Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm back in the United States

I spent from August 28 to September 10 in Peru (Lima, Cusco, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca) and Bolivia (La Paz). It was my very first trip outside the United States and now I'm back and it's so good to be here.

On Friday, my trip back to Chicago stretched to about 20 hours in transit, but that was okay because at the end I was HOME. I flew from La Paz to Miami and from Miami to Chicago. My one rushed hour in Miami was wonderful because it was my first hour back in the U.S with drinking fountains and safe food and normal bathrooms! I was so happy to see signage in English that I ignored the stunning sunset that held everyone else's attention. I just glanced at it, thinking, "Yeah, yeah, a sunset. Clouds, I got it. I've been looking at clouds for two weeks. Look at that poster in English!"

The view just couldn't compete with a poster for the NFL that brought tears to my eyes because it was evidence like no other that I was in the UNITED STATES!

In the O'Hare airport, I was excited to throw my arms around my husband and tell him how happy I was to see him and how wonderful it was to be back. I was so happy.

Then I sat down and did the other thing I'd been dreaming about all day: I ate a McDonald's hamburger with fries. Of course, I had only had one meal all day (around 1p) and at 10:30p wanted the most American food I could think of. I bought it right there at the airport and Bob watched me eat it. My friends, I'll never be able to convey how delicious it was to bite into those layers of plastic cheese, sugary bread and synthetic-tasting patties. That Quarter Pounder had the perfectly measured ingredients and too-easy-to-chew texture of its billions of brethren, but it gave me the unique experience of knowing that for the first time in two weeks, I was eating a meal that would not hurt me. And true to its mission of making me come back for more, that burger went down just fine.

Bob watched with bemusement and said he didn't know if he'd ever even seen me eat a McDonald's meal before. I don't do it often, but this was an emergency. The food in South America had not agreed with me at all and I restricted food and water so much that I actually lost five pounds.

Yesterday Bob and I went to IHOP, where I did my best to put those five pounds back on in one sitting. That night it was a China Buffet restaurant. In both places, my meal included vegetables that I ate with gusto, knowing it was produce I could trust.

My plan for my photos is to take the memory card to Walgreens and choose which ones I want printed out. When someone asks, I'll hand them over for viewing. I don't want to clutter my iPhoto with 290 photos of this one vacation, so these images I will keep contained in hard copy only.

Saturday morning I slept til almost 11 am. I barely slept while I was in South America, so later in the day I also took a four-hour nap. I walked around in a daze, but a grateful daze.

Chocolate-covered Jesus, it's good to be back.


Mick said...

Well I'm pleased to hear you got back safely and are back on home ground.
I think the places you visited were a bit too adventuress for a first trip out of your own country.

Should maybe done somewhere more similar to the US and maybe a bit closer, reckon Canada would be a good suggestion. Of curse there is always England, we speak a similar language, eat the same food (including McDonalds) and you can drink our tap water.
Hey its only about 8 hours from Chicago and the money exchange rate is god for you Americans at present. Be warned though we do drive on the left so crossing the road could prove dangerous.

Mick said...

Just a suggestion for your photo's, save them on Flickr then you can email links to people you want to show them. You can make them public so anyone can see or private so only friends can see.

Regina said...

Actually, I might never want to look at these photos. I think I'll just leave them on the memory card at the back of a drawer.