The flight, much like the 5-plus hour car ride now in our rearview, was sleepy time for Dr. D and Maggie. Beard luck would have it that Emily’s tv speaker system on her left side armrest was out of commish. We literally put our heads together into one set of earplugs and watched television cheek to cheek (at least close enough to it to count for imagery’s sake). I was hoping for a comedy, if not to see how funny we would look chuckling in sync, but we only had two choices: The Butler en Español or The Butler in English. We opted for the back-to-back viewing of The Butler in English. I’m fairly certain that Emily cried both times she saw it.
Upon scanning the flight map for what felt like days, crossing over the equator for the first time in 5 years, we landed in a land where taxi drivers outnumbered world travelers 1,000,000 to 1 … at least that’s what it felt like when we walked past customs and into the real world called Lima some time around midnight. Come to think of it, it really felt like we were in the middle of the Latin version of the airport scene in the movie Love Actually … Love Actually en español, if you will.
As soon as we told about 1,000 taxi drivers “no gracias” for a ride after midnight, we found ourselves face to face with the Ramada airport hotel (the only hotel and/or building in the square-mile visible sight). Here is what you need to know, at least everything Doshi told us, about our reservation for the hotel. He did a swell job of securing a hotel room with 2 twin beds. Problem being, and he asked again to double check before arriving, the hotel has a strict 3 person occupancy per room policy, regardless of having money to pay for another person. The choices were to either pay for an entire new room for a large amount for the 5 hours we had until heading on the next flight to Cusco or to Mission Impossible the 4th member of our team into the room already secured. Before heading inside to scope security, and questioning ourselves if we’ve ever heard of security at any Ramada, Doshi thought it would be best for Emily to be the sneaker since I would obviously stand out more that her in size alone to kill the mission.
This is how it went down:
-We left Emily outside.
-Doshi, Maggie (aka Maggaret as Doshi misspelled it on her airline ticket … and they still let her pass security, another story in the end), and I casually walked up to the front desk with ALL of our luggage in tow.
-As we made copies of our passports and signed over everything but our bank account numbers, a sly Emily walked into the Lobby asking where she could use a bathroom – knowing all Central & South American countries pay homage to the gringo passport any time before and after midnight, and knowing Maggie would meet her in the bathroom as soon as she could after registration to tell Emily our room number.
-We looked around, and much like a Mission Impossible movie, there were security guards worthy of James Bond in suits and radios everywhere we looked. There were two beside the elevator, one inside the elevator, one beside the staircase, two behind the front desk, and one at the bar beyond the elevator. Ramada was stepping up its international game!
-Doshi and I took the elevator upstairs to the 2nd floor, saw another security guard walking the hallway when the doors opened, and we made it safely to our room without having to have our hands held. I didn’t doubt Emily, but I was starting to doubt our plan and budget for the rest of the trip if we had to pay for another room out of the blue the very first night abroad. I was more than ready to change names & places with Emily if need be and sleep standing up at the airport just 20 yards away from the top-notch security laden hotel (it wouldn’t be my first time doing so overseas, and it probably wouldn’t be my last).
-Maggie briskly walked into our room, and said the room number was delivered successfully.
-After 5 long minutes that felt like 50, Emily barged into the room, spunk intact, with no security guard in sight behind her (come to find out that the door shut on one behind her).
-Emily said she basically did a classic defensive end swim move technique juke to the elevator security man, told another she needed to see her friend in room #whatever room number we had, and then acted like she didn’t understand broken English when the guard asked which of the 2 guys or 1 female was her friend.
-Lesson learned = never underestimate Emily or any woman on a mission.
-Doshi and Maggie celebrated by going back inside the belly of the beast downstairs, the iron curtain if you will, by ordering two Pisco drinks at the hotel bar while Emily and I celebrated by staying in hiding, putting on PJ’s, and swiftly crashing the beds for an extended nap before our next flight.