Peru, Part 6: Travel Woes and Whoas

This is the last of my posts about Peru. I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences with you! I’ll be returning to my regular, random posts next time. -Sarah

It seems there’s one in every group.* You know, the person who thinks s/he’s the most important person, not only in the group, but in the world. In our group, it was Becca.** Becca would consistently be the last person back on the bus, forcing the rest of us to wait for her to buy something or take one last photo, often making us late or limiting our time at the next place. Not only that, but when we were at a site, she was consistently the last person in an area, always lagging behind (again, to take photos), which wouldn’t have been so bad if, when she rejoined the group, she stayed at the back, knowing she’d be near the rear when we’d move to the next area.

This is at the base of the Sillustani Tombs, a pre-Inca site.

This is at the base of the Sillustani Tombs, a pre-Inca site.

Instead, Becca would elbow her way to the front, close to our guide, and would often ask the person next to her what she had missed. She was shorter than most of the other people on our tour, certainly much shorter than Sara and I,*** and I sympathize with that, but she didn’t just push her way to the front. She would push her way to the front and then stand in front of whatever the guide happened to be showing to the group, completely blocking everyone else’s view.****

Flowers growing among the rocks.

Flowers growing among the rocks.

And not just their real-time views; she would also move in front of people when they were taking pictures so she could take a picture of the same thing, thus ruining the shot for the person in front of whom she stepped.

The most intact tomb at the site.

The most intact tomb at the site.

The best***** examples of her self-centeredness happened on a day trip toward the end of our time in Peru. Our guide took us to a site near Cuzco and for once Becca and her husband were the first people on the bus.****** Unfortunately, they were sitting directly in front of Sara and me, and in the short amount of time that they had been on the bus, Becca had already reclined her seat, rendering it impossible to pass.

“Becca,” I said, “can you please move your seat?”

“Whaaaaaaat?” she said, looking around as if she didn’t know who was talking to her.

“Can you move your seat?” I said again. More looking around, more seeming confusion. I said it a third time. Still no response.

This was a sacred site that was supposed to have a special energy to it. We were told to stand still and quiet.

This was a sacred site that was supposed to have a special energy to it. We were told to stand still and quiet.

“Move your seat,” I said, this time less polite. I got the impression she hoped I would give up and let her keep her seat reclined. I might have if a) I could get past the seat as it was (I don’t like confronting people), b) she were Sara’s height and clearly needed the extra room (but I was asking on Sara’s behalf), or c) she wasn’t my travel nemesis. I could also understand if she found the seat that way and it was broken in the reclining position, but she clearly had moved it back just before we got back on the bus, since it wasn’t reclined when we stepped off just a few minutes earlier.

This is the back of that "intact" tomb above.

This is the back of that “intact” tomb above.

Finally, Becca’s long-suffering husband, Zack (not his real name), reached over her and pulled the lever to return the seat to its upright position. That’s right. Someone else had to adjust her seat back.

This is an island on Lake Umayo not far from the Sillustani tombs. (Near Puno, Peru)

This is an island on Lake Umayo not far from the Sillustani tombs. (Near Puno, Peru)

No that's not a baby alpaca. It's a baby vicuna, the national animal, which is protected. Many of them live on this island, according to our guide.

No that’s not a baby alpaca. It’s a baby vicuna, the national animal, which is protected. Many of them live on this island, according to our guide.

On this same trip, we visited an alpaca wool outlet store. They had tons of baby alpaca items, including several ponchos in what we thought was a clearance section because they were significantly reduced in price (everything else was $100-$250 and they were $28). This, of course, made everyone want to try one on.  I found one in the color I like (blue) and stepped back in order to take off my jacket and sweater in order to try it on. I had no more than set the poncho down for a second (while I was clearly undressing) when Becca came over and started to grab the poncho I’d picked out.

This was the factory we went to.

This was the factory we went to.

“Ooh, I like that one,” she said, reaching for it. I had to resist the urge to slap her hand away. She was like that with everything, though; if you found a good deal on an article of clothing or piece of jewelry, she wanted to know where you got it and then went there to buy the same thing. If you tried a restaurant, she ate there the next meal. If you took a photo of something, she snapped ten AND photobombed yours. No one could have an experience on this trip without her.

Baby vicuna! I had to take this photo again because (yep) Becca photobombed it.

Baby vicuna!

I had to take this photo again because (yep) Becca photobombed it.

I had to take this photo again because (yep) Becca photobombed it.

Thankfully, Sara and I found ways to avoid her, and I managed to keep my cool throughout the trip. Becca and I won’t be pen pals any time soon, though, and if she shows up on another trip of mine I might have to ask for a refund. But really, the trip was amazing overall (good job, Groupon!) I highly recommend Peru. You won’t regret it, even if you’ve got a Becca in your group. (Don’t be the Becca if you don’t, though.)

Here are some photos that didn’t make it in to the other posts. Enjoy!

Sunshine, Sillustani Tombs

Sara, contemplating Lake Umayo.

Sara, contemplating Lake Umayo.

 

There is a bird in those rafters.

There’s a bird on the roof!

Another set of ruins we visited.

Another set of ruins we visited.

This is a loaf of bread.

This is a loaf of bread.

We went to a really nice dinner in Cuzco, which included dancing. The first pair did a flamenco-like dance.

We went to a really nice dinner in Cuzco, which included dancing. The first pair did a flamenco-like dance.

Very romantic.

Very romantic.

Then a foursome did a very strange dance involving lit candles and a flag/handkerchief hanging out of her skirt. The guy would try to light her on fire, and she would dance very fast to prevent it. When he finally did light her skirt on fire, she put it out WITH HER DANCING. Whoa.

Then a foursome did a very strange dance involving lit candles and a flag/handkerchief hanging out of her skirt. The guy would try to light her on fire, and she would dance very fast to prevent it. When he finally did light her skirt on fire, she put it out WITH HER DANCING. Whoa.

After the "professionals" danced, they went to the crowd to ask for, I mean, grab "volunteers." Guess who the guy in blue picked? Yes, ME! I had long hair, a flammable sweater, and the problem mentioned in the previous post. But, I managed not to start on fire. So that was good.

After the “professionals” danced, they went to the crowd to ask for, I mean, grab “volunteers.” Guess who the guy in blue picked? Yes, ME! I had long hair, a flammable sweater, and the problem mentioned in the previous post. But, I managed not to start on fire. So that was good.

Obligatory cat photo, because I'm a good friend.

Obligatory cat photo, because I’m a good friend.

*Maybe not every group, but every group larger than 20.

**Not her real name, but I feel like Becca fits. It’s in the hard “b”, hard “k” sound combination.

***As I’ve posted, Sara and I are pretty tall.

****And by everyone, I mean mostly mine. I may be tall, but I’m not a full head taller than everyone and I don’t have x-ray vision, no matter how many carrots I’ve eaten. I actually tapped her on the shoulder once to ask her to move back (which I never do), but I just couldn’t believe the gall it took to walk through a crowd of people, stand directly in front of someone, and lean over what everyone was trying to see. That level of self-absorption is stunning to me.

*****Worst?

******Seriously, it got so bad that the rest of the group (including and led by our guide, who was paid to like everyone)  ganged up on Becca (and her husband) for being the last ones on the bus all the time. Group-shaming worked, though, because she got a little better, but I started to feel bad for her.

 

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