I'm going to cheat and jump ahead in the tale I've promised over and over to tell. Just 41 hours ago I finally made it home from Peru. I promise, once again, to tell you all about my adventures over the past three weeks, but first I need to express gratitude for making it back home.
I was supposed to leave Cusco, Peru last Thursday afternoon at 4:55, but just as we were about to board the plane a thunderstorm came crashing down. Thunder, lightning, and buckets of rain. Without any apparent thought of delay, the flight was immediately canceled. I was shocked. I looked out the airport window and could see from the bright sky over the mountains that the storm was not going to last long. Apparently, however, LAN airline does not believe in delays. Instead, they directed over a hundred of us to the agent at desk 61 for rescheduling. Before the first dozen were rescheduled, incoming flights were landing.
The next flight available for me was early the following morning. I managed a few hours sleep, flew to Lima and then Los Angeles without any problems. Once in LA, however, I decided to check with Alaska Airlines and make sure there were no problems with my next-day flight to Anchorage. Huh, what flight? Somehow, LAN had failed to actually make me a reservation, and the flight they'd intended me to be on was full. Now, I'd already hiked the mile-and-a-half (at least) from the international terminal at LAX to the domestic terminal housing Alaska Air. I had to hike back over to the international terminal to get LAN to get me a reservation so I could go home. Dear lord, all I wanted to do was go home.
An hour or so later, I not only had a reservation for first thing the next morning (yes, another night's wait), but also a paid-for hotel room near the airport. I actually told the LAN agent I loved him. (I was exhausted.) It was short-lived love, however. Turns out, LAN didn't bother to fax over the reservation information to the hotel, and they couldn't give me a room without that billing information. As the hour neared midnight, I finally gave in and paid for the room myself. I needed sleep.
Five o'clock in the morning came early, but with dawn came the news that LAN had finally come through with the billing information. The hotel kindly and unexpectedly had reversed the charges to my credit card so I didn't have to fight with LAN for reimbursement.
By 3:30 I was landing in Anchorage. I'd already decided to drive straight back to Valdez (I was really desperate to get home), figuring I could nap in the truck if I couldn't stay awake for another six hours. As luck would have (good for me, bad for her), my friend Wendy and her son had been stranded in Anchorage thanks to bad weather in Valdez - the morning flight had been canceled. With their company, I stayed awake, survived driving snow in Thompson Pass, and finally arrived home at 10:30 that evening. It had technically been 55 hours since I'd first arrived at the airport in Cusco to make my way home. I was tired.
It was all worth it. Rowan crawled out of bed for hugs (the next morning she didn't even remember having gotten up), and cuddling with Thane in our own bed was heaven. Traveling is wonderful, almost as wonderful as coming home.