Before dawn on August 18th, twelve new Boothies and our four fearless second-year leaders gathered in the O’Hare airport, bleary-eyed and ready for an adventure in Peru. We expected tough hikes, beautiful ancient ruins, and… unpleasant… bathroom situations. But none of us could have guessed just how crazy things would get.
Our first unexpected adventure occurred in Miami, where we had over six hours of flight delays. After the first delay, our intrepid team deplaned and traversed the Miami airport, in search of free booze and Cuban food. After enjoying some fine aged rum, empanadas, and bistec de palomilla, we got the news: another delay. We didn’t mind another excuse to head to the bar (who knows if Peru would have craft beer?), but the mood was sinking. The free pisco sours waiting for us at the hotel were starting to look unlikely.
We finally arrived in Lima with barely enough time to sleep, much less enjoy frothy beverages. A few hours later, we were off to Cusco, where we got our first real taste of the Andes: coca tea.
Fired up and ready to go, the group set out on the Inca trail, hiking up steep mountains and into verdant valleys, loving every minute of it (except for those spent in the squatty-potty). The group’s guide, Darwin – yes, named after the scientist – kept us entertained with random jokes such as, “what kind of bees produce milk” (boo-bees) and the real meaning of the song Gasolina (not suitable for publication). Just before our third night on the trail, we rounded the bend and were met with spectacular views and colossal ruins – just a flavor of what was to come the next morning.
The next day, we woke at 4 am after a long night of Monopoly Deal, but the pain of early hour was worth it as we watched the sunlight hit Machu Picchu. After a tour of the ruins, we were exhausted and ready to rejoin the modern world of Wi-Fi and real toilets.
The last couple of days were a whirlwind, from getting kicked out of a bar for playing Mafia too enthusiastically, to sampling a selection of piscos and fine local cervezas. The team then unwound with massages and one final night of dancing in Cuzco.
In our last hours in South America, we reflected on our trip and we knew it was all worth it just to be able to say, in the words of Cam Combs, that our trip to Peru gave us “thick thighs and fast friends.”
A big thanks to our group leaders – Emma Boston, Maura Welch, Scott Munro and Sean Breen – you guys are awesome! Thanks for making our journey to Peru so memorable.