Ah. So. How Do You Guys Know Each Other?

I find myself in Lima, Perú.  The reason I haven’t left yet is because I have a guest bedroom at a friend’s place.

As a long term traveler, it’s not often that I know someone in the far away and exotic destination that I’m in. But when it happens and they put me up, I feel at home.  It gets comfy and hard to leave.

I’m in a spot where there are no hostels or tourists.  I’m living among locals in their domain.  It feels somewhat normal.

Since I’ve been here over the last week, a question has arisen over and over.  It happens amongst my friend’s family and friends:

Ah, So.  how do you guys know each other?”

Yesterday I tried to explain the long story while having lunch at my brother’s girlfriend’s family’s place across town.  More than one taxi driver has even asked me the question before dropping me off at my friend’s place.

It was back in the last century.  It was June of 1999.   I’d completed a year of employment at Northern Light and built up three weeks of paid vacation.  My boss was only able to let me take a week.  This is common practice in many of the workoholic subcultures in the United States.

The plan was to fly to Los Angeles and visit my brother.  I remember seeing tickets for around $650 while thinking that was outrageous for a round-trip flight within the continental US.

While looking for a cheap flight to LA, I came across a site that listed a RT flight from Boston to Lima for $420.  The only thing going through my mind at that point was: The Inca Trail.  I was ecstatic.  I made a call and bought the ticket.

Upon arriving in Lima I bought a ticket for Cusco.   I was on a short flight over the Andes a half-hour later.   The next day wouuld be the first of a four-day hike from Cusco to Machu Pichu.

Upon returning from the most amazing trek of my life, I had a day and a half to kill in Lima.  That’s how I looked at it at the time.

After spending days walking through some of the most beautiful nature I’d ever seen, I found the big city to be boring, ugly and monotonous.

While passing time in a store and glancing at various products, a girl struck up a conversation with me.  After chatting for about an hour, we each purchased a six pack of beer and walked to her apartment in Miraflores.   It wasn’t far away.

We ate seafood and drank beer.  She spoke English while I was determined to stick with my broken Spanish.   Eventually she asked:

Will you come to a discotheque with me?”

Sure.  I’d love to.”

After leaving her apartment and using five keys to lock five different doors behind us, the girl asked me to hold on to her keys and ID.  I plopped the two bulky items into my pockets.

We drank the rest of our beer in the taxi.  Upon arriving she told me that I’d need to chug the rest of mine.  I remember this vividly because at the time I didn’t know that it’s perfectly legal to consume alcohol in a moving vehicle.  This holds true as long as you’re not the driver, and as long as you’re not a passenger in the United States.

Now I think: Even in Norway, where they have one of the harshest drinking and driving penal codes on earth, it’s perfectly fine for the passengers to imbibe to their heart’s desire.  It makes total sense.

I remember feeling tipsy upon entering the establishment.

We drank Cuba Libres and danced for hours.

I had just come off the four day trek that included three nights sleeping in a tent.  The night before I’d slept in a hotel in Cusco after a night out with my trekking partners.  I was wiped out:

I need to take a break from dancing.  I’m exhausted.”

Her look conveyed dismay.

I didn’t want to succumb to her dancing addiction any longer.  I’d had enough.  I’d never danced so much in my life.  I thought: Welcome to Latin America.

The discotheque was in a big warehouse.  The bathrooms were far away.  I went.   Upon returning, the place had become packed.   I bought another Cuba Libre and looked around for the girl.  I wanted to find her so that I could give her her stuff and get a cab back to my hostel.

I was determined to find her. I  looked everywhere.

I wanted to tell someone my story.  While ordering yet another Cuba Libre I managed to do this.   This led to hanging out with this person and all his friends until around five am when the place started to empty out.

There was no sign of the girl.  I had absolutely no recognition of where she lived.  Her address wasn’t on the student ID.

The next day I located a payphone and called the new friend that I’d made.  He invited me over and gave me his address.  It was an easy taxi ride across the city.  I had Sunday lunch and drank beer with extended family and neighbors.

There happened to be a spouse of a neighbor there.  I explained the occurence while showing the keys and ID.  The ID showed  the same university that the guy’s brother attended.  He said he’d give the keys and ID to his bro, who would in turn hand her things over to the school.  They would then contact her.

I was relieved to be off the hook.

Now when people ask:

Ah, so. How do you guys know each other?”

My friend and I say something along the lines of:

We met while shitfaced in a discotheque over a decade ago.”

–   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –

Have you ever made a great new friend while out on the town and under the influence?  Feel free to leave a comment.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Great post… I wonder what happened to the girl, and how she managed to get into her apartment with 5 locks! I would never be so trusting as to give my keys and ID to someone I just met… is that a cultural thing, do you think?


    • ADIRONDACKER: Thanks! I’ve learned to live with fact that I’ll never know what happened to the girl. All I can do is hypothesize. She lived w/ her brother so I’m sure she figured something out. As for trusting me, she probably figured she’d play the percentages. The chances of me breaking into her home were slim to none in her eyes as we’d been hanging out for a while at that point. Don’t forget we’d also had about five beers each. That much cerveza will alleviate a lot of worrying. I don’t think that her trusting me with her stuff was cultural. She just didn’t want to carry it. She was on the positive side of the rich/poor gap and had attended university in the states, so was quite globalized culturally. 🙂


  2. Posted by Lynda on May 2, 2012 at 17:45

    That was a fun story!


  3. Posted by Al on May 2, 2012 at 17:18

    Cool story!


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