Part I: The Plot to Surprise Mom is Born
Mom and Al both wanted to go see Machu Picchu while we were in Peru, but it would be a 24 hour bus trip to Cuzco and then a 4 hour train ride to Aguas Caliente and then another 30 min bus ride up to the ruins and that's just ONE WAY! Alejandro and I had already done a 4 day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu a year and a half prior, so we had decided that on this trip we would go to South Peru to the desert and make our way back up to Lima, then hop on a plane and go to the Amazon, then go to the Andes. We just weren't going to have time for Cuzco with Al only being able to get 2 weeks off work. Well, the day before our flight to Lima left, Alejandro pulls me aside and says "What would you think about surprising your mother with a trip to Cuzco so she can see Machu Picchu?" Of course I was game...I love surprising people and I had never pulled one over on Mom. I called Al and he "called" his boss and Operation Surprise Mom was underway.
Part II: A Surprise for Everyone
Once we were in Lima, Al, Alejandro, and I had to find a way to preoccupy Mom so that they could go to the bus station and get the tickets. So I took Mom for a day at the spa and they went to Miraflores to the station. Well it turns out that they decided to shell out the extra money and get us 4 plane tickets so it would only take an hour and a half instead of 24 hrs!
Part III: Surprise Mom!
Al and Alejandro kept asking me how we should surprise her with the tickets and it finally hit me. Before we left for the Amazon we told her she needed to pack for the Andes because we were going to be leaving there the day after we got back from the Amazon (understand that we were leaving the Amazon and getting back to Lima around 7:00pm had to eat dinner and finish packing and then get up at 3 am the next morning to catch our flight to Cuzco). Once we were in the Amazon we decided to surprise her at dinner the night before we left. While at dinner I drug Mom to the bathroom at the restaurant and Alejandro slipped the tickets in her menu. When we came out she wouldn't pick her menu back up so finally I picked mine up and exclaimed "Oh my gosh Mom! You have got to see these desserts!" To which she picked up her menu and proceeded to act surprised and even get a little teary eyed. I was so proud of myself as I proceeded to tell the owner of the restaurant how we had pulled one over on her.
Part IV: Getting There
After spending a day exploring Cuzco we caught a 4 hr train to Aguas Calientes and spent a day there. The next morning we woke up at 3 am to grab a bite to eat before catching the earliest bus up to the ruins at 5am, but on our way to the restaurant we saw that the line to catch the first bus had already started to form so we decided to forgo breakfast and wait in line. A woman was selling delicious coffee and cake to everyone in line so we made a meal off that. It was beyond freezing! The kind of freezing that makes your bones hurt and all you can do is just shut your eyes, bury your head, and let your mind go numb. It seemed like an eternity, but FINALLY the buses pulled up and we climbed on. 30 minutes later we were at the base of Machu Picchu. We walked up to the very beautiful picturesque spot on the ruins where all the postcard pictures are taken, but Alejandro was insistent that we press on an hour and a half up the stone steps to the sun temple.
Part V: A Surprise Visit from an Old Friend
Finally we reached the top! As I rounded the corner of the Sun Temple I was shocked to see Jose, our guide who took us on the Inca trail a year and a half ago! Alejandro said he hired him to give Mom and Al a tour of the ruins. I thought that is why Alejandro drug us all the way to the Sun Temple at sunrise, but it wasn't.
Part VI: The Twist
Jose suggested we get a couple pictures overlooking the ruins below before we headed back down, so I gave Mom the camera and we stood on the ledge. After the first shot Alejandro suggested we "switch" he told me later that he was wanting me to walk to the other side of the cliff to give him enough time to get on one knee, but as you can see in the video...that didn't happen. What you can't see in the video is what was going through my mind when I turned around and saw him on one knee. I thought well that is an awkward pose for a picture, Does he want me to sit on his knee or kneel beside him?....OHHH!!! You can even see the Ah Ha moment on my face lol. Even after he proposed I still didn't realize that I NEVER surprised Mom. She and Al had known the whole time and they had been planning this for months and months. It was the most grand, romantic gesture I could have ever imagined, and I still watch this video nearly every day, and I STILL get teary-eyed.