Saturday, June 19, 2010

Travel Log: Thursday, June 17, Cuzco to Lima

On our ride in from Urubamba yesterday we learned that the "paro" that had been planned for the 14th was canceled on the afternoon of the 13th. Oh well, better safe than sorry. However, we were told, the paro planned for the 17th and 18th would go forward, and not only would it impact transportation between cities, but roads would also be blocked inside Cuzco.

Armed with this information, we visited the TACA office yesterday to reconfirm our tickets, and to verify that the paro would not impact air travel.

Our choices to get to the airport this morning were either to get a very early cab, or walk. We opted to walk, a trip which turned out to be quite pleasant without cars. We saw some people marching, some rocks in the streets, a couple groups heading to the airport, one pulling their rolling luggage, another in the front of one of these three-wheeled bike transports, ususally used for light deliveries. When we got to the airport, after about an hour walk, a large group of people standing outside had us worried that we wouldn´t be allowed to enter, but we quickly realized these were just arriving passengers, waiting for a cab to the center!

By far the biggest hassle was getting from the check-in counter to the gate. No one knew which gate we should go to, Gate 4 upstairs, or Gate 10, downstairs. When we went thru the downstairs security - after waiting for the security people to get to their posts and turn on all the machinery, we entered a completely empty corridor (not counting the guy sweeping the floor). When the security folks finally agreed to let us go upstairs to Gate 4 and check for ourselves, the security upstairs didn't want to let us through. There were a few other passengers caught in this information vortex. Since no one knew anything about this flight, which was mislabled on the flight monitors, we assumed we were the first passengers thru the gate - perhaps the others were caught by the paro? So when we arrived at Gate 4 to find 200 people already waiting in line, our bafflement was complete. Walking from the gate, downstairs past the still-empty corridor with Gate 10, and out onto the tarmac ... well, I just had to laugh.

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