The idea of the trip began, innocently enough, over a bowl of snake soup in Chinatown. I went to an all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurant, and that was one of the items on the bill of fare. It took a bit of nerve preparing for the experience was much more memorable than the experience itself. The soup turned out to be bland.

Post-soup was more memorable as well, since I called my friend Jorge to tell him about it. Until he returned to Lima, Jorge had been a great eating companion in Chinatown, as well as a good friend and fellow Bach lover. We learned enough Chinese to read from the "good" menu, and tried all the interesting, new things we could find. One amazing day, we ate four lunches in a row.

Jorge now found himself stuck down in Lima. He had thought to go back there and write a film script, but ended up as the manager of a ladies' lingerie factory. Fate sometimes does things like that, and in Lima, where even the drains go backwards, it's easy to get pulled into the vortex. It turned out that I was next.

It had been so nice talking to Jorge that I rang up a 95-dollar phone bill. After the initial shock, I was struck by a bright idea. Six more calls would be the price of a visit, so I bought a ticket to Lima instead. This was the first of the big trips, and the first major trip where I took a camera. It would also be the last vacation I would manage to get for five years. Though it was a little under two weeks, it was one for the books.

This travelogue is written six years in hindsight. Though the chronology won't be completely exact, I'm surprised to remember everything so well. It's also interesting for me to look at my first photos. I was a bit more ham-handed and much more earnest, since at that point I thought I was some kind of photographer. I hadn't discovered the wide-angle lens, good for city streets, so I missed most of Lima. But then again, I did have something to show when I got back, and the photo album was a prop that helped me tell the story of the trip.

Though written most recently, this was the first of the travelogues.