60. Arequipa III: DRAFT – skip this post unless you are following the entire journey
I’m glad to be back in Arequipa, but sorry to be leaving Perú.
My plan is to clear out the flat then drive fairly rapidly toward Lima, and sell the car there. It’s suddenly a crowded schedule, because I’ve a lot to do to close up the flat, but must leave a reasonable window of time in Lima to sell the car and take car of a few other errands.
Alone again, I’m relaxed. But the fates conspire. The car isn’t working, and several visits to a couple of garages seem for a long time to result in no improvement, but then do.
The next problem is that I should have followed my instinct in Puerto Maldonado and gotten a couple more words (“or his designee”) inserted into the document by which Ragna signed over any rights to the car. I could sell it — but I cannot leave it with Aurelio or my friend in Lima to sell it for me.
I decide simply to transfer the car to my landlord and friend, Aurelio, who will sell it when he can, and send me my share, or decide to keep it, and send me a certain amount. On balance, I will lose a couple of thousand from what I paid for the car, but I got six months’ hard driving out of it. Six times the loss wouldn’t have been enough to rent a car for the time I’ve been in Perú, and the car has given me flexibility and some unusual experiences and pictures. I wouldn’t care to trade those in (with the exception of that afternoon in Tacna!) for a bit more money.
The deal with Aurelio places a great deal of trust in him. I have no legal redress if he sells the car and keeps the proceeds. He won’t. Still, both of us know that most people wouldn’t trust most other people with that kind of money, and the knowledge contributes to strengthening our friendship. (I’m writing this in a good while after the fact. He did everything he was supposed to do, without the least problem.) That I spend a lot of time with him and his wife, Andrea, and that they help me with the onerous task of sending off a bunch of Ragna’s stuff to Iceland, further cements the friendship. I’ll long treaure the time we spent together — eating, drinking, laughing; meeting their children and soon-to-be son-in-law; having them teach me how to make some Peruvian foods or drinks, which I then neglect to write into this blog; learning better each other’s language, in “language exchange,” and working through the bureaucratic hassles involved in selling the car and shipping things to Iceland. They’re good people.
Finally I leave. Aurelio and Andrea drive me to the airport. After I’ve checked my bags, they stay and have coffee with me in the little airport restaurant. I feel sad to leave Perú, but also sad to leave them. We’ve become close during the past months, and particularly close during recent days, and sitting in the airport restaurant until it’s time for me to go through security feels as if we are family. I will miss them.
Or, as I put it moments later, in my notebook:
Gee, it’s “Columbus Day” — and I’m sitting in the Arequipa airport waiting to fly to Lima — and from there, in a few days, to the U.S. My friends have brought me to the airport, and seen me to the security gate, with more love than I deserve. I am alone.
Cleaning out and leaving the apartment was a bittersweet experience. I liked it there. Space and solitude, and few distractions. Not that I made the best of it.
After a few days in Lima, I’ll be back in the U.S. I hope to return to Perú soon.