Well, it was a very interesting and rather intense first day. First the good…the flight from LAX to Lima was fantastic. Every seat on the plane had access to a personal entertainment system, which meant unlimited movies, TV and games for all of us. The kids watched Cars2, Iron Man 2, and Phieneas & Ferb, among other things, while also playing Bejeweled and Battleship. I watched the new Die Hard, Taken 2, and Trouble with the Curve. The food was good, the wine was good…the 9 hour flight basically flew by (literally). Now, the not so good…the layover from midnight to 5a in Lima was a little rough. We weren't allowed through security until 2a and while we tried to catch a few hours of rest on the very cold, hard floor, sleep was fleeting:
Once we passed security, it was a bit more comfortable and we pretty much all slept the entire hour flight to Cusco. Once we arrived and collected our bags, we were met by the Maximo Nivel staff who took us on a brief stop at their office before taking us to where we'll be staying. We'll be spending the next 6 weeks as guests of Ana and Augustin, who are a very nice couple with a basic 2nd floor apartment on the outskirts of Cusco. We have 2 rooms…1 with 2 twin beds, and the other with a queen. It's by no means fancy, with no internet access and only a small 13" television, but it's perfect for our needs and there's an internet cafe directly across the street! It will take some adjustment, but we'll learn to live without some of the basic creature comforts that we've grown all too accustomed to.
After settling in a bit and resting for a few hours as we all try to get over varying degrees of altitude sickness, we had some lunch. Ana is a good cook and everyone really enjoyed the traditional peruvian lunch of rice, squash, potatoes, and cheese (it's served like a stew over rice and Lucas couldn't stop talking about how delicious it was!). Unfortunately, neither Ana nor Augustin are very fluent in english so we're pretty much 100% reliant on Melanie…thankfully her spanish skills have come back pretty quickly.
Following a little more rest, we ventured out back to the Maximo Nivel office where we went through some orientation and safety instructions and learned that we'll be volunteering at a local boys orphanage from 3p-6p in the afternoon so we'll have our mornings completely open to get to know the city. We were able to meet up with Mel's brother Josh who happens to also be here in Cusco, but we're all a little too wiped to do much more than sit around and we were all in bed for a very early night. Tomorrow we plan to take it easy in the morning and venture out for lunch and the afternoon. We'll see how that goes.
Anyway, more updates to come, including videos of the kids and where we're staying.