Things haven't gone exactly according to plan today: due to my bike's snapped axle, I had to end the day's riding far earlier than planned; so my hopes of reaching the Monti Iblei now have to be postponed until tomorrow. When I realised that I'd just missed the morning opening hours of the bike repair shop, and that I'd have to wait all afternoon to get my bike fixed up, I decided to find somewhere to dump my shwag for the rest of the day, and to put my feet up for the night. I checked in to the nearby Caravaggio B&B, a nice little place several blocks away from Ortygia (hence somewhat more affordable). I then had the whole afternoon to explore, enjoy, and relax in Syracuse.
It's been a nice day-and-a-half in New York — but the time has come to head up to Boston, and to see my family there. This afternoon, I hopped on the train with Amtrak, and did the 4-hour journey the scenic way. Unfortunately, the train ended up leaving NY's Penn Station about 40 minutes late, and it was an hour late by the time it reached Boston. Plus, it was absolutely packed — all of this because of it being Columbus Day long weekend, I assume. Bit of a pain for my uncle, who was waiting around when he came to pick me up from the station. Also a slight ripoff — apparently, the Amtrak tickets are much cheaper if you book them a few weeks in advance — I bought my ticket yesterday, and it cost me a whopping US$111! In retrospect, perhaps I should have just gotten the bus with Greyhound. Anyway, it was a good ride, and I got there in the end.
I wanted to send a New York postcard to my old host family back in Cusco, Peru, before I left for Boston. So this morning, I went to the Central Post Office, near Penn Station in Manhattan, to send off the postcard. Well, it turns out that going to the post office on Columbus Day is a Really Bad Idea™. The Central Post Office was, apparently, the only post office in all of Greater New York that was open today. I walked inside, and there was one service desk open (with the other 25 or so roller-doored shut), and nobody at the information booth, and a queue that was literally about 100 feet long (that's over 30 metres!). And all I wanted to do was buy a stamp. Stuff that — I'm not waiting 3 hours to buy a daym stamp — I'll send the bloody thing in Boston.
Got back to Huaraz this evening, from my 5-day Santa Cruz-Llanganuco hike, to discover that Jo's Place is full. I'd asked them to reserve me a bad for tonight, when I left on Wednesday: but they said that they couldn't make any guarantees, as they were already booked in advance for 28 de Julio (Peru Independence Day) weekend. Anyway, I begged the very-hospitable Mrs. Jo to find me somewhere — anywhere! — to crash for the night; and she let me sleep in the cantina (the breakfast kitchen / dining room). I didn't care where I slept tonight; I just cared that I slept. Which I did. Soundly.
Fate was against me as I boarded my bus out of Puno (to Copacabana) this morning. I'd just gotten on the bus and sat down, when I remembered that my passport was in my big backpack, which was stowed in the luggage compartment underneath. Since we were going to be crossing the border into Bolivia on this bus ride, I needed my passport. So I got off the bus, and ducked down to the luggage compartment to extract my passport from my bag. And that's how I left Peru with a bang.