You will not be alone, for better or for worse, throughout the duration of your CAP trip. As such, it would serve future CAPitalists well for me to delineate some of the supporting roles your friends and administration will play throughout your trip. As a forewarning to my accomplices who do not have the honor of being cited in this post, you will find that effusive flattery and pisco sours make me amenable to namedropping. Everyone on the trip has been legitimately great, so don’t mistake my awkward flippancy and avoidance as anything serious.
God – The Professor:
Peru 2013 is being spearheaded by the enigmatic, handsome, and in-control-of-my-grade-for-a-4.5-credit-class Michael Curley. Yes, I’m brown-nosing by mentioning him first, but the person leading you abroad for ten odd days is actually the single most important person regarding the success and enjoyment of your trip. Don’t try to find the CAP that will result in the least work because you probably can’t guess properly anyways. Find a teacher who seems to be on your wavelength and who cares about the trip being led and about showing the students a good time.
Choir of Angels – GW Support Staff:
We have two such angels on our trip, who I will nickname for the sake of not destroying their potential careers as a result of my shambling, errant musings. In no particular order, our chaperones for the trip are B-Rye and Special K. They will pull strings for you behind the scenes and help you out and organize you. They will be your living, breathing appointment book, which I know isn’t carte blanche to forget my itinerary every day but I somehow manage to do that anyways. They will ride and eat and work alongside you but they’re better at everything than you are so lean heavy and hard on them because I’m pretty sure the school foots their bill and they gotta earn it somehow. As a bonus, you’ll probably run into various GW alum throughout your trip and the little ancillary roles they’ll play will help to make the trip very sweet. They’ll know the layout of the city and deals and spots you should go to and they’re happy as clams to help you out.
Deus Ex Machina – Austral Tour Group:
I’m not sure who’s supporting the other caps but we’ve got the Austral group on our side, comprised of three or four (it’s never clear entirely how many people are buoying the trip at any given moment) Spanish speakers native to Peru. Hot damn, do they ever know how to get things done. You want a meeting with your client? Done. You want a lavish dinner planned on your behalf with an entire beach club cordoned off for your own personal bacchanalia? Done. You wanna jump in the pool with all your clothes on? Think again. Fellow Travelers: In this case, I met up with two fellow students, nicknamed Minibar and Jawline, as well as B-Rye during my layover in Houston. We sailed long through the night into Peru together, landed and got our stuff and our cab and made our way to the hotel together. It’s always much appreciated to have someone familiar throughout all the customs shakedowns and ransacked/lost luggage ordeals, of which our trip was thankfully bereft. But if it had all gone wrong, I was much better off traveling with a few pals than going solo. A lot of other people traveled together beforehand and hit Machu Picchu, and others are traveling after together as well. I can’t recommend it because in my state of disheveled poverty I elected to return home ASAP, but it seems like a good idea. Your
I’m saddled up with my classroom chum, callsign Maverick, which sadly makes me Goose, shattered spinal column and all. Aside from your professor, the roommate situation will color your enjoyment of the trip more than anything. Choose a roommate who is like you. For instance, Mav and I hold fast to the optional pants rule, blare George McRae and Interpol, and harangue one another about our progressively waning gym attendance while out of country. If you’re quiet, go with a quiet person, and if you’re not, find a brigand like I did and strap in. I legitimately spend a good part of the day bouncing on the bed while Maverick watches CNN and then we go eat dinner and it’s like a pretty high-functioning relationship between an ape and the scientist who rescued him from the jungle’s dangerous clutches.
Ideally pick a roommate in your workgroup so that you can forget your schedule and use them as a fallback day-planner when Special K eventually gets fed up with your torrential questions. I am part of the CAP’s largest of our three projects, which was then further fractured into a smaller group consisting of myself and a triumvirate of lawyers who I will collectively nickname Cerberus. It’s a good group and I chose it mostly because of the participants. It’s good working with them and they’re smart guys all around. Pick people you trust to round out your group.
Nice folks, really polite, sedulous with their work, and totally welcoming of Americans. You have to put forth a real effort to get on anyone’s bad side. I can’t imagine any of the CAPs are visiting like revolutionary-era Iran or anything, but I also have a hard time believing the others’ receptions are as warm as ours has been.