On to Cajamarca-Day 1 (A Looooooooooong day)
Cajamarca Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
On to Cajamarca-Day 1 (A Looooooooooong day)
My alarm goes off at . I shower, get dressed and I am out the door about . I head to the Aero Condor ticket counter to get my boarding pass. The sign said that I could have only one carry on so I put my tools and two bags on the scale and the ticket agent tells me that I only get 15kg (33 pounds) worth of baggage. I am way over that amount, hell, I know people with mental baggage that weighs more than 15kg. I try to explain to him that this was not relayed to me and I need everything I have. Thankfully he felt sympathy for me and said since it was a connected flight it was ok but they probably will not let me get out of Cajamarca with that weight. I guess I will deal with my return when I cross that bridge. I thank him, he throws my luggage on the belt back into baggage abyss, hands me my boarding pass and tells me to head up the stairs and pay the airport tax.
I pay the tax of $6.02 US (good round number) then head for security. Now this is good ol’ day’s security at its finest. Throw your bag on the x-ray machine and get everything metal out of your pockets and walk through, shoes and all. I was feeling good and the morning has been going smooth, all I needed was some water. I grab a bottle off a shelf in some store and head for the counter. I hand it to the lady at the counter and she started speaking Spanish and pointing at the label. I tell her yes I know it is aqua and I want to purchase it. She countinues to point at the label talking to me what sounds like gibberish as I stare at her with what I am sure was a stupid face. She finally figures out I have no idea what she is saying and that my money was good there and sold it to me. The gibberish all came crashing in as clear as English when I took my first sip. Apparently what I bought was the equivalent of tonic water. All though great with vodka, not so great by itself. I look at the label and it said Con Gas on it. I then think to myself “That crazy lady at the store kept saying that. Ohhhh….she is not crazy she was trying to warn me! Wow that was nice of her.” I do not return to see if they had non Con Gas cause my pride would not allow it and I knew that if I gave it a chance I would learn to love straight tonic water.
I sat down at my gate and waited until about the time that we were to board when another Spanish speaking voice came over the loud speaker. At some point I made out Cajamarca so I knew it was about my flight. When he finished everyone around me kind of sighed and a couple of them layed down. I figured this could not be good and I headed to the counter to find out the deal. I was told there was bad weather in Cajamarca and the flight was delayed until . I thought 15 minutes was not bad and sat back down. At I heard something about Cajamarca again and people got up and headed towards the gate. In typical tourist fashion I followed and we all piled into a shuttle bus that literally took us to the plane parked on the other side of the plane that the shuttle bus was parked next to. When I debarred the shuttle I figured out why weight was an issue for this plane, I would be surprised if it weighed more than 15kg. We all crammed into this thing, it took off, I slept, we landed, and I got my bags and met with my next person, Victor. He grabbed a bag for me and we piled into a taxi.
I have now been in Cajamarca for a total of maybe 30 minutes and I have already learned that there are no rules of the road here. I think the only rule is that you not kill anyone but even that is on a circumstantial basis. Victor says we are going to the hotel to check in and drop off my things as we go three wide on what would be a one way alley in
We arrive at the Las Americano Hotel, it looked decent enough from outside and the lobby, and I am showed to my room. The room in itself was ok I guess but the TV was 13 inches and hung on the wall almost to the ceiling. I figured no biggie at least it has something, the hotel location was good and the wireless internet worked. I turned on the TV and every channel was static looking even though it was on cable. Still, whatever, I can hear it and at least I can kind of make out the English speaking HBO.
Victor knocks on my door to pick me up to take me the medical exam I need to take for clearance onto the Yanacocha Mine I would be working at. We arrive at what seems like a small office building turned into a clinic but all in all it was fine.
My first stop was the pee in this cup and spit in this cup stop. I did as told and took it to the room where they were prepared to take blood from me, stop number 2. Issues of sanitation came to my mind but everyone in this town is still alive so it can’t be that bad.
My third stop was the x-ray machine. I am not sure what they need to know by x-ray but ok. This poor x-ray machine looked like something they bought off of E-Bay. It should have been retired 30 years ago. This guy who looked half Jewish and half Spanish puts me in some strange bird like position and X-rays my torso.
Stop number four was a weight, height and blood pressure measurement and then on to the next room behind the curtain where I was told to remove my shirt and shoes and anything I had with me that is metal. I do as I am told and then lay down on the table that must have come with the x-ray machine as a package deal. I barely fit on this thing and I keep hearing things from the help about “football player” and Victor saying I can not eat ice cream and pizza anymore. Real nice guy this Victor. An older lady walks in with a hand full of cables and says something about checking my heart. A couple of her helpers start putting some kind of grease on me and then clamp these things on my wrist and ankles that look like something you would use to jumper your car with. The older lady also has a bunch of these little metal suction cup things she starts putting on my chest. Where the hell do they get this stuff? Did I stumble into a retirement home for medical equipment? I hear electru something mention and now I begin to panic. I know now why they took the blood pressure first. Well, the electru something suction cup thingies kept falling off so the older lady pulled out a roll of masking tape and proceeds to tape them to my chest. Something every man with a hairy chest just loves. It turns out they were just messing with me and all they were doing was recording my heartbeat and there would be no actual defibulator like stuff going on today.
Stop number five, I meet with the doctor and he does the Q and A, checks my vision and breathing and kicks me out the door. A bit of a traumatizing experience but I come out mostly unscathed.
At this point I am starving because I was not allowed to eat before my exam. We are supposed to meet the next guy who will be here with me the whole time, Daniel, in about a couple hours for lunch so Victor takes me to the store to get water and tells me to try a Frio Rico, which is basically a drumstick in
We get there and now I have to climb up this hill, which at 8500 feet is no picnic on the lungs, but it was all worth it once I got to the top. The view is amazing and you can see all the surrounding mountains. At this point I realize I do not have my camera and think how Brittney would be pissed at me. This will be someplace I will have to return to. We hang up there for a bit and then walk back down the other side and to our hotel.
We meet Daniel for lunch for my first try at Peruvian food. I got some kind of thing with Pork and some peppers and rice. It was pretty good. Daniel asks me how I like my room, I tell him my earlier thoughts, and then proceeds to tell me about the problems he has with his. We decide we will look into other options tomorrow. We finished lunch and I had to head to the training facility for the mine. I do not speak a lick of Spanish so I got the English speaking version which put me by myself in a room with a laptop and two hours of power point presentations. At the time I thought that sucked but Daniel was in the same class all day but the Spanish version. It took him 8 hours to do what I did in two. I guess being a lazy American can have its advantages sometimes.
Victor picks me up and we head back to the clinic to get my results. They say I am going to live and then we head off to some office to get a piece of paper signed. That gets done and we head back to the hotel and decided to all meet up for dinner at , about an hour and a half away.
We all meet in the lobby about and get this, funny man Victor says he knows a good pizza place that they use a wood fire stove. At this point I am not sure how to take it but I like pizza so I soon forget the emotional pain from earlier today. We got some kind of pizza with meat, cheese, onions and mushrooms on it and washed it down with a Pilsen Callao beer. It was pretty good and I would recommend anyone who finds themselves in Cajamarca craving pizza it would be a good place to go.
At this point we walk back and we stop by a bakery and get some kind of chocolate dough puffs that were decent but not the greatest thing I have ever had. We arrive at the hotel all agree to meet at in the morning and say our goodnights. I head up to my room; turn on my static filled English speaking HBO and lay down to sleep. This is when I find out my bed is a block of wood with two blocks of wood for pillows. Good thing I am tired.