Thursday, October 23, 2008

Karen's Homecoming to Santa Cruz, California, after two months in South America

Hello, California
I am back in Santa Cruz!

The weather here is warm and sunny, a welcome change from the cold, wind and rain in Lima and Cusco the past few weeks.

Farewell, Peru
I left Lima Tuesday night after an emotional farewell to new friends in my Miraflores neighborhood. (Next blog post about those folks!)

There were topnotch fireworks on the way to the airport. I liked to think they were for my send-off from South America. But my taxi driver told me the "fuegos artificiales" (artificial fire) were for the opening of a huge, new Chilean-owned supermarket in downtown Lima. Not Whole Foods!

Next time, Fly First Class!
My miserable overnight American Airlines flight from Lima to Miami provided ample time for me to ponder how I might:
* Develop ears that could switch into noise cancellation headsets
* Pay extra for a night flight where they did not serve dinner and drinks starting at 12:30.
* Construct a shield for my seat so that the woman next to me did not keep jolting me awake with her bony elbow.

Miami Marathon
Upon arrival in Miami at 6 a.m. Wed. morning, I had more urgent considerations - like making my next airplane!

For most of the next 90 minutes, I was running full speed thru Miami airport, still wearing my colorful Peruvian ear-flap hat (not the choice of fashion in Miami) over my slick hair. The shoelaces on my dirty hiking shoes were untied, my pants were slipping down to lowrider level, and my Apple laptop was tucked under one arm since there was no time to stuff it into my filthy, overstuffed backpack. It was not a pretty site!

My sprinting paid off: I was the last one to board that flight! I was so grateful to be on that plane!

Gracias a Damien

A huge thanks to Santa Cruz friend Damien Pierce for picking me up at San Francisco and giving me one of the best Welcome Home Tours ever! (More on that later).

Now What?
It is Thursday morning and I feel a bit dazed and confused at my guest house in downtown Santa Cruz.

I am not going to have my typical South American breakfast - one scrambled egg and a white bread roll with jelly and butter; nor do I need to speak Spanish. But plenty of other things to do - like figure out how to gather my cell phone, car and bike from various points around town.

Instead, sorting thru my luggage and knowing all pieces will fall into place, eventually. I would like to write a travel story about The End of The Trip: The Transition Back Home.