Monday, June 19, 2006

Peruvian Goals... now with update!

Goals for the voyage:

1) Ride an alpaca
I was remarkably unsuccessful at this. Alpacas are not elongated, friendly sheep that you can just ride around on. They are, however, delicious. Much like veal without that guilty feeling.

2) Go anaconda hunting
You'd think the Peruvian Amazon would be extremely accessible. Unfortunately, the nearest spot was a 2 1/2 day ride in the back of a truck, making about 3 stops a day, and I just couldn't make it work.

3) Sandboard like a champion
I fell face-first like a champion.

4) Return with Incan artifacts suitable for use in 6th and 7th grade social studies classrooms
Not so much. I did learn that "Inca" referred only to the individual ruler, as in Qushfasfj was the 3rd Inca; while the common people were known as Quetcha.

5) Avoid kidnap for ransom, re: bad luck influence of POY
Duly avoided.

6) Cavort with local women
See, this isn't as it easy as it sounds, given the Wall that exists between locals and tourists, as well as my lack of fluency in the universal language of dance. There was, however, one captivating woman from Arequipa who I invited to California no fewer than six times, using at least six different pretexts. We'll see how that one turns out.

7) Free that fluent Spanish speaker that has been imprisoned within me all this time, desperately waiting for a moment of true immersion to burst into triumphant living flame like the phoenix of legend
More like a disease-carrying pigeon.

8) Write at least two bad short stories that will be irrevocably destroyed upon Stateside return
No, but there was much self-indulgent journaling, which I am resisting turning into a blog in its own right.

9) Avoid death, injury, or ego-destroying mishap during the 4-day clamber up Manchu Picchu
YAR! Let me just say, altitude sickness sounds like one of those fake illnesses that no one really gets, (like pink-eye and swimmer's-ear) but it is no joke. Climbing to 4,500 meters doesn't sound like a big deal either, until you realize that 4,500 meters is actually 15,000 feet and man, that's really high. Also, July in the Southern Hemisphere is winter, not summer, which means it's colder than you expected. Crazy.

10) Cocoa tea. Awww yeah. Get some.
Seriously, Mr. Customs Official, this is a plant reknowned for its nutritional value. It is in no way a drug. I know it looks suspicious, but really, it's fine. No, those marks on my arms are mosquito
bites. Yes, Peru has huge jungle mosquitoes. No, my eyes are red because I've been on planes for a day and a half, and really, those leaves are for making tea, not getting stoned. Really...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"4) Return with Incan artifacts suitable for use in 6th and 7th grade social studies classrooms (there's the requisite teaching tie-in that makes this somewhat germane to this-here blog...)"

Also may make it semi-tax-deductible if your tax person is shrewd and/or corrupt. If you haven't thought of that already.

8:52 PM  
Blogger TMAO said...

I think the real move here is to parlay possession of said artifacts and documented teaching experience into the role of high-priced consultant.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Really? You are not into the universal language of dance? Even with all that fabulous special tea?


8:59 PM  
Anonymous jeanne mccann said...

Just wanted to let you know that we excerpted you for Teacher Magazine's Blogboard today!
Good stuff.

8:49 AM  
Blogger TMAO said...


Man, you throw the whole plant into a cup of boiling water and it won't bridge my dance-based achievement gap. The ability to dance is fast becoming modern man's most critical evolutionary adaptation. Those of us who can't, won't, or recoil from the social locales where such occurs are like short-necked giraffes, or those white moths in industrial 19th century England. We're the finches with the nut cracking beaks living on the island where we need fruit eating beaks. We're mastadons post-Ice Age.

We're the male nipples of history.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Lsquared said...

I hope there's nothing in that tea to make you paranoid, 'cause that sure would make sense of a lot of the Inca history I've read... Wow were those Incas (the head honcho Incas that is) scary people.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly enjoyable. I'm a teacher in SJ too. (near Milpitas border)

11:57 AM  

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