Peruvian Goals... now with update!
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
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...