Honeymoon Part 1: The Good Years

Hi, so, I'm back from a 3 week honeymoon! I'm going to break this into 3 posts, but some mighty fun unpredictable stuff happened during this so-called honeymoon so hopefully it won't bore too much.

I'm slowly dipping back into running this week after 3 weeks off (and sad story: so far there is no doubt my left leg did not cure itself of it's chronic issues).  so this recap is running free.  And VERY photo heavy.

We left November 2 for Lima, Peru.  After watching the two worst movies of the year on a red-eye flight (JT's "friends with benefits" and Vince Vaughn's "the intern") and not sleeping at all, we met our personal escorts--family members of my long-time friend Daniel.  These strangers swooped us up and made us feel right at home in Lima.

Our host served us this delicious fruit (inside the leaves) that I cannot remember the name of....

Two of the lovelies showing us around Kennedy Park in the Miraflores district

I have an adorable story.  There was a bit of a language barrier because me and the Gentleman speak only pathetic high-school level 1 Spanish, and the two pictured above did not speak any English. Their daughters did speak some English, however, and I had emailed one of the daughters about being picked up from the airport.  When her mom picked me up from the airport, she wrote down on a sign what she believed to be my name, based on the signature line of the email I had sent to her daughter.  The sign? 


I stared at the sign for a solid minute, trying to determine if that was me or not.  It was. (That's my first name if you haven't stalked any of my race results yet and figured it out). 

One thing I noticed immediately that surprised me about Lima -- the air quality.  Not so good.  It was hard to tell whether it was cloudy or smoggy, probably a mix of both.  With something between 8 and 12 million residents in the area with smog-check-less cars, it's no wonder.  I hope the City conquers that problem. 

Cloudy or smoggy? Either way, lovely coastal view
I spied a lot of runners along the beach paths -- virtually the only place I saw any runners.  And this may be in my head but...I swear that everyone ran differently.  Their stride was shorter or something.  A different cadence.  Tighter shoulders.  It was something.

We walked to the Barranco district, which I loved, and some teens made us participate in a filmed interview about what we liked about Lima in our terrible spanish.  

No shortage of rainbow buses
Downtown Lima had fascinating architecture and historical buildings.  We scoped all the highlights, including the San Francisco catacombs.  I just about lost my lunch looking at all the skeletons... creeeepy.

Other notes about Lima:

  • Banks were flooded with lines.  We noticed this in other cities too (Iquitos, Puno).  What is this? I haven't been inside a bank in like 8 months.
  • Chicken.  So much chicken.  Lot's of chicken restaurants.
  • Seemingly nobody drank water with meals -- only jugo fresca.  There was a lot of pride in serving fresh juice.  And it was delicious! 
  • Pedestrians do not have the right of way -- and they are very timid about taking their turn to cross the street!  The drivers, on the other hand....very aggressive.
  • We heard a lot of Beatles music.  No complaint there.
  • Throughout Peru, the policy is that you throw your toilet paper in a trash bin, not in the toilet.  This took a lot of getting used to and was one of my favorite things to leave behind when we got back post.

ONTO.  The amazon rainforest!!

After Lima we flew straight to Iquitos.

A beautiful inlet from the Amazon river
I don't know how else to say this but Iquitos was....rough.  Smelly, loud, dirty.  The people were very pleasant but for the life of us we couldn't figure out where they went to eat food.  There were a few touristy restaurants (pizza) and ice cream joints (flavored sugar did not pass) but I never really found the local cuisine.

A gazillion motorcycles
The city of 500,000 all rides around in these noisy smelly motorcycles.  It was exhausting being outside for more than 20 minutes because of the sound and smell of exhaust.

