Thursday, July 28, 2016

I Speak Sarcasm Fluently

Reporting live from my computer and journal, I bring you another episode of tales from South America!  These two tales both take place in Peru and I explain some ridiculous situations through my sarcastic sense of humor.  Because sarcasm is the best kind of humor (when done correctly) and I use it often to cope with reality.  You should try it too.  In the meantime enjoy my stories! 

A Postal Language Barrier
Captain's Log: June 17th 2016

“You want to send postcards; you have to wait in this line.”  Some local Peruvian in the post office had some pity on me as I looked around like a lost puppy for about 5 minutes, as I could not – for the life of me – decipher the downtown Lima post office to send some postcards to friends and family.  It was my last day in Lima before embarking on a week long journey to Cusco, and I wasn’t sure when I would have another opportunity to send some souvenirs back to the states.  After positioning myself in line and saw that there were just 2 people in front of me I thought: Oh great I should be outta here in no time! 

...45 minutes later…My Lima host’s words were ringing in my ear: “don’t go to the post office, it is terrible!  Nobody sends mail here in Peru!”   

Let me remind you, there were only two people in front of me; 2 - not 22 people – 2 people!  If there is any blame to place, I have to place it in the hands of the person right in front me.  She had to send 10 packages – 10 damn packages!  They weren’t just simple cards in envelopes, they were packages.  Do you know how long it takes to process just one package?!  And whatever Peru’s postal system entails; it is shit – so inefficient!  The worker weighed each package at least twice, sometimes three times.  Really?!  Because weighing it just once isn’t enough?!  Don’t even get me started on each form that had to be filled out for each godforsaken package – then the information had to go into their computer system!  Really?!  Really?!  You can't just fill out one form?  And do you really have to put ALL that information (from each form) in your dinosaur old computer that likely takes twice as lone to load?!  Ten times over, for each damn package.  Meanwhile I'm resorting to crossing my arms, tapping my foot and glancing at the time every couple of minuets as my patience is running thin!  

Can you feel the frustration I felt – because that is only a fraction of it after waiting in line for 45 minutes!  Remember, I just wanted to send a handful of postcards!  This had to be some cruel and sick joke.  It’s like when you stand in line at the grocery store and you just want to pay for some eggs and milk and somebody in front of you has $200 worth of groceries – and the express line isn’t open!  Cruel, really just cruel!  After telling this story to a friend recently, and asking why I didn’t just throw the postcard idea out the window and forget about sending the postcards, I explained:  “after a certain time I was already too invested.  I couldn’t turn back at that point – I was committed!”  Call me insane I suppose. 

Then, I get to the counter!  Finally, it’s my turn!  The time I spent standing in this postal line going partially insane, I can probably assume in good faith I shed off some time in purgatory for any un- repented sins I’ll have at the end of my life.  But I digress, the wait was finally over and I was ready to hand the woman my postcards, get them stamped, pay for the suckers and get out of that hell hole! 

Oh no, my torture session wasn’t over yet!  Let more premature purgatory time continue!  “Quiero enviar estos seis tarjetas postales a los estados unidos; cuandos soles?”   In my frustrated state, I literally read these Spanish words translated from my phone asking to send postcards to the US and wondering how many soles (Peruvian currency) it would cost me.  The woman on the other end of the window (who HAD to have noticed I wasn't a confident Spanish speaker) responded with the longest, fastest running Spanish I have ever heard in my life!  This is what is sounded like: “Bbbbbberrrrrrrthhhhhhh.”  Literally and seriously she talked right over my head; we’re talking dear and headlights over my head!  This is exactly how I felt.  This is what it must feel like for a dear before they get mauled.  I gestured to her if she could type what she said in my translator app.  Her response was quick: “No!”  Well I didn’t need a translator for that! (insert an eye roll paired with a deep frustrated sigh here) 

I type something else in my app and say my pathetic, broken Spanish to her as she looks at me (eyebrow raised with her glasses on the brim of her nose) like the pathetic idiot I was at this present moment.  And…another  fast and out comes another long Spanish reply!  I’m thinking: why yes lady, by some miraculous miracle all my high school Spanish classes suddenly came rushing back to the forefront of my mind and I can now understand every word that is coming out of your mouth, AND, I can give you a perfect response!  My high school Spanish teacher Mr. Hatori would be so proud of me.  I am able to gather “seis” (six) soles, then proceed to hear “treinta y seis” (thirty-six) soles.  “What?  How do you tell me 6, then tell me 36 in the same sentence?!” 

Before any of you are quick to predict what she was saying, and judge my lack of judgement at this moment of weakness hear me out.  At this point I had spent close to an hour in line at a foreign post office; with only two people in front of me; with the postal worker literally talking right over me as if I could magically understand Spanish out of thin air.  I would have been quite content at that point if somebody had just decided to throw lighter fluid on me and flicked a lit match to simply put me outta my misery.  Sarcasm! 

