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Tying & Tidying

An interesting thing about travel is the way it changes you before you go. Normally mundane events, like lunchtime, a commute, or a phone call, take on more meaning as they are occurring before, and hopefully in contrast to, the GREAT BIG UNKNOWN that is waiting for a traveler.

Even after preparing as thoroughly as an engineer can (which is no trivial thing, believe me), and even after recalling some of my previous travel to Africa, Asia, and Central America, I cannot do anything other than imagine a fictional Peru filled with people, landscapes, and ways of living that I have filled my mind with based on the reports of others (drawing heavily from wikipedia and google also, of course).

How is it that people actually adapted to farming and surviving at 12, 14, even up to 18,000 feet? How did the Inca put the great stones of Macchu Picchu in place? How does a population of 7-9 million, that of the Bay Area, fit inside Lima, within 1/7th of the land area? If I can fly round trip from the USA West Coast to Lima (5,000+ miles each way) for ~$700, why do similar-length flights to Munich or Tokyo cost double or more? What should a lifelong vegetarian eat in Peru? How will my family and I do with a significant distance between us? Will my 3-year-old son miss me, or will Youtube hits like “The Most Extreme Trucks In The World” keep him preoccupied? Will my 1-year-old son remember me after a 10-day absence? When I get home, will my wife immediately depart for a 10-day absence? Will it be to a Munich or Tokyo (see above)?

Excitement awaits, that’s for sure, and I’m hoping, confident even, that the reality of Peru will be a good replacement for the fiction of Peru.

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