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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

On the way to Iquitos

October 4, 2014

Today we are flying to Iquitos where tomorrow we will begin our trip up the Amazon River.  We hired a driver to take us from Ollantaytambo to the Cusco airport with stops along the way at the Moray and Chinchero ruins.

No one seems to know what the Moray ruins were used for.  Speculation is that this was some sort of crop testing area where they planted different types of seeds and created hybrids to see which would grow best.  But with the walls the way they are the would have had to tend all the crops by hand as no Oxen could have been used for plowing because there was no way to get them in or out.  To us it looked more like an amphitheater type setup.

Then onto Chinchero which was another terraced area with a church.

 

There was a nice museum with some ancient pottery.

Lots of women selling Peruvian wares here.

Then it was off to the airport and the flights from Cusco to Lima, and Lima to Iquitos.  Flight to Lima was no problem.  But when we tried to clear security in Lima for the flight to Iquitos, they scanned our boarding passes and all four of us were pulled out of line.  Uh oh.  In Spanish the gal asks to see our prior flight boarding passes.  Dave had tossed ours in the trash.  Holly and Mike still had theirs.  Another American couple on the flight from Cusco on their way to Iquitos was also pulled out line.  The six of us are starting to panic because boarding time is upon us.  Holly, Mike, and the other couple are directed to one line.  In broken English the gal asks us if we are ok to pay $10 each.  Um, yeah, ok.  So we get hauled to another cashier line and pay our $10 each.  Stickers are placed on the back of our boarding passes.  We race for the security checkpoint to find the other couple, and Mike and Holly just getting there as well.  We all pass through security without further incident.  Near as we can tell, Mike and Holly’s boarding passes for the flight from Cusco to Lima have a tax sticker on the back – we think indicating that they paid their airport tax of $4.75 each.  Though why the security computers didn't know the tax had been paid by the airline isn't clear.  Since we were missing the boarding passes from the previous flight we had to pay the tax again.  Why it was $10?  Who knows.  We were just happy to be in line to board the flight.

When we get to the front of the line to board the flight they scan our boarding pass and it beeps red.  Oh no!  What now!  No worries the agent says just a change of seats.  Dave jokingly says, “What, to first class?”  She smiles and says, “Yes you have been upgraded to first class.”  We figure she is joking.  But no, she was indeed serious.  We had been upgraded to first.  Why?  Who knows.  You would like to think that it was because something popped in the computer that they had messed up recording the airport tax as paid on our tickets.  But there were 12 first class seats and we were the only 4 in first class, so why wasn’t the other couple upgraded too?  Maybe because Mike and Holly added their United Airlines Mileage number to the flight when we check in and they saw he had a ton of miles?  Or maybe just plain random.  Of course this was not as cool as it sounded because tomorrow is election day and hence they couldn’t serve us any alcohol.  So no wine with dinner.  Though oddly we got wine and beer at the restaurants in both airports.  So apparently this no alcohol sales before the election thing is only followed by those aware of the law.

We were met at the airport by one of the guides that will take us up river tomorrow.  They took us to our hotel La Casona in Iquitos.  Along the way it looked like Iquitos wasn’t the type of city you would want to hang out in.  Somewhat seedy.  Likely is the center of commerce for the locals in this area as it’s the only city of any size in this region.

Up river we go tomorrow...

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