We asked for somewhere lovely to spend our time here, and then we hustled around talking to everyone and following leads and sweating in the noontime heat and habla-ing and exercising patience and here we are. Paradise. Spanish-speaking Shangra-La. Ex-Pat Xanadu. An idyll for idling.
Sixth floor. The whole floor of the building. We are so la-dee-da that we have a special key for the elevator, and the doors open right into our apartment. Downstairs, there’s a doorman who ordered two five gallon water jugs for us from the corner store, and another guy who brought them upstairs when they were delivered. It’s so spacious that we keep losing each other, and the cell phone. We have to budget a minute just to get to the sunscreen we left in the back bathroom.
Every window looks at the beach, except the ones that look inland toward the Sierra Nevadas (the Colombian ones, claro). And there’s a pool. And three (count ’em) blenders. And art on the walls, and wine glasses made of glass, and a hammock where we can swing in the breeze.
It’s fancier than where we spent our honeymoon.
I’ve never been this fancy on my own, not without relying on the generosity of Richie Rich friends. It’s causing a few imposter moments, like my country-mouse-ness is showing through. Like when a potential employer flew me to New York for a job interview in college and I took a cab for the first time without a card-carrying grown-up along — from the Newark Airport to Manhattan — and then a bellman carried my suit, in a dry-cleaning bag, and my Army surplus backpack with a toothbrush up to my room and I knew that he knew I didn’t know what I was doing. But — many years later — I’ve had a lot of practice faking it, so I tipped the water guy and resolved to ask someone later if that’s normal or not.
It’s so fancy that I have a small shiver of guilt. Like I’m not really traveling if I’m staying somewhere this pampered, like I’m not showing my children what travel is all about in this plate-glass luxury. But that feeling is fading, as I promise myself that we’ll stay in a couple really grotty places in Peru, just to keep it real.
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