​​​​Because humor is funnier when you know it's true.

Biz trip: Peru

When it was discovered that our packaging was having yet another “leakage issue” in high altitude markets, my company again decided that yours truly needed check it out.  By “check it out,” they meant that I was being sent with a crew to our very highest altitude market – Peru.  The plan was to fly to Lima, then to Arequipa and Cusco, places about which I knew little, but was to learn a lot.

For some reason, these international fire-fighting trips always seemed to be timed with political and/or geological instability at my destinations.  There were the kidnappings and murders at the hands of the Red Brigade during my trip to Italy, heightened Middle Eastern tensions during my trip to Saudi Arabia, an earthquake during my trip to Taiwan, and volcanic eruptions just after my trip to the Philippines.  And now there was this little matter of the “Shining Path” in Peru. 

For the uninformed, the Shining Path was a communist organization for which Wikipedia provides this description, “widely condemned for its brutality, including violence deployed against peasants, trade union organizers, popularly elected officials and the general civilian population, the Shining Path is classified by the Peruvian government, the U.S, the European Union, and Canada as a terrorist organization.”  Lovely.

This whole life-threatening travel thing was getting old.  An examination of my passport might

have led someone to think I was either a Red Cross worker or a UN peace keeper.  I was beginning to have conspiratorial thoughts about why my company had a life insurance policy on each employee.

After a brief stop in Lima, my coworkers and I flew on to land in Arequipa.  Stepping off the plane, our lungs could immediately feel the 8000 foot altitude.  We were driven to a hotel out in the middle of nowhere.  It turns out that it was more resort than hotel.  We didn’t complain.

We set up shop in the hotel’s ballroom to conduct our technical testing.  After hours of measuring and recording data, we needed a break.  I noticed there was a neighborhood street fair within

view of our hotel, and thought it might be fun to take in a little local culture.  But as we started to exit the hotel property, the hotel’s armed security guard stopped us in our tracks.  He didn’t speak English, but with some creative hand signs, he seemed to be indicating that we would likely be robbed there.  Or worse.  We retreated to the hotel.  Damn you, Shining Path!.