Jokes aide: let’s all agree that ALL my better judgement was out the window along with my sanity!  My redhead side was out and claws out!  In the moment of complete and utter frustration I cracked – and by cracked I mean to say I started “raising my voice” rambling and crying!  Yes, this thirty year old, grown ass woman, started crying – it was out of frustration and loss of some sanity.  No judgement allowed here.  Again, jokes aside, the lady on the other end of the counter FINALLY had some pity on me as I gave up trying to use my Spanish translator app.  She grabbed another worker who was fluent in English (because you couldn't have grabbed an interpreter sooner?), and who could communicate to me that the cost was 6 soles for EACH postcard which would come out to 36 soles.  You can’t imagine how idiotic I felt at this point – in that moment I was that dumb American.  Just remember: all my patience was gone!  At the very least, I hope my narration of this story made you laugh or at least brought a smile to your face as you pictured my sorry and pathetic self!

Side note: I did have other friends and family I thought I would send postcards to THROUGHOUT my travels; but after that...  Nope!  Nobody else got a cute handwritten note from me, from the Southern Hemisphere!  Hell nah!    

The Worst/Best Surprise  
Captain's Log: June 29th 2016

“Surprise!!!” “What?!”  As I gaze painfully at a pile of stone stairs that didn't seem to have an end.  “You have GOT to be kidding me!!  This is the surprise, Wily?!  Really?!  This is the great surprise you were talking about?! This is that great FUCKING surprise you were raving to us about?!"

The start of the hike through the Inka Trail! 
I’m fairly confident it’s a known fact I did a ton of walking and hiking while in Peru and Ecuador.  Obviously one of the longer hikes, and one that sticks out was the hike I did through part of the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu!  It goes without saying this hike and my two day trip was one of my fondest trips while on my month trip in South America!  The company I went through (Wayki Trek) was phenomenal and the eight others in my trek group and I could not have gotten along better – really!  We had a great time together.  
I must say though…after a bus pick up at 5am; taking a 2 hour bus ride from Cusco to the train station in Ollantaytambo, Peru; then to take a 2 hour train ride from Ollantaytambo to get off the train (literally) in the middle of the woods (literally, not even a train station platform) to the starting point of our 6 hour hike through the Inka trail, I'm sure anyone can understand how tired we were by a certain point.  

My Inka Trail group! 
Now as I stood 6 hours later hiking this world famous path; uphill; with a pack on my back; with steps two feet steep; all my energy (or so I thought) was expelled and just the sheer sight of these “monkey steps” looked like I might just pass out and die.  At least I would have an epic death and be thought as forever young!  As I mustered the residue of effort left inside of me, I crawled – literally crawled – up those godforsaken 3 feet steep or higher stone bricks with my sore feet and hands.  I felt like a toddler who just wanted the ball at the top of a staircase.  Only in this case my ball was whatever lay at the top of these monkey stairs that were going to kill me before I got my precious ball.  

What made this even more hysterical was how the nine of us in our group struggled and strained up to the top, while our guides almost skipped, pranced, jumped and strutted up with ease – no hands either.  Did I mention we had to craw with our hands?  We looked pitiful in comparison to our guides.  What a comical contrast!  They've been doing this a while, and I'm sure they secretly chuckle every time they watch a group struggle and strain up those ancient bricks!  

The priceless moment! 
To top off this situation, one of our comrades decided to grab a picture of this Kodak moment from the bottom of the stairs…as we had just started up the stairs…with our butts as the focal point to this Instagram worthy moment!  Think of the hashtags: (#ButtsInTheAir #LikeYouJustDontCare).  Then, in our exhaustion and slight delusion, from the day long hike, and our shock and protest of these horrid steps, and the impeccable timing of this picture worthy moment, two of us (myself being one) cracked, and we started laughing uncontrollably!  I mean, the situation was completely absurd – it was too much to handle and contain. We just turned to two uncontrollable laughing hyenas from The Lion King, crawling (inching really) up these steps to our epic death.  Just imagine two grown women in their thirties, exhausted, with packs on their backs, laughing uncontrollably and with the energy they DIDN'T have left crawling inch by inch up these 500 year old stone stairs, as some sentimental man in our group snaps a picture of this priceless moment to sell to MasterCard for their next commercial add.  I can hear it now: Inca Trek $400; backpackers backpack: $200; food and gear for the day: $20; snap shot picture of the monkey stairs paired with exhausted grown women and their asses as the focal point of the moment: priceless!  As we gathered ourselves and our breath, and we stood up at the top of these stairs, we passed through the Sungate and laid our unbelieving eyes on Machu Picchu for the first time – a city in the clouds frozen in time.  It was indeed an incredible surprise!  Now that was priceless! 

Top of the Monkey Stairs, after passing through the Sungate; as I look at Machu Picchu for the first time. 


  1. I am still laughing my ass off. Hysterical! I love that there're now written words that capture that moment! xxx

    1. You can't imagine how hard it was to describe the situation while typing, and not pause to crack up myself! Yes, I'm glad there are words to capture it too - it was far too good not to put it into words! haha!!