Monday, June 23, 2014

Peru - 3rd Time the Charm

The idea of traveling to Peru is always in our thoughts. Not only is it a chance to travel out of country which is something thoroughly enjoyable but we also have a close friend in Lima. We'll refer to him as Carlos since he is retired military and want to keep his last name out of print. Carlos had a particularly interesting and precise occupation in the not so far past.

His job, and thus the requirement for anonymity, was to hunt down terrorists who belonged to the Sendero Luminioso (Shining Path). The Shining Path was a group of murderers and thugs led by Professor Abimael Guzman who went into the hinterlands of Peru terrorizing the farmers. Guzman espoused a Maoist form of Communism and wanted the government of Peru to have a total regime makeover. The military government of Peru allowed for the first time a free election in 1980 but instead of getting involved Guzman and his followers decided to start a guerrilla war against the government which left countless dead in the next twelve years until his capture in 1992. According to a report from 2012 there is supposed to be nearly 4,000 current members of this terrorist group who still raises its pathetic but dangerous head to murder innocents.

Then again, what terrorist group doesn't kill innocent men, women, and children? Remember Beslan in 2004? If not read my novel 'Soft Target'.

Unlike many countries who want to treat terrorists as common criminals, Peru had a different approach. Elimination versus long stretched-out court appearances which tend to make terrorists into celebrities. No, Peru's idea was efficient, quick and permanent. As a Russian spy once told Carlos - "In Russia we will build monuments for any civilians who die as we wipe out these terrorist thugs. It's how we do business and our business is short and lethal to those who want to vent their nonsense by taking hostages." Barbaric? I'm just a writer and not in the first hand field of ridding the world of those who make it their goal to terrorize.

Enough of the philosophical typing.

My lovely spouse, Lauren, and I first met Carlos while on our honeymoon in Peru. Typical tourists we took in everything we could see in that first short trip in Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu.

What you looking at?
 It had been such a marvelous trip that we decided to return to Peru with our three daughters, Erica, Jessica, and Kelly. This time we stayed for a month and they loved it just as we had, but despite the occasional complaint since "Dad's" idea of an easy day while vacationing is leisurely twelve mile hikes around cities and sites.

"Rub your feet tonight but let's get some miles in. Never know if you'll be back here again in your lifetime."
The three girls grinned and stepped up. 

It seems only a few short years, later we found ourselves back on a Lan Peru airliner heading to South America to see Carlos. This time there were three of us, John, Laureen and our great friend Paul Bakas who would be the videographer and confidant.

We have action
The purpose of this journey was six-fold: visit with Carlos and family, research for John's new novel, obtain material for our blog, film a trailer in the Amazon, do some twenty-two minute video segments on traveling, and to have fun.

The fun, there was no doubt, would be had.

When we land back at LAX we will be hitting the keyboard with tales from Peru and especially from Iquitos - the largest city in the world, with a population of over 400,000, which can only be arrived at by boat on the Amazon or by air. There aren't any roads in or out.

And the golf course issues machetes with each bag of clubs.

If my ball is eaten by a Caiman - is it a one stroke penalty?

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