The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bienvenido al Perú

A view of the city from the Chabad House

We have a little catching up to do.

For those of you who don't follow me on the Twitter (which begs the question -why aren't you?), you may or may not be aware that I am currently in Lima, Peru . . .

Arriving at JFK for our American Airlines flight to Lima with a stop off in Miami, we were given a grand total of thirty seconds to pay our taxi driver, unload our bags and get inside the airport before the entourage of a UN Official (For those of you who haven't heard of the UN before, UN stands for United Nothing, which is exactly what goes on there on a good day).

After using AA's handy-dandy self check-in program, CY Fried (as he is known from his comments here, but known hence forth as Chaim) and I spent time milling around duty free, before boarding our flight. Come 7:00 take off however, and the captain announced that due to several UN dignitaries leaving the country at the moment after the wonderful General Assembly that let Der Kliener Fuhrer (I mean Ahmadinejad) venue to his words, we would be spending an hour waiting on the runway before we could take off . . .
What fun!
Come 8:20 (an hour and twenty minutes) and we were finally next in line to go.

A note about the flight -American Airlines is hardly the great airlines it used to be . . . I had the chance to take a TACA flight that left on Thursday morning with a stop over in El Salvador. The AA evening flight, however, offered the chance to stop by a good friends wedding, and miles on an established mileage program. Considering that I missed the wedding and the UN endorsed complications that followed, I wonder if the miles were worth missing out on the lay-over in El Salvador.

We landed in Miami, and were told that we had something like two minutes to make our connecting flight.
Running like a mad man, laptop bag swinging one arm, carry-on roller rolling behind me from the other, I made it to the gate -only to be told that there was no need to run -they were holding up the flight for other passengers coming from Dallas Ft. Worth . . . That, and an some last minute work on the engine (always a reassuring thought) made for a twenty minute wait.
The upshot of it -they would be loading our luggage while we waited.

Moving to my seat (16A -During a red eye go for the bulkhead seat -it gives a better surface to rest against!)
I found a Peruvian lady sitting in it. After apologizing for taking our seats, she looked me in the eye and asked, pointblank,

"Are you a Jew?"

Now asking such a question, with such a wording, could only go one of two ways . . . I tensed up.

"Yes I am. Why do you ask?"

"Oh," she said. "I am one too -I live in Miami now, but I'm visiting my family in Peru with my son now. Do you know a synagogue I could go to for the holidays?"

. . .


By the Baggage claim, as the bags ever so slowly came out, I took a look at the various people standing around me.

A young lady clad in a linen tunic, khaki pants and a large purple poncho stood next to me . . . Always on the look out for other Jews, I figured only an Israeli tourist would come to a place wearing the local clothes.
Turning to two Japanese adventurers standing behind her -their Nihongo-Spanish dictionaries, guide books and cameras ready- she tried to ask them a question in an extremely broken Spanish. The two blokes, in turn, told her in an even more broken Spanish that they did not speak any Spanish . . . With a laugh that she said that she was Austrian (there went my 'Israeli') and asked them if they were Chinese (at least I was right in this case, as they were indeed Japanese).

"I vant to zee di animals hier." She said. "I love animals! I have a website about zem! Ve must help di environment!"

"Oh yes." one of the Japanese men said. "We want see Jungure (Jungle)!"

-all of this seen through the eyes of a Hassid in a black hat. How stereotyped could things get . . . ( A note to all: I write this only in jest, and in no way wish to reinforce negative stereotypes or think in anyway poorly of those I took notice of. On that note: While I am entirely behind protecting the environment and like Whales -I'm sick of this Pseudo-Religious Green junk . . . it makes me want to drive an SUV (save the fact that I don't drive, and couldn't afford the extra gas) and other acts of carbon emitting fun.)

The conversation soon ended, as the two Japanese tourists had found their bags.
Chaim and I, however, looked on with disdain as we realized that our luggage had not made the flight.

So, after clearing up things with the officials - along with a British student abroad, a German visiting his extended family in Bolivia (Germans in South America -Yikes!), the Austrian lady dressed like an Israeli dressing like a local, a Dutch couple, and a group of Frenchies that only spoke French (Why I always end up with the Europeans is a twist of fate completely beyond my understanding)- we took a Taxi to the Chabad house in the more upscale S. Isidro neighborhood to get ready for Shabbos


Now this is a Travel Post like it ought to be! Though I give it to you in its unedited glory, I hope you enjoyed the words. Who needs pictures!

(Don't worry. There's nothing to see in Lima . . . In Cuzco I'll probably become lazy and go back to 50 picture and thirty word posts.

Until then, K'siva v'chasima Tova Y'all!

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Chaim said...

You missed the Friday night story. Thank g-d for bodyguards... and their excellent israeli taught tactics!...... Ow! OWW! Stop that! Ok..... I WAS JUST KIDDING. Mrs. Mottel Senior, there is NO NEED TO WORRY ABOUT YOUR SON in Lima Peru. IT IS NOT A BANANA REPUBLIC...... Cool! Are they screaming "Viva la revolucion" outside?

Mottel said...

Chaim -Go to sleep.

Chaim said...

Non senor. The coca tea keeps me up yet. I'll try counting pink elephants to pass the time...

Anonymous said...

they were Chinese (at least I was right in this case, as they were indeed Japanese).

That is hysterical!!
That is so wrong, it's a crack-up!

Leora said...

Like some of your little comments like the UN being United Nothing on a good day, and "religiousity" of the green movement.

But I want to see more pics! I have a friend/acquaintance (I really haven't seen him since his wedding 15 years ago) who grew up in Lima. I really wonder what it was like to grow up Jewish there.

Nemo said...

Jealous ... especially cause my travel days are over. Sigh.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...


Ksiva vachasima toiva - shana toiva umesuka. Hatzlacha in your shlichus in Peru. What is the shaliach's name there again? Rabbi Blumenthal?

BTW Peruvian "gasoline" that you get at any gas station is both kosher and potable - it is really 96% alcohol distilled from corn and flavored with coca leaves so as to divert coca leaves from other uses.....try it and see.

Anonymous said...

BTW Taca gives you miles with united,

Mottel said...

Taca is connected with United, and only United. I don't have United miles.
For whatever reason, I collect AA, Lufthansa and KLM