A Day in Cusco

I picked up Rafael at his store at 8:00, and we headed into Cusco. He called ahead to a shop that said they’d have the alternator he needed for his truck. Rafael found a place to park on a street lined on both sides with other parked vehicles. Most places in Cusco says No Parking, but that doesn’t mean anything… most times.

Rafael went one way to get his truck parts, and I went another way to hunt up some things for Steph. Might as well get the most out of the trip. One thing Steph wanted was white vanilla, but the area I searched didn’t have any.

Rafael said to meet back at the truck at 10:00. I was there a few minutes before. He was the designated driver because I hate city driving. When I arrived back at the truck, the street was completely empty of all other vehicles. Rafael wasn’t there, but there was a policewoman standing by my truck.

I sent Rafael a message right away because I was a bit worried. The police here can be bad enough, but everyone says the ladies are terrible to work with. She certainly seemed unhappy.

She asked if I realized I couldn’t park there. I honestly didn’t. She marched me up to the end of the street and showed the sign with a crossed-out E on it. She lectured me on the meaning of “No estacionar!”

I wasn’t going to try explaining that I hadn’t parked the truck. Rafael hadn’t seen my message yet. The police officer asked me to hand over my documents. We went back to the truck to get them, but while I was collecting them, she noticed a taxi parked at the end of the street.

She commanded me to stay while she ran up the street and barked at the taxi driver. He drove off, and she came back to talk to me. While she’d been been up the street, I’d sent Rafael a voice message, explaining what was going on. He was now very late–no surprise.

The lady was carrying on with her lecture when she all of sudden thrust the papers at me and told me to leave. She took off running up the street a little where the same taxi was parked at another location. She pulled out her book and started shouting about teaching him a lesson. As I drove off, I could hear the man pleading with her not to ticket him.

But where should I go? I drove around the area, looking for a place to park. Besides those two blocks the lady officer was keeping empty, everywhere else was full. Some streets even were parked double deep.

I wandered further afield–further acity?. Then a horrific thing happened. I got caught at a red light on what is called a street here, but could pass for a mild precipice under other circumstances. It had been over a year since I’d driven a manual, and it’s been even longer since I was forced to take off from such an incline.

Horns were blaring and voices were shouting as the truck stalled for the sixth time. I tried again, this time with my feet pushing on all three petals at once–of course I released the brake! I was able to half squeal, half roar across the intersection. The light turned back to red behind me.

Then Rafael called. I couldn’t answer and drive at the same time. I let the call go. He called twice, three times. On the fourth call, I answered and simply said, “Un momento, Rafa,” and hung up. I finally found a street with a couple open spots and no police ladies. I parked and called him back.

He answered immediately, frantically asking if I had been taken to jail. I calmed him down and explained things. We decided to meet up in another part of town where I could leave the truck in a parking garage of sorts.

He’d been trying to track down the alternator, but was unsuccessful. The fellow said it would arrive in one hour, but a couple hours later, it was becoming apparent the fellow had made an empty promise in hopes he could find the part from someone else and make the sale.

While I waited on Rafael to get to my side of town, I walked a couple kilometers to find the one store where Steph knew there was vanilla. That purchase made, my day was not in vain. Steph uses the white vanilla to make her beautiful cakes, which she has sold a few of now.

Rafael and I both had a few more errands to run. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in getting the needed truck parts. We got back to Izcuchaca after dark. By the time I had the milking done, it was bedtime.

While the children got into their pj’s, I fell dead asleep on the couch. I woke some time later to hear the boys giggling upstairs in their beds. I stumbled upstairs and lay down beside Seth and told them to go to sleep, which is what I did immediately. I want to be a good example.

Steph left me sleeping upstairs rather than waking me. After midnight I got a text, which I usually wouldn’t hear because I don’t keep my phone in my bedroom at night. Here it was my brother who is a nurse. He was on night duty and was thinking of me, so he sent me a message.

Since I was awake, we chatted awhile before I headed downstairs to bed. I found it pretty fascinating to hear from him at that moment.

You see, because of his nursing work schedule, he wasn’t able to come up from Tennessee with the rest of my family a year ago when they came to help. I’d given up on saying farewell to him in person. But he surprised me by showing up the Monday before we left for Peru, a year to the day from his message last night.

Coincidences like that are special to me. Maybe they don’t really mean anything, but ones like that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Thanks for thinking of me, Jer Bear.

The store with vanilla. The clerks are safe behind plastic with windows to pass out the goods.
An elevator: Max Capacity 4 people
We found an open Burger King! I could hardly believe it. Take-out only, of course.
A random spider in my office. I did not name her Charlotte.