Miraflores, Lima, Peru

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I couldn’t sleep a wink last night, and it wasn’t over a silly fight. No, Sinatra would have to sit this one out.

It was 7:12 A.M, and the past four nights had led to this. Each night, I’d count the minutes away as I laid awake, restless, in the Pandora’s box of various pollution creeping into my room.

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Morning fog rolling in off the Pacific, mixing with the poor air quality.

“We finally finished our time in Lima…”

 

And we’re leaving to Cusco. The thought lingered in my head, integrating sensations of guilt and excitement. Atop of my floor mat the hostel called a bed, I was relieved to be moving on, but cheated by my own decisions to come here in the first place. Regret manifested from a layer of sticky sweat collecting on my body from the humid Miraflores coastline. Any minute now, I’d wake Bella and Rose up to get ready to leave.  

I couldn’t stay still. It might have been the distinguishable muffles from dozens of monotoned wails of never ending car traffic outside my window or the floating bits of debris in the water I splashed on my face. Spoiled by Suburban America, I had become an insomniac.

But it didn’t matter anymore. Even as I greeted the morning fog from the balcony window, a whimsical display of natural gases drifted off the Pacific waters to feed the smog coated skyline. I breathed deep through my nostrils and coughed.

The morning dragged on, and I retreated to the common room downstairs once the alarms went off to clear my head and wait for the girls to pack up.

“What time are we leaving?” João asked.

“Soon,” I said, staring at a collection of empty liquor bottles in the corner of the room. “We’re just waiting on Rose.”

“She’s almost done,” Bella said, entering the room.

I never considered eeriness a type of pollutant, but it settled finely around us.

“What time are we leaving?” Bella asked, yawning.  

“Soon,” said João.

Maybe I hadn’t given Lima a fair chance? The idea of underappreciation grappled my self-doubt all the way to the curbside into a Peruvian taxi.

“A dónde van?” The driver asked me, tossing out his finished cigarette.

“Uno momento,” I said, motioning for João to join me. Together we negotiated a fare from the hostel to the bus station.

Twelve Soles, not bad. And although I was still disoriented, I remained prideful of our job haggling the price from twenty Soles. Our driver only cemented my pride as our necks jerked and our heads smacked against the car.

Exhaust, cigarette smoke, and construction dust draped us inside the cab. If I couldn’t feel the toxins clogging my respiratory system, Bella’s colorless, quiet demeanor confirmed it. No amount of the driver’s jabs at American politics soothed the ride as he weaved and halted wherever possible.

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The view from the bus station.

But we made it. Twenty minutes and one shoe full of Bella’s vomit later, we made it to the station. I turned back to the city’s morning horizon–shades of yellows highlighted the gray skyline facade from the coast.

It was time to leave Lima, and I just wanted a good night’s sleep.

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