Apparently you need a Yellow Fever vaccine in order to enter Costa Rica from a South American Country, and you have to be inoculated 10 days before you enter the country. I was made aware of this (thanks Janis and no thanks Kaiser travel nurse) the night before my 8am flight to Lima. Good thing I'm in Peru for 13 days. First order of business? Get that vaccine. Ha.
The flights from San Diego to Lima were ridiculously easy. I forget how easy it is to get half way across the world when you're not on a boat. Take off your shoes, watch a few movies, have a drink, eat some mediocre food and bam! you're in Peru.
I booked my entire time in Peru through my friend and travel agent Bobbie, of Bobbie's Travel, so for the first time in my life someone met me at the airport holding a sign with my name on it, took my bags and whisked me off to my hotel. I arrived at my hotel sometime around 1am kind of wound up and thirsty, so I walked a few blocks down to a 24 hour grocery store to buy some snacks and drinks. I thought I was being very dainty by only buying one can of beer, but at the check out the lady told me they don't sell alcohol after midnight (you lush) and with a salty look took my beer away. Whatever, I have sleeping pills for that.I really only have one full day in Lima so I set my alarm for 8am (to make sure my cheap ass got the free breakfast from the hotel) and to have plenty of time to sight see. After drinking a ridiculously strong coffee that I diluted with three parts milk, I headed off to find the Yellow Fever vaccine. I was told to go to Good Hope clinic which is conveniently located half way between my hotel and the beach.I was impressed by the clinic. Although it was packed with infants (with more hair than some 1 year olds - you know who you are) getting their vaccines, I was in and out of there in about half hour, documentation included, for the bargain price of $40.After that I walked down to the beach, you know, just to check it out. I planned Peru to be my cultural, "get out of my comfort zone" experience, so I didn't want to hang out at the beach and surf all day, but I'm always drawn to the water, and it was close, and I can always come up with more excuses.When I came up to the bluff I saw the Pacific Ocean looking quite calm except for glassy little waist to chest high waves coming in. Uh oh. I had brought all my valuables - passport, credit cards, cash - with me in case I needed it for the clinic, and didn't bring my bathing suit on purpose. I figured I would go back to the hotel to swap stuff if I actually decided to surf in the water I've heard is pretty dirty. But it doesn't hurt to check out the little tents renting boards on the beach and talk with the locals for a few minutes.As I walked past the tents I was approached by Alberto, owner of Surf Peru. We chatted for a few minutes and before I knew it I was changing into a soggy wetsuit in his towel and giving him all of my valuable possessions while I went out to surf average waves with questionable water quality. I can't help it. Not only that, but one of my goals for my 28th year is to surf in a new country and while I was going to save that for Costa Rica, why not check it off the list twice.The waves were actually super fun - chest high, lined up, long, glassy rights and a few punchy lefts. I looked up to the high rise condos up on the cliff and wondered how much rent is.. Inside sales from abroad, cheap cost of life and uncrowded waves right in the middle of a city? The imagination soars. And then I began to think about the fact that this dude I just met had literally all my valuable possessions in his car so I caught a few more waves and headed in. After all, I want to see the rest of Lima too.When I got back to the beach Alberto and his car were gone. Fuck. I took off the wetsuit with his towel, standing there basically naked on the beach really hoping that he would be back with my clothes, passport, cash and cards. And then you think, was a little surf session really worth potentially losing all that? No, probably not. But then Alberto showed up - sorry! I forgot I had your stuff in my car - so yeah, totally worth it.We chatted for a bit before I took off. "You're hiking the Inca Trail, si? I was a tour guide for that, I've done it 19 times," he told me. "Yeah, I am.. if you had one piece of advice for me, what would it be?" As has been my habit of asking everyone who has done it. "Keep surfing," was his only reply.Siempre amigo, siempre.