I've accumulated a lot of junk lately, and I've been lugging it around for far too long. So this morning, I did a big sort through my overstuffed backpack, and took out everything that I don't need to take with me anymore, or that I can throw away. All of the former, I packed into a cardboard box, and took to the local post office in Miraflores. Included in this box was a bottle of fine, semi-prepared pisco, that I'd bought at the winery in Ica, and that I wanted to send home as a souvenir. However, the post office staff wouldn't let me mail the pisco: apparently, it's prohibited to mail alcohol out of Peru. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to drink it, then!
This afternoon's parade in Miraflores was amazing; but unfortunately, it did also have its nasty bits. While walking through the thicker-than-thick throngs back to Loki, someone took advantage of the tight situation, and snatched all the cash out of my pocket. Anyway, could have been worse: all I lost was cash (excluding coins), and it wasn't much more than about USD$60. I knew it was a good idea to just leave my cash loose in my pocket, while I'm travelling: much better than them stealing a wallet, that's also filled with things like ATM cards and driver's licences.
Our trip to the Madidi jungle may have been full of activities during the day-time, but there wasn't an awful lot to do at night. For the several hours that we had before and after dinner each evening, we had to somehow keep ourselves occupied at our campsite. Unfortunately, since nobody in our group had any playing cards, things were starting to get a bit desperate. Which is why we took desperate measures. We were forced to manufacture our own emergency playing cards.
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.
Although our friend the monito was cute and cuddly, and although he seemed to warm to me more than to anyone else, it seems that me and monkeys just weren't meant to be. After dinner tonight, back in Pilcopata, I suddenly broke out in massive spots of swollen skin rashes, which became totally, unbearably itchy. I also started feeling dizzy and light-headed. Luckily, someone gave me a few anti-histomines; and the next morning, after a solid sleep, I was feeling fine once again. But it must have been an allergic reaction to the monkey. Looks like despite the fun and games, I'll have to try and keep my distance from monkeys in the future.
As of tonight, my beloved little blue Nokia 3100 mobile phone is MIA (Missing In Action). I think it fell out of my pocket, when I got out of a taxi this evening. Very sad, and very much a pain in the a$$: people have been calling me (and vice versa) on it every day while I've been in Cusco, and would have continued doing so for the remainder of my time here, were my phone not lost. I've already tried calling and SMSing it numerous times, but so far, with no response. I still have hopes of recovering it, but the chances of that happening around here are pretty slim. Looks like I might have to say goodbye to my phone, and move on.
I got home from my cooking class this evening, to learn that the father in my host family, Mario, is sick with pneumonia, and has been taken to hospital. He was admitted at about 3pm this afternoon, and Flora has been there with him the whole time. He's not in the best condition at the moment, so I can only pray for him, and hope that his health improves soon. Obviously, this is going to change the operation of the family for at least the next few days.