This Is Madness, South America — Will We Make It Home?

Peru is exploding in civil unrest and we’re smack dab in the middle of it. The protestors we passed in Juliaca laid siege to the airport and set cars and trucks on fire. Arequipa, the perfect little town I wanted to get back to, is completely blockaded. People have been stranded in the bus station for 2 days and the airport is surrounded by tanks. Lima has been turned upside down by protestors who, one traveler wrote today, have tagged all the historic buildings. The teachers who don’t want to get fired if they fail a basic skills test THREE times have been joined by construction workers, farmers, and anyone else with a bone to pick with the President.

Despite the fact that Peru Rail took $400 from us for train tickets yesterday and the tourist board took $120 from me today for Machu Picchu tickets, it looks highly unlikely we’ll make it there. The latest info we can find on the internet says that Peru Rail has suspended operations to Machu Picchu after strikers tried to take the station today and have blocked the tracks with rocks (there is a seemingly infinite supply of stone here). The most frustrating thing is that we can’t get a straight story from anyone. Everyone in the hotel and tourist information center acts as if things will magically resolve, but President Garcia called out the army today and the local news reports matters are only getting worse (as best we can figure given our limited Spanish). And we thought Bolivia was crazy!

Cusco isn’t a bad place to be stranded but we have no idea how we’re going to make it to Lima for our flight home next week. We can’t get a bus to anywhere else in the country and we don’t have any flights booked. Lima isn’t looking like that attractive of a destination at the moment anyway. I’ve emailed the consular representative here to get some advice, but for the time being all we can say is “This is madness.” 11 months on the road without incident and we get this in our final 10 days!

10 thoughts on “This Is Madness, South America — Will We Make It Home?

  1. Hey guys. I love reading about your adventures. Please be safe in Peru and on the rest of your way back home. Hope you get to make it to Machu Picchu.

    Can’t wait to read about the rest of your journey.

    Peace,

    Vicki

  2. Y’all are in our prayers for your safety!!
    Please be careful and we know Heavenly Father will watch out for you!
    love to all!

  3. Wow, stay safe, that is the main thing. We’ll all be prayiing for your safe and timely return home. Perhaps if ole Presidante would educate the educators they wouldn’t have to worry so much about feeding their own families, thus fighting so hard to keep their jobs. People faced with desperate times will go to desperate measures. I don’t know about anyone else, but we haven’t heard about any of this on the news. God works in mysterious ways and perhaps He is using your family as a vessel somehow. Just a thought.

  4. It has been a daily pleasure to read your posts (almost) every day since reading about your family on Oprah.com. I am truly saddened (for us!) to think that soon your journey, as well as the journeys your readers have taken with you, will soon be over. You are a wonderful family, and it has been an honor to share this experience with you – I can’t wait to read the book! There will be a book, right? :)
    Cheers!
    Kelly (Boston, MA)

  5. We arrived home from Peru last night and saw some of the protests, probably made it out just in time. I can give you a person in Cuzco who may be able to help. Be careful,
    Mary

  6. Andri,
    As if you needed to bring home any more wild stories. This one will likely rank up there with the best. No doubt you’ll come back safely, but we’ll be praying for you just the same.

  7. Hi,
    I found your site quite by accident back in May and have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures – with a tinge of envy and inspiration. I have been moved to email you on your latest experiences. So glad you got to the Altiplano though,it is such a shame you had to leave Bolivia earlier than planned and are now stranded in Peru. I was in Bolivia and Peru last year and in 2004 – they are trully amazing countries (when at peace). I hope you get to Machu Pichu and the Sacred Valley – great photographic opportunities there. Stay safe and thank you for sharing your journey.

    Susan (from Brisbane Australia)

  8. Hi, Anne:

    So sad to read your email. Having travelled in latin america with my kids, I understand the stress you must feel. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Not sure about the information you received on LIMA. I was just in LIMA on a city tour most of Friday, July 13th; no problems; no protestors; lots of police/military. No spray paint.

    I flew out Friday night at 11:30pm on Continental airlines – everything was normal at the airport.

    I am very interested in your perspective on Cusco. I was supposed to fly to Cusco on Friday the July 13th; but I cancelled at the last minute. The tour operator is demanding full payment saying everything is FINE in Cusco that all the trains, buses, planes were operating at full capacity on Friday July 13th. I wonder….

    Try not to worry; you WILL make it home;

    Blessings,

    Barb

  9. Hi Andrus family,

    So sorry to hear about all the protests in Peru. There were also a lot of protests “El Sendero” when I was serving my mission, but they never closed Machu Picchu. We were planning to take our family there in December to build a school. I know things will work out for you all and am glad you got to see El Valle Sagrado and Machu Picchu. Having served in Cuzco for 6 months, I was able to see Machu Picchu 4 times, and it truly is one of the spectacular vistas of my life. I hope to be able to share it with my kids. We all look forward to your return. Bryce is so excited to have Dax get home.

Leave a Reply