Max reports on the trip to Colca:
After saying goodbye to our loved ones, we all piled in the bus where the air was filled with excited anticipation. Our border crossing took some time as our passports disappeared into the backroom for an extended period. We were able to watch the latest NFL results, so it was not all bad. Eventually we got on our way to the airport. Compared to driving into Canada, getting through security was a breeze. In fact, only one student had illicit contraband intercepted (too much sunscreen for carry-on). We arrived at our gate with nearly an hour to spare. The following plane ride was relaxing and uneventful, but upon arriving in Toronto, our trip got much more interesting. We were scheduled to have a 12-hour layover, which was long, but manageable. We wandered through the terminal, ate some food, slept a little, and got ready to board. The plane was, of course, delayed multiple times. We finally were able to board. Two and a half hours later, after restarting the airplane multiple times, we were deplaned. We were a little disappointed, but the food vouchers made it okay. After eating some more and boarding again, we finally got on a functional aircraft. The flight was long, but otherwise uneventful (especially for Bacchus, who managed to fall asleep before takeoff for the second consecutive flight). We arrived in Lima and sorted out new flights to Cusco. Another six-hour airport wait later and we were off to Cusco with several students upgraded to business class as they had overbooked our flight with all the people who had missed connections. Saeja had to take a separate flight, so we had a few more hours of waiting in the Cusco airport. After buying some Inka Cola and chilling in the sun, we met up with Vladimir along with the Mayor of Colca who had made the arduous journey to welcome us to town. We started the five-hour journey to the Colca and the Quechua School. Early in our journey, we stopped for gas and our first taste of coca tea.
After stopping for dinner, we hunkered down for the long ride. A few hours in, some students started feeling a little car sick, so we made a stop. And then we made a few more, and a few more. Our five-hour bus ride took a little while longer than that, but at 3:30am we finally pulled into our home for the next week. A few students jumped out of the car forgetting warnings about the possibility of light headedness associated with altitude. They were quickly reminded as they needed a few moments on the ground before being ready to walk to their rooms to experience the joy of sleeping in a bed for the first time in nearly three nights. While the decreased oxygen might have left us gasping, it would be nothing compared to the views that we would truly take our breaths away the next day.
-Max, High School Student