A village of floating homes in Iquitos (they rise with the water, which floods 1/2 the year)

A never-ending labyrinth of vendors.
We stumbled upon a secret hippie haven in Iquitos.  There was a handful of white hippies who settled here for whatever reason (drugs? I honestly don't know) which meant we found a restaurant I wanted to eat at.  It was like finding a pocket of the Bay Area on the other side of the Equator. 
Hippie Cafe

Hippies selling crafts
My heart died a little bit in Iquitos because of all the abandoned, sick dogs.  We were told that people like puppies, then don't feel so fondly of the grown dogs and abandon them.  They limp around (sweetly, not aggressive) looking for food, with tumors and scabs all over.  Sad. :(

We got outta Iquitos and took a boat down the Amazon until we landed at the secluded lodge we would be staying at for 3 days.


It was a real life Disney jungle cruise

The Sanchicuy Lodge
It was crazy.  This lodge has something like 30 rooms to fit up to 60+ people during a busy season...but we were the only guests one night, and one of only two couples another night.  It was incredibly spooky the night we were alone.  The full tale is too embarrassing to share, but it included us lying awake all night strategizing our plan to smash an imaginary intruder in the face with our lantern when he tried to attack.  The sounds of the jungle make you hallucinate I think.

We hiked our merry way to meet some folks from the Yagua tribe who wore traditional garb to show off and make things.....generally awkward.  We felt like total tools for intruding on their culture while they did a song and dance for us (mostly figuratively).

These marks mean "married," or possibly "death to the whities"

but this weapon was mad fun

Bullseye, kinda sorta

On a boat.  Again.

Totally LOVED the food--lots of fish and plantains--the Gentleman started hating plantains after the 10th meal but I loved them forever.
Another fun excursion was visiting a local village, Santa Maria.  Population 150, no electricity.  They (well at least the men) play soccer til dark then go to sleep.  We got to squeeze some sugar water out of a sugar cane...branch? terminology? 

That's the primary and secondary schools I do believe

Even my iphone camera found this village lovely
Another day, another stunning ride down the Amazon to another village.  We saw pink dolphins.  They exist--fresh water pink dolphins! Amazing.  So much stuff I'm leaving out....and so many don't even know....I'm trying to keep it short

The kids rule the villages -- they just run around and play to their heart's content

Pendulum-like bird nests


This was a nerve-wracking but unforgettable hike in the "primary" forest.  Termites, monkeys, snakes, and enormous trees that spit out cotton.

Oh yeah then we went piranha fishing.  

We caught some piranhas and ate them for dinner.  They are hideous with their sharp teeth.  Also, by "we" I mean I "caught" 4 and they all fell off my little hook, so the Gentleman and our guide did all of the catching.  I was legit angry about that.  I'll catch a piranha one day.

Piranha: 1, Me: 0, actually you're a piranha and I'm a human so i win

Our final day in the Amazon, I went to a wildlife reserve with our guide all by my lonesome.  The Gentleman had fallen really ill the night before (his fever, by the way, strongly contributed to our paranoia and murder attack plan that night).  He stayed in our lodge while I went out to the most amazing interactive zoo the world has ever known.

Toucan.  Enter froot loops joke...?

I got attacked by friendly animals.


Best friends? Okay deal
Sloths are surprisingly....soft, and extremely light.  Very hollow feeling.  Serious "Moe" haircut from 3 stooges.  And not surprisingly, very slow and stoned.

Mama sloth below.

True story - these monkeys smelled gum and a See's lollipop in my jacket pocket (which I brought to the reserve because 3 meals/a day is hard for me! I'm used to snacking every hour, so I would feel starved halfway between meals and the lollipops from the airport were all I had to tide me over.)  And so the monkeys attacked me.  And stole the lollipop.  Which involved unzipping my jacket pocket.  

Monkey, you, are a psycho

Last, but not least, an Anaconda.  


And then it ate me and I died.  
So sad the Gentleman had to miss this day :(  But he got to live while I died like J-Lo in Anaconda the movie (or does she die in it?)

Next post will be shorter, less pictures, and generally pathetic.  

Who else has had a magical Peru vacation? 
If you have honeymooned, where did you go? How long? Please share your honeymoon disaster stories.  Because mine is headed in that direction and I need company.