Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Peru Diaries: I didn't want to get on that plane

My Mt. Airy garden on April 8

It was really hard to leave my garden. Our trip to Peru was originally planned for mid March before all the action happened in the garden. But mudslides and avalanches got in the way; Machu Picchu was closed and the trip rescheduled.

We had a choice of dates to reschedule and I thought mid April would be safe. The real glory time is the last week of April when the Carlesii viburnum and the lilacs are out.

Well, we had an amazing early April with temperatures in the mid 80’s and an astonishing eruption of bulbs and flowering shrubs several weeks ahead of schedule. I was not a happy camper when we got on the plane to Lima. The trip I had been looking forward to was now getting in the way of smelling the lilacs.

My ever sane husband convinced me that I can’t let missing the bloom period of a favorite plant get in the way of enjoying a trip I had always wanted to take.

In 1972 I spent a summer in Ecuador and Chile. When we flew over Peru, I thought that we should stop to see Macchu Pichu, but decided we’ll get that together next year. It didn’t happen and now 38 years later I finally went to Machu Picchu.

And for the first time in our lives, my husband and I traveled in a group. It just seemed too hard to make all those arrangements on our own, and as retirees, the economies of scale in group travel were a further plus. We’d never deal with the lack of freedom that group travel entails if were going to Europe, but for Machu Picchu we thought that perhaps a group made sense.

There are advantages and maybe for some it works—-but not for us.

To be continued.


  1. I'm really looking forward to hearing more about your Peru journey. A few years ago I travelled to Machu Pichu, also with a group. I, too, basically don't like group travel at all, but like you found it far too difficult to figure out a plan for seeing both Machu Pichu and the Galapagos and so a group it was. One of the benefits was that we made friends on that journey that we still get together with and that we'd have never met if we were travelling on our own. A little tip about Machu Pichu. I walked a little bit on the Inca trail out from there and must have brushed up against something. Before I knew it I was unbelievably itchy, red spots all over my arms (I think I lost count after 50). Much to my horror I found out that it wasn't bites; it was little yucky things that bore under the skin and lay eggs. Okay, if you're done throwing up I will now give you the best travel tip I have. Take clear nail polish with you. Should anything like that get under your skin you just put a drop of nail polish on each "bite" and it will suffocate whatever is underneath and a few days later the nail polish will fall off along with the dead bug. I didn't have clear nail polish and borrowed a fellow traveller's red polish which meant I was a pretty funny looking tourist for a few days. Now I never ever travel anywhere exotic without clear nail polish.

    Have a great time!!!

  2. Thanks for tip about clear nail polish!

  3. Ashleigh BurroughsMay 7, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    I thought I was the only person who made travel plans around the blooming of bulbs and bushes! It's nice to know that I'm not alone ;)

  4. It is a dilemma. The best times for travel are the best times for gardening!

  5. Lovely, lovely garden! I wouldn't want to leave it, either. Looking forward to "to be continued..." Suspense!

  6. My first visit to your blog - I was sent by a friend. I can't wait to hear about your trip - both the specifics and intricacies of Machu Pichu as well as thoughts on group travel. I have a friend who enjoys group travel with girlfriends - but not so much with her spouse.

    My daughter spent 6 months in Chile several years ago doing a semester abroad and fell in love with all things South American. She broadened her major from Int'l Studies to the same with a Latin American and Caribbean concentration.

    Your garden is gorgeous. I totally get not wanting to leave when things are starting to sprout and bloom!

  7. Thanks, Leslie.
    Like your daughter "I’m in love with all things South American"—especially Chile.

    Unfortunately, my return trip to Chile in 2006 was a major disappointment. See http://www.the-next-stage.com/2009/08/be-careful-what-places-you-revisit.html

    I would be very interested in your daughters’ response to this.