After having one of the most spectacular vacations of my life, it was unfortunately time to go home. I was the only American in the tour group and one of the only people taking just one week of vacation. I only get three weeks of vacation a year and often found myself throughout the trip wanting to bitch slap the Europeans talking about their next adventures to Bolivia, Argentina and beyond.
My last night in Peru a bunch of the party animals went out. As it often happens, I got wasted, stayed out way too late and only managed to sleep about an hour before my 6 AM alarm rang. I had an 8:10 flight and my transport was picking me up at 6:30. Fun times.
I got to the airport without delay but found it weird as I walked up to the Star Peru counter that there was no one else in line. I was then informed that my 8:10 flight was actually moved to 11:30. Did I not get the email? NO. I did not. OBVIOUSLY. Otherwise I would be tucked in my hotel bed SLEEPING. I suppose I should have been checking how many bars I had on my phone while EXPLORING MACHU PICCHU.
We quickly figured out that I would miss my connecting flight to Miami in Lima with this later flight. They agreed to put me on an earlier flight with another carrier, and I breathed a sigh of relief. (This sigh smelled a bit like shame and beer.)
As I glanced at my itinerary for the next flight I realized I was a complete idiot. I only allowed myself less than hour to get checked in, through customs and to my gate before my plane took off. I also had very smartly checked my bag on this first flight even though it was carry-on size.
Of course, the flight was slightly delayed. And, of course, my bag was the last one off the plane. I quickly ran to the American Airlines counter but was informed they had closed check in and I would need to go “upstairs” to get booked on another flight. No problem.
The grumpy gentleman assured me he would move me at no charge to the next flight at 11:45 … PM. It was currently 10 AM. They only had two flights to the United States that day. Need I remind you I’m hungover, unshowered and one of the most impatient people when I’m feeling good. There is no way in hell I could waste an entire day in an airport. I have problems wasting an hour!
As I held back tears and paced back and forth, I began to formulate a strategy. First course of business, find an Internet cafe. I hadn’t gotten online in a week and this would definitely waste some time. I spotted a Ramada nearby and quickly made my way over. In an English/Spanish hybrid I asked about using their computers and was pointed in the direction of the restaurant. Oooookay.
I arrived and am asked if I needed a table? Um, no, a computer naturally. This is a restaurant, isn’t it???? Perhaps my Spanish isn’t as good as I thought. He then escorted me up to the second floor business lounge and all I can hear is ding, ding, ding! I can definitely waste at least an hour here. And it’s free! As I settled in trying to remember my Facebook password, he came back and questioned whether I was a Ramada customer?
Define customer? Smile, bat unmascared eyelashes, run my dirty fingernails through my tangled, frizzy hair, fan the stench of sweat in his direction…ugh it’s no use. I’m a hot mess.
I’m informed I have to leave. As I’m being escorted out I see the Ramada Spa sign and know I’ve come to the right place. After a week of hiking and camping a girl can use some pampering!
I inquired about the packages and bought the “lengthiest” one, which for only $80 included a massage, facial and pedicure as well as access to the hot tub, sauna and pool. Yee haa! I could stay all day!
I was informed my massage would be first. I eagerly locked away my suitcase and disrobed to my skivvies. After my most recent massage, I decided to keep my underwear on. Who knows what a Peruvian massage entailed, yikes.
I was brought to the room and told to lay face down on the cot. I found it odd that there was no sheet or cover to get under, but did as I was told. The masseuse re-entered the room and draped a warm blanket over me. Ah, that’s better. She then left the room and came back carrying what sounded like…hmmm…sloshing…is that a bucket of water? WTF.
She then started CLEANING MY FEET. I was mortified when I realized the bottoms of my feet must have been dirty. Which was not at all surprising considering I wore dirty flip flops the night before and was also running around a hotel barefoot. Oh dear.
“Lo siento, lo siento” I quickly stated as I tried to get up to do it myself. She quietly eased me back down and finished the dirty work. Literally.
What was worse is that when it came time for her to massage my feet later on, she covered them first with a sheet. She was likely so disgusted that she did not want to touch them with her bare hands even AFTER she had cleaned them.
I also discovered Peruvian massages are weird. At least mine was.
There was not a whole lot of rubbing. What there was a whole lot of was petting. Like basically the whole massage was her, not so gently, stroking my back. It was not relaxing. It didn’t even really feel good. Her actions were almost filled with spite (likely for my dirty feet.) But hey, at least she didn’t have an erection.
After the massage I realized my back had chosen this as the opportune time to start peeling. I had gotten some sun while hiking and, although I don’t usually peel, I think her petting started a strange chemical reaction in my skin. No wonder she didn’t really want to rub or touch me. She already had my foot dirt under her fingernails, why not add some skin?
I decided I was going to waste as much time as possible in this place. This would require vast amounts of pool and hot tub time. It hit me like a brick when I realized I did not have a swimsuit. No one was there though….they wouldn’t mind if I used the pool nude, right? I was sure me and my dirty feet and peeling skin were more than welcome to frolic with my naked genitals in the pool.
Judgement got the better of me. Thankfully, for them. I then tried to fashion some sort of bra top out of a towel. Seriously. I figured my white, see-thru, lacy boy shorts would definitely pass as a swimsuit bottom. Once again, thankfully, MacGyver I am not.
Instead I opted for the sauna. I don’t particularly like saunas, but I was desperate to kill some time. Need I remind you, I had maybe a glass of water all day and was severely dehydrated from the night before. What do I do? I fall asleep in the sauna.
For about an hour.
When I come to, I am weak and nauseous, and proceed to vomit profusely, barely making it to a public garbage can.
Nothing corrects nausea, though, like a pedicure.
Unless it’s done while seated in a Lazy Boy in a corner of the spa while your feet soak in a puddle of water in a shallow bucket. And apparently the nail technician was a blind child, as she not only painted my toenails but also painted the skin surrounding the toes. Sweet.
But hey, for $80 I got my feet washed, my skin shed and my actual toes painted red.
Now if that doesn’t say Peru, I don’t know what does.
I’m pretty sure that this spa had a party when I left. We are talking P-Diddy “I’m on a boat,” champagne flowing, balls to the wall party.
Moral of the Story:
Don’t miss your flight. Not. That. Complicated.
I’m pretty sure I’m black balled from the Lima Airport Ramada. At least at the spa. They probably tacked up my skin and bodily fluids as a reminder for all future customers of what NOT to do.