I’m on my way to Peru! I left my apartment this morning around 8:45 and by the time I made it to the airport my gnawing stress had reduced by about 75%. I guess I’ve controlled everything I could have controlled. Now I’ve just got to get out there and get my work done!
On that note: whose idea was it to give me this responsibility!! When did I become an “expert” in a “new and esoteric field”? How did that happen without me realizing it?
Just a heads up: I feel like a lot of “holy crap this is actually my life” moments will be coming in the next 30 days. Ok, moving on.
Travel tip! I’ve developed a habit of using the 30-45 minutes that I have in my origin city, waiting for my first flight, to deal with cell-phone related issues. Something which has become quite ideal, at least now that it’s a habit as forgetting could be quite costly. This trip, I managed to set up my standard “I will not be answering my phone, so call my dad if it’s an emergency” voice mail and call AT&T to make sure I properly activated the 200MB/month international data plan for my phone. Email and Google Maps (a GIS with a GPS function, dad! Sorry… inside joke) are going to be very crucial for the work part of my trip. Granted it’ll be great for the play part too, but I’m not focusing on that. I’d hate to have screwed up activating that plan and have to pay the infamous $14,000 phone bills. Ick. So I’ll have email, twitter, wordpress, Facebook and the lot for the month. Just no texting and no phone time. Sorry, I’m not paying $10 per month on top of paying $2.30/minute. I’ll rent a phone in Lima. (Cell phones are heavily controlled in Peru. You need to be a resident and have a carnet [registered residency card, akin to a US drivers license, but needed for pretty much anything non-touristy in Peru like getting a cell phone]. So I’ll just get a rental)
Hmm ok… On to airport antics.
At IAH (Houston International Airport) I was slightly thrown from my routine of getting to Lima. This will sound, well, insane to some of you, but the daily 3:50pm Continental flight from IAH to Lima has been out of gate E3 for at least the past 3 years, and I think for the past 5 or so (my dad can confirm that). I haven’t flown to Lima since the Continental-United merger, and I am currently on a United-branded Boeing 767-300, with a (nice but) weird Economy-Plus cabin, weird power outlets, and all sorts of United-y things that left from gate C16! The fact that this is weirding me out is testament enough to the facts that (a) I travel a lot and (b) I’m seriously not normal. It’s not making me actually “weird out” it was just I was expecting one thing and am completely thrown by the change. It’s a peculiar way to start the trip and it makes me giggle.
So I had 3+ hours to muck about at the Houston airport. First order of business: find gate C16. Second order of business, find a little tech store to get a converter plug for my computer. Peru uses the same shape plugs as the US, but they’re 220V and 110V respectively. Most of my electronics work on both, but I was worried I wouldn’t find a grounded plug (the 3 pronged plug on most computers) in Puerto Maldonado, so I grabbed one just in case.
Other airport events? I saw the Houston Dynamo soccer team. One of the more adorable of them “hi ma’am”-ed me and flashed me a smile. I took that to be a good omen (especially since I’m in ‘eco-girl’ mode, which means no make-up whatsoever, barely brushed hair, and crappy jungle pants). Adorable professional athletes smiling at you when you’re at your worst is always a good sign.
I also saw this guy when eating my Subway sandwich.
And had a dude look at me like I was crazy when I pulled out my book, “May The Best Team Win: Public Policy and Economics of Baseball”.
Oh and I got a free First Class upgrade for my flight to Lima! This is my THIRD free upgrade on this exact flight (the 3:50 Continental from IAH-Lima) out of four trips. So I’m sitting here sipping champagne in First Class. I am unsure how I keep lucking out like this. I think it’s safe to say that I’m winning at life.
So a little bit ago, the in-flight movie (Country Strong, which I give a B- score) ended and now I’m just drinking a gin and tonic, enjoying some music, and blogging this on my iPhone.
My view out my window, seen serendipitously with “Good Life” by One Republic playing as my soundtrack, is simply, yet epically, perfect. Above the soft swirling clouds below me, off on the horizon, I can see the remnants of the red-orange sun setting behind the plane’s wing. The perfect blending of this crisp red through to the deepest blue, dotted with stars, is something I’ll never get tired of. If I could bottle this and send it to all of you, I wouldn’t hesitate.
I sat for a good 30 minutes watching the rainbow of the sunset slowly diminish into nothing, and so I think it’s time for me to rest a little. I’ll be landing in Lima in just under 3 hours and the assaulting labyrinth of immigration, baggage claim, customs, cell phone rental, and finding Humberto in the madness at the arrivals gate is something I need to be rested up for.
I’ll post this the second I touch down in Lima and will try to post again at least every other night this trip.
While you wait for my next post, go listen to “Good Life”. It’s pretty much my life at this moment. And that makes me happy.
Wishing you all well.