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In the Rainforest Without a Raincoat

89 Days a Wanderer: The Bonus Round

November 15, 2018

Before our flight from Cusco to Iquitos (with a connection in Lima), we got to sleep in until six AM. I was so sleep-deprived at this point that it felt like a luxury. We had breakfast in the hostel with the other early risers, most of whom had just arrived in Cusco, and then hailed a cab to the airport.

Checking a bag was a nightmare. From Cusco to Lima they said my carry-on was too big, and then too heavy, and had to be a second checked bag. Mom and I were tearing our suitcases open and jumbling things around on the floor, trying to get everything to meet their requirements. Then, Mom couldn’t find her yellow fever card (which we ended up not needing because no one asked if we’d gotten the vaccination). So we jumbled things around again on the other side of security, but we couldn’t find it. It eventually turned up in my suitcase, under a bag of uncooked pasta, but Mom was freaking out about it. The gate written on our tickets was actually going to Arequipa, so I went to talk to the attendants there. They didn’t want anything to do with me because it was a different airline and sent me across the way to talk to a different gate, this one run by Latam people. They were my airline, but didn’t want anything to do with me because it was the wrong gate. I ended up just staring at the monitors until our flight was announced, with a gate change, and Mom and I hurried downstairs.

Lima to Iquitos was only a little less of a mess. We had to go to baggage claim and exit then reenter the airport in Lima, before checking my larger suitcase. After security, this lady came around with a cardboard box, fitting it over everyone’s carry-ons. She was about to tell me that my second suitcase was too large because the box didn’t slide over it easily, so I stood up, put my hand next to hers, and shoved. “There you go,” I told her. “Now it fits.” Everyone near us was laughing hysterically.

I tossed my raincoat in the overhead bin so I didn’t have to sit on it and jammed my backpack under the seat in front of me. By the end of the flight, the raincoat was gone. I searched everywhere. Mom did, too. We enlisted two flight attendants and then security, but no one could find it because someone had walked off with it. Can you believe it? Someone stole my rain jacket!

Welcome, my friends, to the rainforest.

At least the hostel was nice, and even though I lost my chakana bracelet there, the private room was comfortable and we had both hot water (although it was now unnecessary) and AC. Unlike Cusco, Iquitos is hot! We had dinner in a local restaurant overlooking the Amazon River, and sunset was weirdly early. We were both asleep far before our 9:00 o’clock pick-up warranted.

  

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