Monday, December 21, 2009

The Tale of Three Generations

- by Shelley

The first part of this trip is a bit different for Andrew and I. My whole family is joining us for a 4-day hike into Machu Picchu and then a few days in the jungle. The whole thing is very strictly planned with guides and schedules (not our usual fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants travel style). The players are as follows:

- Andrew and I
- My dad Earl and my stepmom Elaine
- My sister Bev
- My nephew Andrew and his wife Gretchen
- My niece Nicole and her boyfriend/fiance Austen
- My niece Julie and her boyfriend Grayson

It's a widely divergent group in many ways. We range in age from 17 (Julie) to 82 (Dad); some are totally comfortable with camping, roughing it and, when necessary, going days, even weeks, without a real shower (Andrew and I), while some are lovingly referred to as "high maintenance" with makeup, hairdryers, always fashionable and perfectly put together (Elaine); most of us are fairly well traveled but some not so much away from the western world; some are happy to go along with whatever the plans are and my sister in particular wants to see every possible site she can in the time allotted (she's an accountant and we joked that if she started making spread sheets for us we were all going to run away!). I've got to give her credit for the monumental task of organizing all of us on various schedules and logistics.

It's a fun crew and Dad and Julie especially create a lot of entertainment value. As Julie said on her facebook page . . . "11 people, 3 generations, 2 weeks of bonding and 1 mountain to climb!!!" My Andrew jokingly replied "Bonding??? Are we on the same trip?"

Andrew and I left a day ahead of the second crew (Dad, Elaine, Bev, Gretchen, Julie, Grayson). They left from Edmonton and the last legs of their flights were with Taca. Apparently Taca oversells many of their flights and it's pretty much first come, first served. They got bumped to standby and were facing an overnight in San Salvador which would throw out several other flights and plans in Peru. Between them, they used every trick (aka sob story) in the book -- 82 year old father, meeting family, tight schedule, etc. etc. They made it and we ran into them in the airport in Lima enroute to Cusco. But then their flight to Cusco got delayed and they had to move to Lan airlines, arriving several hours later than originally scheduled.

The third crew of Andrew J., Nicole and Austen are coming a few days from now due to university exam schedules. They and Elaine will take the train and meet the rest of us at Machu Picchu. Gretchen and Bev have emailed Andrew J. with tips to try to make sure their travel goes smoothly.

We're gradually getting acclimatized to the altitude in Cusco and walking up the hill to our hotel gets easier each day. Machu Picchu here we come! 

Andrew, Shelley, Gretchen, Elaine, Bev, Earl, Julie, Grayson - Cusco in the background.

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