Thursday, January 22, 2009

Signs of Cuzco

I'd asked my Puno hotel front desk to book me an airport taxi for 6:30 a.m.

At six, I went downstairs to breakfast. There was no one in the lobby and the breakfast man was busy getting the food ready. I went back upstairs and got my bag. I returned and poked my head in the kitchen.


The man didn't speak English, but he spoke coffee. He motioned me to sit down and wait.

I kept an eye on the front desk. Still no one. At 20 past, I gave up on the coffee and sat in the lobby drumming my fingers and wondering where the front desk clerk was. I needed to check out. The kitchen man watched nervously. He could see I was in a hurry.

The front desk clerk strolled in at 6:30. The kitchen guy gave her a bawling out. She was late and a tourist needed to check out.

I paid and asked where my taxi was.

"You want a taxi?"

"YES. I ordered one last night."

She shuffled papers and looked around and then called the taxi company.

"We can get one there at 7."

I started snarling at her.

"NOT okay. My flight is at 8. I need a taxi NOW, not at 7. NOW." (I had already checked in on-line, so was already cutting it closer than usual.)

She was flustered and started calling around. The kitchen guy gave her a look of disgust, walked out the front door, and stopped an empty taxi.

I was off to Cuzco. And when I got off the plane, the first thing I saw was a sign for oxygen. Cuzco is at altitude, but I don't know that a bottle of oxygen is required.