The trip down was about as smooth as one would hope for, with both my flight to Miami then the one into Lima being without any great drama. Had all sorts of intentions to “work on the plane” (scare quotes intended), in particular during the five-plus hour trip from Miami International Airport to the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima. But I found myself ground down by some leftover fatigue and ended up just zoning out on the plane listening to music and some rips of old comedy LPs I’d picked up before leaving.
We were about a half-hour late landing in Lima, and with a few other big flights also arriving that meant an especially long wait in line at immigration (probably close to an hour). Was a little anxious during that wait only because I had a ride waiting to meet me once I was able to work my way through that line, then also through the quicker customs gateway to reach ground transportation. There was outside chance my ride might not wait for me should I be overly late meeting him.
As I finally pushed through the doors to the spacious lobby with windows facing the Lima night sky, I searched a throng of drivers holding up signs until I happily spotted my own name printed on one of the white boards. I acknowledged my savior with a pumped fist which he returned in kind -- an international symbol for “our wait is over” -- and a little while later I was being driven south toward Miraflores.
I recalled earlier trips down the same road as we went, especially once we reached the coast with the tall cliffs on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.
I remembered the last time I’d come to Peru and traveled down that same road back in April 2011, riding with Dr. Pauly. That trip was during the day, and traffic was halted for some time as we encountered a horde of police cars and some yellow tape to the side at the base of the cliffs marking some sort of crime scene. As we passed we realized someone had fallen the 300 feet or so to his or her death, and the cabbie explained that in fact there were two victims.
Felt more than a little ominous, that, then a couple of days later Black Friday arrived to cast another long shadow over the entire trip. I thought about mentioning the story to my driver this time, but decided against disturbing the relative quiet forced upon us by neither of us knowing that much of the other’s native tongue.
I’ll be posting regularly throughout the day over at the PokerStars blog, so check over there for today’s reports on the first of two day 1 flights, which I trust will go as smoothly as my two flights down.