Ah Peru! Home of the ancient hilltop archeological Unesco World Heritage site, Machu Picchu. And let’s not forget Cuzco, the pre-conquistador capital of the Inca Empire. No trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to either one of these places. AND I’VE BEEN TO NEITHER. And as much as I’d like to share my memories of Lima, I have just one. I call it, The day I had to change flights in Lima, Peru on route from Quito, Ecuador to Santiago Chile and went through customs just to get an Inca Kola, memory.
For years I’ve felt guilty about counting Peru as one of the 60-plus countries on our list of places we’ve been. Technically, arriving and entering an airport waiting area is considered that country’s sovereign territory, so that would make me an official visitor to Peru. However, some authorities say that unless you pass through customs, you cannot officially count that as a country you visited. Both conditions solidify the issue on my behalf.
While waiting for my connecting flight in Lima, I bribed, wait, no, charmed the Lima Airport Customs Agent to let me pass through customs to get an INCA KOLA, and return back to wait for my flight. Lucky for me he was both the arrivals and departures customs official. Bare in mind that this was a different time in the travel realm when you could still sit on the pilot’s lap would and fly the plane. Also, I was in Peru, which was not really known as a hotbed of illegal immigration by US Citizens trying to sneak in.
So technically and officially, I’ve been to Peru…but not really! I’m pretty confident I’m never going back, not even to see Machu Picchu, which sounds like a dreadful trek.
So, with what did I bribe the Peruvian Customs Agent?