, I met my field manager at Máximo Nivel so that she could take me to my volunteer placement for the first time. After a 20 min. bus ride, I was greeted by Milagros (Mila), who takes care of 25 dogs in her backyard, all of whom were very sweet. My first job was to just sit and give the dogs some love, and then we went out on the street to feed some sick street dogs. After volunteering, I took the bus back to the center of town so that I could buy a sweater since it is between 50 and 60 here. I ended up finding a white and grey alpaca sweater for $15! I spent two hours full of tears trying to find my homestay, but that's a story for another day...
4 June 2017
From the airport, we took the taxi to Máximo Nivel (the volunteer program), where we received an orientation and brief walking tour of the city. After, we ate lunch at a small bakery called La Valeriana, where I ate an empanada and a strawberry smoothie. I could already feel the altitude sickness kicking in, with lots of nausea and dizziness. Then, we were transported to our host family houses. I was greeted by Rocio and Wilder, who showed me around their house that holds up to 25 volunteers year round. I am staying in a room of bunkbeds with 4 girls and it is pretty spacious. At 7pm each night, we have dinner. Tonight we had rice, squash, and potato soup. It was fun to start meeting the others in the house and practice my Spanish with them. After dinner, I learned that the city of Cusco turns off the water in random houses at random times to conserve water, so I sadly did not get to shower or brush my teeth that night. I woke up in the middle of the night with very bad nausea again
3 June 2017
After lunch with the family at Brixx in North Carolina, we headed to RDU for my flight at 5pm. Of course, my luggage was 8 pounds over so I had to split my belongings into two bags. I flew into Houston at 9pm, and spent a 4 hour layover reading the a travel guide for Peru!! From Houston, I traveled to Bogotá, Colombia, where I had a really gross (but free) microwaved pasta dinner on the plane. At 4am, I arrived to the Bogotá airport, and slept on a recliner chair until my next flight. At 7am, I boarded my flight from Colombia to Peru, which included a traditional Latin American breakfast with greatc fruit! After landing in Cusco at 11am, I got my luggage. Because I was so tired, it was hard for me to understand the man speaking fast spanish in customs, so he tested my skills by asking what color his eyes were. Anyways, I stepped outside to meet the taxi driver with a yellow smiley face flag, where I met some other volunteers in my program!