Visiting our grandson Felix in Lima, Peru is high on my wife, Gwynne's, agenda. Normally we travel light, one backpack a piece, but for Lima, Gwynne packs a huge canvas bag, repeatedly weighing it to make sure it's under the 50 lb. limit. The contents of the bag is obvious; gifts for Felix. It's amazing how much stuff a 4 month old needs?! And his stuff is little too, so take the amount of stuff you're imagining and double that. Then there's treats from home for our son, Haven: Ding Dongs, 'Nutter Butters, Pop Tarts, and since we went for Easter; a half dozen collapsible Easter baskets and candy to go in them, plus Easter house kits, and paddle boards, and funny glasses. Gwynne also baked some large sugar cookies shaped like eggs and brought colored icing to decorate them with. In fact, there was so much stuff, Gwynne swapped out her normal backpack contents of clothes and toiletries for 4 sacks of fresh bagels so they wouldn't get squished. The flight was long, requiring 2 very close connecting flights. Fortunately, the large bag of baby gifts made it unmolested, as did the bagels and cookies Gwynne had in her backpack, but unfortunately, Gwynne's clothes were nowhere to be found. We filled a Missing Baggage report and took a cab to Felix's house; woohoo!
During the trip down, Gwynne's ankle had mysteriously swollen up, and it was painful to walk, which would be okay because we planned to be traditional grandparents, sitting around tending the baby while mom was at work, but Haven had other ideas. We weren't at his apartment for even 24 hours when he told us Felix was going on his first airplane ride and we were going along with him. Gwynne didn't mention that she had no other clothes. Luckily one of the things she'd brought as gifts was toothbrushes and toothpaste, and since her backpack was empty, she was able to the Baby Bag on the plane because they limited each passenger to 1 small bag. Felix acted just like a baby on the plane, and I got to sit behind the first crying baby that was my own, which provided its own satisfaction.
We arrived without mishap in Tarapoto, where we saw the local sites and participated in the Santa Semana (Holy Week) parade because it was there. In the main plaza, Mirian showed a lot of interest in street vendors hawking children's toys. Considering our limited airplane space, I wondered if she was looking for something to buy Felix. Next thing I know, we're hauling along an air-filled punching ball, probably the least satisfactory purchase possible. Moms are like that.
Clothesless Gwynne & I thought it would be a short visit, Haven didn't say otherwise, and after 2 days he said we needed to get to the airport. But we we're going back to Lima yet; there was another flight, this time on a little 8-seat puddle jumper which bumped along for 30 minutes, hot and uncomfortable, Felix's head bouncing around like one of those Dashboard Dogs, before we landed literally on the edge of a cliff at ChaChapoyas airport. From ChaChapoyas, we journeyed to the Kuelap ruins via skytram and hiking, all the time making news for Felix: Felix's first skytram, Felix's first hike, Felix's first ancient ruins. Felix was a busy guy. All I can say is that it's a good thing we brought along lots of diapers.
After 2 days in ChaChapoyas, the flight back to Tarapoto was canceled due to bad weather, no refunds, and no other flights until late in the week. We took motocabs back into ChaChapoyas to find a private car service. Unfortunately, the bad weather had caused severe mudslides which had closed the roads. Fortunately, they had reopened to local traffic only 20 minutes before but were extremely dangerous. That sounded like good news to us, so we piled into the car with the driver and set out on the perilous journey. They weren't kidding about the mudslides; we got to see a couple coming down in the distance, and the boulders would have crushed our car, but the driver was racecar quality; he'd obviously done this road many times, zigzagging around mud flows and rubble like Speed Racer. The entire 10 hour trip took 3 different car services; it wasn't even uncomfortable and Felix slept through the whole adventure.
Back in Tarapoto, we had more things things to see, certainly worth it, but we had no idea when we were going back. Gwynne bought a pair of way too small underwear at a little cart on the street but she was wearing the same top and pants. We'd run out of ibuprofen, so her ankle was killing her, but she didn't complain. She even carried Felix a lot of the time: grandma's gotta be grandma.
Finally, after 6 days of wearing the same clothes, Gwynne was back at Haven's apartment in Lima. She had just enough time to put out the Easter Baskets (5 days late), and put frosting on a couple of the now stale Easter cookies. She didn't have a chance to color eggs or build the Easter houses, they'll just have to wait until next year when I bet she leaves the bagels in the suitcase.
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