Brett, Mary Ellen and I just returned from a fabulous vacation in Peru (South America, not Indiana). We first flew to Miami (Florida, not Ohio) where we had a 13-hour layover, which is more like a sleepover, but without jammies and a blankie. What do you do for 13 hours at the Miami International Airport? I wanted to just wander around and explore, but with my sense of direction I was afraid I’d get lost. I didn’t want to be MIA at MIA.

To help pass the time, I decided to do a little exercising, because jumping-jacks at Gate 6 at midnight seemed like totally appropriate behavior. My most innovative workout was to walk on the moving walkway in the opposite direction, simulating my treadmill at home. I was doing well until this really attractive flight attendant walks by and I sling-shot backwards into an Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand.

By the time we boarded at 2 a.m., I had walked just under 20,000 steps, nearly double my usual daily 10,000. “I’m proud I surpassed my goal,” I told my wife.

“Yes, Dick, and based on the stains on your shirt, you also “surpassed” a McDonald’s, a Nathan’s Hot Dogs and a Baskin Robbins. Any more exercise steps and you wouldn’t be able to squeeze into your airplane seat. 

After a long flight, we landed in Lima (Peru, not Ohio). Our ultimate destination was Machu Picchu, high in the Andes Mountains. This 15th century Incan citadel is often called the Lost City, but I hope the people who lived there in the 1400s didn’t feel that way. I mean, it was right there when they got out of bed. They couldn’t have been that bad with directions.

Our tour guide on the trip was Rudy, the best guide we have ever had. Each evening before bedtime, everyone on the tour got an email telling us when to get up, what time to have breakfast, what to wear based on the weather, and exactly what we were going to do all day. Many in our group were grateful for this information, but it was old hat for me. I get a text like that every morning from Mary Ellen. 

The food in Peru was delicious, but there was one traditional dish the Wolfsies avoided: guinea pig on a stick. This supposed delicacy would make anything on a stick at the Indiana State Fair much more appealing in comparison. We enjoyed the sights and it was an interesting shopping opportunity for my wife, who found some beautiful Peruvian jewelry at reasonable prices.

One day we visited an alpaca farm, and that night the menu included alpaca stew. It seemed creepy to eat that dish after seeing these adorable animals, but I do love my new alpaca sweater. 

When we returned home, there was a small block party going on in our cul de sac and Mary Ellen was showing our neighbors the elegant necklace and bracelet she had bought in Cusco, a thriving city about 45 miles from Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, they thought she said Costco, and that took a lot of the charm away from the story. 

We’re already discussing plans for next year’s adventure. My wife is thinking Costa Rica. I am thinking Brazil (Indiana, not South America).

Dick Wolfsie has been a reporter for WISH-TV in Indianapolis the past 30 years. His columns appear in 30 Indiana newspapers and he can be heard each weekend on public radio stations across the state. Email: wolfsie@aol.com.

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